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#1 Record/Radio City Original recording remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, June 16, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

They didn't sell a lick when they were released, but over the years the two albums by Alex Chilton's post-Box Tops band Big Star have taken on almost a mythical quality, cited by power-popsters (a power pop zine, Mod Lang, is named after one of their songs) and indie-rockers (think R.E.M especially) as hugely influential. Now, Fantasy is reissuing these two American rock classics on one newly remastered CD, with the rare bonus tracks In the Street (single mix) and O My Soul (single edit) to boot! Contains a contender for greatest rock and roll song ever written, September Gurls .
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 16, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Fantasy
  • ASIN: B0026IZR3Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,347 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Big Star Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
No group in the history of rock 'n' roll ever put out three albums in a row more brilliant than Big Star. [Yeah, I originally said "as brilliant," but of course many bands have arguably matched them, so let's agree on a big tie at the top.] And it's hard to find any group that changed so radically as Big Star did in the span of three records. I've found that Big Star fans tend to fall into three camps:

1) Regards #1 RECORD as an all-time masterpiece, loves or likes RADIO CITY a lot, has a problem with SISTER LOVERS -- it's too acid-casualty incoherent.

2) Regards SISTER LOVERS as an all-time masterpiece, loves or likes RADIO CITY a lot, has a problem with #1 RECORD -- it's too slick and commercial.

3) Regards RADIO CITY as an all-time masterpiece and loves both the other two in their own very different ways.

And, of course, some of us are "3+" -- they're all masterpieces in my book, but RADIO CITY is the creme de la creme.

Other reviewers have done a wonderful job of describing this music and its enormous influence on indy rock. However, some have repeated the rather pernicious myth about the commercial failure of the listener-friendly #1 RECORD: that radio programmers didn't like it, that the record's sound was somehow wrong for its time.

There are folks at BILLBOARD and CASHBOX magazines who were paid well to listen to new releases and report on their commercial potential. Here's what BILLBOARD said on 9/9/72: "Each and every cut on this album has the inherent potential to become a blockbuster single. The ramifications are positively awesome." Boy, hedging their bet, huh? Here's CASHBOX a week later: "An important album that should go to the top with proper handling.
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Format: Audio CD
So much has been written by the brilliant pop music of these two albums, that there's little left to say about the music itself. Lauded by critics and ignored by pop music buyers, Big Star became the most influential rock band never to make it commercially. Their debut album, cheekily titled "#1 Record" (1972) and its follow-up, "Radio City" (1974), were reissued in 1978 as a gatefold two-fer that pricked the ears of pop fans and collectors who'd missed their original release. The group's name would be bandied about by an ever-growing underground of in-the-know fans-turned-worshippers. The group's unreleased-at-the-time third album (alternately titled Third and Sister Lovers) appeared briefly on vinyl on the PVC label shortly thereafter. The `80s passed before a CD reissue of the seminal first two albums appeared on Big Beat in 1990. This was followed by a domestic release on Fantasy in 1992, which was paralleled by a period live FM broadcast from 1974, Big Star Live, and a CD reissue of Sister Lovers.

The attention finally brought vocalist/songwriter Alex Chilton back to his Big Star catalog, and along with original drummer Jody Stephens and the Posies' Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, a reconstituted Big Star recorded a live album at Missouri University, Columbia.
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2 Comments 24 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
The merits of Big Star can hardly be overstated due to the band's lasting influence on soooo many artists - an ABRIDGED list might include Tom Petty, Cheap Trick, Replacements, R.E.M., Game Theory, Bangles, Teenage Fanclub, and Jimmy Eat World. Of course, with most of these bands becoming MUCH more well known than Big Star, the influence is diminished somewhat because the original is heard AFTER the followers. Regardless, Big Star's 1st 2 albums create an essential release made even sweeter by the 2-for-1 deal, and the tunes still sound fresh listen after listen. A few songs drag a bit, to my ears anyway, but even the less enjoyable tracks like "Don't Lie To Me" and "Life Is White" are worthy due to great performances and lyrics. Along with Badfinger, Big Star is the absolute touchstone for melancholy pop songs that should have been huge hits - forming the basis for every power pop pretender to the throne. Fans of any aforementioned bands will do themselves a favor to pick this up, along with fans of absolute classics such as the Who, Beatles, and Byrds (lead genius Alex Chilton's faves).
Best Tracks:
"The Ballad Of El Goodo" - George Harrison-esque, shimmering ballad with stunning harmonies and guitars. One of the most celebrated examples of Chilton's genius.
"In The Street" - The feel-good Chris Bell classic that was used in "That 70's Show" (warning: that version was done by Cheap Trick!)
"Thirteen" - Another Chilton gem. Gorgeous acoustics, tender and somewhat striking lyrics. A great, honest portrait of youth.
"Way Out West" - Oh, those guitars...
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Rank Your Top Dozen Best American Bands Ever!
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Jan 17, 2015 by SUPERMAN |  See all 3 posts
Big Star reminded me more of the Byrds than the Beatles
They remind me of a mixture of Badfinger & the Raspberries, but not as good as either band. [That is based on the sound clips, so not a firm/strong opinion] Incidentally, both Badfinger & the Raspberries could be considered under-rated & under-appreciated.

Am I off base in that assessment?
Jun 22, 2015 by Dave from the States |  See all 2 posts
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