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Big Star's Radio City (33 1/3) Paperback


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Frequently Bought Together

Big Star's Radio City (33 1/3) + A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man + Big Star: The Story Of Rock's Forgotten Band (Revised & Updated Edition)
Price for all three: $44.79

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Product Details

  • Series: 33 1/3 (Book 65)
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (May 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826428983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826428981
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 "The 33 1/3 series is always a fun read for record obsessives, and Bruce Eaton's coverage of the greatest album of all time here is no exception...Much has been made of the drama and tragedy surrounding Big Star- but the focus here is music...Any fan of the album will find this a quick, worthwhile read." —Under the Radar Magazine

"What Eaton's book has going for it is a personal connection to Chiltonthat provides him with rare access to the somewhat reclusive icon andan insistence on focusing more on the music itself and thecircumstances of its recording rather than the more familiarpersonality-based story of the band's brief initial life." —The Memphis Flyer


"...[Eaton's] been able to interview Chilton in depth, plus other principal players in the LP's conception including Big Star members Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel and Ardent Records founder John Fry. The emphasis is on music so we learn about their influences..."
Mojo, November 2009


"Bruce Eaton's thorough investigation into the history of rock music's most influentially unrecognised acts of the '70s, Memphis, Tennessee's Big Star, and the recording of their second album Radio City, does much to clear up decades of misinformation and mythology, shedding light on session recordings, the artists present and how the album was pieced together. It's that kind of detailed musical reporting that the 33 1/3 series is known for. Eaton's own personal history of playing in a backing band with Alex Chilton (Big Star's vocalist/songwriter) adds a neat spin and the interviews contained with the band members and album producer, all casting their thoughts back a good 30 years to reflect on a busy time for the band, are flawless...recreating the scene after the fractious fall-out of the departure of original member Chris Bell and how they picked up the pieces to create Radio City is retold and relived, in studio and on-stage by the people who were there. It's about as an authoritative and informative an exposition as you could hope for...the 33 1/3 series are a fascinating and revealing collection of books. Written by music fans for music fans, this series will never grow old, never grow boring, and goes far into explaining the mysticism and appeal behind these priceless bodies of work, for your own personal pleasure or just in case you happen to know someone who just doesn't understand."
Webcuts Music, 2009


"Un must have pour tous les maniaques de la grande etoile, et pour tous les autres aussi."
magic, September 2009


"Page-turning celebration of Big Star's power-pop masterpiece...[Eaton] elicits fresh interviews with those who were in the room at the album's conception. That includes the recalcitrant Chilton and John Fry, the George Martin figure whose engineering expertise was a crucial part of the album's sound. Eaton has a gift for locating the album's slippery, unknowable essence in a tale whose epic sweep spans 17th century Canterbury and New York's Mudd Club in the early 1980's. Compacted with enthusiasm, this is a concise, effective primer in Big Star history."
Classic Rock Magazine, January 2010


Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 “The 33 1/3 series is always a fun read for record obsessives, and Bruce Eaton’s coverage of the greatest album of all time here is no exception…Much has been made of the drama and tragedy surrounding Big Star- but the focus here is music...Any fan of the album will find this a quick, worthwhile read.” –Under the Radar Magazine

"…[Eaton’s] been able to interview Chilton in depth, plus other principal players in the LP’s conception including Big Star members Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel and Ardent Records founder John Fry. The emphasis is on music so we learn about their influences…"
Mojo, November 2009


"Bruce Eaton’s thorough investigation into the history of rock music’s most influentially unrecognised acts of the ’70s, Memphis, Tennessee’s Big Star, and the recording of their second album Radio City, does much to clear up decades of misinformation and mythology, shedding light on session recordings, the artists present and how the album was pieced together. It’s that kind of detailed musical reporting that the 33 1/3 series is known for. Eaton’s own personal history of playing in a backing band with Alex Chilton (Big Star’s vocalist/songwriter) adds a neat spin and the interviews contained with the band members and album producer, all casting their thoughts back a good 30 years to reflect on a busy time for the band, are flawless…recreating the scene after the fractious fall-out of the departure of original member Chris Bell and how they picked up the pieces to create Radio City is retold and relived, in studio and on-stage by the people who were there. It’s about as an authoritative and informative an exposition as you could hope for…the 33 1/3 series are a fascinating and revealing collection of books. Written by music fans for music fans, this series will never grow old, never grow boring, and goes far into explaining the mysticism and appeal behind these priceless bodies of work, for your own personal pleasure or just in case you happen to know someone who just doesn’t understand."
Webcuts Music, 2009


"Page-turning celebration of Big Star’s power-pop masterpiece…[Eaton] elicits fresh interviews with those who were in the room at the album’s conception. That includes the recalcitrant Chilton and John Fry, the George Martin figure whose engineering expertise was a crucial part of the album’s sound. Eaton has a gift for locating the album’s slippery, unknowable essence in a tale whose epic sweep spans 17th century Canterbury and New York’s Mudd Club in the early 1980’s. Compacted with enthusiasm, this is a concise, effective primer in Big Star history."
Classic Rock Magazine, January 2010

About the Author

Bruce Eaton is a writer and jazz concert producer who lives near Buffalo, NY. He is the author of two successful business books. He played bass and guitar with Alex Chilton on dates in Buffalo, Toronto and New York, and set up Chilton's notoriously distastrous 1981 tour.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
Simply put, the book is great.
David Weiden
Which is fine for them, but I much prefer actual researched historical insight rather than the self-conscious purple prose I've read in some of the other titles.
The 16 Points
Overall, this is among the best 33 1/3 books I've read.
John Kenyon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Peak on May 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
Bruce Eaton's lovingly written Radio City is a brief but moving tribute to the Big Star album of the same name. The book insightfully explores the origins of such classic tunes as September Gurls and Back of a Car. The book relies heavily on new, detailed quotes from the people who were there, and includes a number of rare photographs. For all Chilton, Bell, and Big Star Fanboys (and gurls).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The 16 Points on September 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
Of the few 33 1/3 books I've read, this is my favorite so far. The book is full of first-hand accounts from Chilton, Hummel, Stephens, John Fry, Richard Rosebrough and others, recounting both the history of the band and the specifics of recording "Radio City."

The truth, as always, is somewhat messy: Participants occasionally contradict each other w/r/t specific details, as is to be expected when trying to recall events from 30+ years prior. These contradictions do not mar the tale, however; if anything, they improve the story by adding texture and scope. The author is not content to let any single member write history, and in situations where written records do not exist, he allows for competing memories to vie for their place in history. That's not to say the book is full of confusing contradictions. It happens only occasionally, and never regarding anything substantial, but their retention stood out to me, because it showed that Eaton was trying to be as honest and true as possible regarding this legendary album and band.

Unlike the small handful of other 33 1/3 books I'm familiar with, Bruce Eaton saves most of his own personal narrative until the very end. And in his case, it's actually interesting and relevant: the author describes meeting and performing with a post-Big Star Chilton, who had moved far astray from the detailed, focused work of early Big Star, into his more infamous "chaotic" period. Eaton's personal narrative helps flesh out this last piece of Chilton during that era, in a way the other interview subjects may not have been able to. It is not self-aggrandizing or mired in purple prose, but rather serves the book quite well.

I've seen other Amazon reviewers who prefer the "book as thesis" format of some of the other 33 1/3 titles.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Kenyon on September 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came to Eaton's book after having just read Rob Jovanovic's book about Big Star, and feared I'd be skipping long passages of repeated anecdotes and such. Instead I found a rich look at a great album that includes a lot of previously unearthed information and analysis. With no slight to the earlier book, Eaton simply gets more detail about this album, and the result is a great read. Perhaps most interesting is the information drawn from conversations with Big Star leader Alex Chilton. Eaton has a personal connection there, but he uses it to illuminate and amplify. A late section about Eaton performing with Chilton could have come off self-serving and indulgent. Instead, he takes care to keep the focus where it belongs: On Chilton.

One criticism: The text is a bit sloppy in places. There are enough missing or duplicated words to be noticeable and occasionally took me out of the zone. I was surprised, as I expect better from this series.

Overall, this is among the best 33 1/3 books I've read. The proof: It made me appreciate a favorite album all the more, discovering things I hadn't on my own over hundreds of listens.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Martin Jacobson on June 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've read many of the (generally excellent) 33 1/3 series and this is far and away my favorite. The author strikes the perfect balance between telling the story of the album's creation and evaluating the work itself. Radio City is an album that's long overdue for serious - and extended - critical consideration. (Lots of critics' raves fall into the "best album ever!" category, but don't add much else.) This book remedies that oversight. BUY IT NOW!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on February 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
While the title suggests this book focuses directly on Big Star's second album, and though most of its pages do, author Bruce Eaton also provides context with a compelling look at the band and its members. Most importantly, his fresh interview with Alex Chilton provides flavor from one of the band's visionary singer-songwriters, which is something that eluded Rob Jovanovic in Big Star: The Short Life, Painful Death, and Unexpected Resurrection of the Kings of Power Pop. Eaton recounts familiar elements of the Big Star story, but couched in their studio work, they reveal new angles. His research into the recording sessions for Radio City turns up new detail on the monophonic sound of "Oh My Soul," and offers a clear explanation of the Dolby F'ers sessions that resulted in "Mod Lang" and "She's a Mover."

By the time you're finished reading, you'll be surprised with how holistic and organic Radio City sounds, in light of the ad hoc circumstances under which much of it was recorded. Eaton's song-by-song notes are best read with the album playing, the better to hear the many subtleties he highlights. Ideally you should have the original album, the 2-CD Thank You Friends and the box set Keep an Eye on the Sky to cover all of the versions Eaton discusses.
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