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#1 Record is the only Big Star album which has the combined writing power of both founders, Alex Chilton and Chris Bell. Fervent Anglophiles, Chilton and Bell employed a Lennon/McCartney style of collaborative songwriting to create their debut Chilton taking a visceral approach, often laying down guitar and vocal tracks in one take, while Bell added polish with overdubs and harmonies.
#1 Record has become widely recognized as a milestone album in the history of rock 'n' roll. In 2003, Rolling Stone included it in their '500 Greatest Albums of All Time' list, while the publication included song 'Thirteen' in their '500 Greatest Songs of All Time' list the following year.
This reissue comes during a time of resurgence for Big Star, a band whose legacy has been widely recognized as of late, with a tribute record (Big Star Small World, 2006), a documentary (2012's Nothing Can Hurt Me) and a touring live show, 'Big Star's Third,' which features the sole-surviving original member of the band, Jody Stephens, on drums, guest vocalists, a chamber orchestra and a core band including Mike Mills, Chris Stamey of The dB's, The Posies' Ken Stringfellow and others. The ever-changing ensemble performs Big Star s third album Third/Sister Lovers, as well as favorites from the first two records.
In his liner notes, Mike Mills calls Big Star 'a band who had gotten it right, who made records that sounded like rock and roll bands should sound.'
Top Customer Reviews
The only CD copy I have ever heard of these two albums is the two-fer release from 1992 (NOT 2009). These both definitely represent upgrades in dynamic range and overall tone. The biggest improvement is the bass tone, by far. It sounds natural and clear. All instruments are more clear and present than they were on that CD release. This is not to disparage that release, and I certainly wouldn't call these releases necessary, or worse, "like hearing the music for the first time" (as a great reissue certainly can do), but that earlier CD really isn't that bad. It's a little bright, and there's definitely less dynamic range. Still, the improvements heard on these new reissues are noticeable.
As far as #1 Record is concerned, the album definitely sounds different from it's original LP release (which I have to compare to) and the 1992 CD. The instruments are more clear than ever before. On songs like "Feel" or any time there is an acoustic guitar, you can clearly hear their hands moving around the fingerboard and neck (sliding in-between notes). It's present on other releases, but even more so here. The intro to "Ballad of El Goodo" is noticeably more quiet than on the 1992 CD, with a greater and more effective buildup to that first chorus. "In The Street"'s guitars come way down in volume, which helps all the other instruments. And "Thirteen"'s acoustic guitars are more clear than ever, even more clear than on the original vinyl pressings. The hollow-body of the acoustic in the left channel is so clear and full, it really sounds like the guitar is in the room with you.Read more ›
But this reissue gets only 3 stars. Why? Because, despite hype to the contrary, this is just a pointless decoupling of the 2-fer SACD/hybrid disc from 2004 #1 Record/Radio City. That 2004 2-fer offers the same sound as this one on the CD layer, and higher resolution sound on the SACD layer. And you get both albums on one disc for considerably less than buying them separately. And if you want one, you do want both albums.
Be careful. There are many reissues of the 2-fer:
1) Import on Line label from Germany
2) Import on Big Beat label (some variants missing 2 songs)
3) 1992 2-fer on Stax/Fantasy
4) 2004 2-fer SACD #1 Record/Radio City
5) 2009 2-fer on Stax/Concord.
The one you want to get is #4, the SACD. Avoid the 1992 and 2009 reissues, which have inferior sound.
One additional comment: This music was recorded with a lot of treble and not a huge amount of bass. That's how it sounds on the original vinyl, and that's apparently how it sounds on the master tapes. None of the reissues is an audiophile delight. But of the reissues, the SACD 2-fer is the one to get.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This highly acclaimed album is easy to listen to. It's not one of my favorites, but it's inventive and well executed.Published 5 months ago by Evik James
There is absolutely no explaining the fact that these boys were not huge. It's a truly great record. Fantastic rock and roll. Just buy it and listen.Published 5 months ago by Susan K. Noel
This is my new found treasure in music. I'm so glad a friend of mine told me about their Netflix documentary.Published 6 months ago by Daniel Lang
There's definitely some good songs here. The biggest reason why this album wasn't more successful was the names. Read morePublished 14 months ago by bob turnley
One of the most influential albums I have ever heard....made me pick my guitar up againPublished 14 months ago by alex