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#1 Record

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 2, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

Originally released in 1972, #1 Record is the debut album from Big Star, a critically acclaimed, Memphis-based band which is often credited with creating the power pop sound. Remastered from the analog stereo masters, this reissue will allow fans to appreciate #1 Record as a standalone CD this is the first time in many years that the CD version of the album will be sold independently of Big Star's second album, Radio City. Packaging also includes liner notes penned by R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, who cites Big Star as one of his biggest influences, and calls the album 'a record of rich sonic textures, of declaration and vulnerability.'

#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.'

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Feel
  2. The Ballad of El Goodo
  3. In the Street
  4. Thirteen
  5. Don't Lie to Me
  6. The India Song
  7. When My Baby's Beside Me
  8. My Life Is Right
  9. Give Me Another Chance
  10. Try Again
  11. Watch the Sunrise
  12. St 110/6


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 2, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Stax
  • ASIN: B00M2D7KGA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,241 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Drucker on September 7, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I'm going to post the same review of this and Radio City in their respective listings. This is a review of the 2014 releases on Concord.

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.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
I have the CD of this and listening to it on vinyl is a revelatory experience. It's almost like a whole new version. If you love Big Star and have a record player, then why are you reading this? Stop what you're doing and order this right now! This is 1970s power pop and vinyl perfection. A well deserved 5 stars. I would also be remiss if I did not congratulate 4 Men with Beards, the company responsible for producing the 180 gram vinyl. The record has a healthy weight and the sleeve is protective and gorgeous all around. Nice work gentlemen.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a great album. Five stars for the music. But you already knew that (or can find countless essays detailing the praise).

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.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Probably the most influentially awesome and overlooked album of its time. Some songs are Beatlesque and some remind me of very early Rush. It is obvious due to the passionate outpouring of musicianship on this recording that this work was truly a labor of love. The top three key elements that make an album classic to me are its honesty, creativity and the open spaces that the listener can easily insert themselves into the music. I know that sounds a bit too ethereal, but it's the best way I can describe it:) Anyway, Big Star's #1 Record has enough of those qualities for at least a dozen more albums . . . . it is so very tragic that those albums never came.
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Format: Audio CD
Big Star never made it but at another time they would have. Their lack of success was brought on by a different musical climate and even more by poor distribution. However, over time Big Star got their just due by a newer generation of bands that voiced their influence. #1 Record would be Big Star's debut and both this album and their next one, Radio City, still sound fantastic to this day. They are branded as two classics of the power-pop genre but are very different records. #1 Record primarily bounces between strong power pop songs and reflective acoustic tracks while "Radio City" is darker and more diverse. However, if you love excellent harmonies and backing vocals, #1 Record is the album to own as said harmonies are some of the best you'll ever hear on a rock record. The anthem "In The Street" is the most well known song, especially after the great Cheap Trick remade it for the theme song to the popular sitcom, That '70s Show. This track kicks tail and the catchy as sin "When My Baby's Beside Me" and the scorching "Don't Lie To Me" are even better. The opening tracks "Feel" and "The Ballad of El Goodo" are slower and harder while "My Life Is Right" with its soft verses and loud choruses ring as a prototype for the power ballad that would become popular in the 1980's. From here, beauty and sadness rule the day with "Thirteen" really bringing the beauty with those heavenly harmonies while the melancholy "Give Me Another Chance", the hopeful "Try Again", and "Watch The Sunrise", all feature emotional lyrics and excellent accompaniment.Read more ›
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