Big Star's #1 Record at 50


There seems to be conflicting information regarding the release date of Big Star’s debut album, #1 Record. Some sources say April 1972, some say August. Whatever the correct month is, it turns 50 this year. Though I’d likely seen Big Star mentioned in interviews and articles over the years, especially those pertaining to R.E.M., it was not until the late 90’s that I really took notice. In was in 1999 that I joined the locally based Guitartown email list. While the focus was on, local and otherwise, discussion was by no means limited to that. Though I’d long been a music aficionado, it was not until this point that I encountered fellow music geeks who’s knowledge and appreciation ran so deep. The internet has its downsides but finding these sort of communities (including Murmurs) isn’t one of them.
So, I soon found I had lots of exploring to do. With that, I ordered a two-fer of #! Record and Radio City from Amazon. The only song I was even vaguely familiar with at this point was “In the Street” which I only knew from That 70’s Show where it was used as the theme song. It took me a while but I eventually came around to both albums. However, what really did the trick as far as appreciating them (and Big Star in general) on a deeper level was attending a couple Big Star’s Third concerts in 2010 in which Mike Mills was part of an ensemble of musicians assembled by Chris Stamey of the dB’s.
In the following years came another Big Star’s Third concert, still with Mills but a slightly different ensemble, my purchase of Chris Bell’s I Am the Cosmos (which I like just as much as the Big Star albums), Holly George-Warren’s Alex Chilton bio (A Man Called Destruction), and the Big Star documentary, Nothing Can Hurt Me. As you might imagine, these all also did lots to expand my knowledge and deepen my appreciation of the band.