Mar 22, 2010

Quick Hits

Just a couple of quickies for a Monday morning.

I don't know if any of you use Google Books or not. The interface is a bit klunky, but there is some really good content. And some really, well, bubblegum content. A great example of the latter would be every single issue of SPIN magazine ever published.

Now I know SPIN ain't the greatest magazine ever, and it certainly never quite reached the heights that Rolling Stone did. But, for me, SPIN is a time and a place that's fun to visit again. It's college and alternative radio and bands like XTC or The Cult or The Pretenders.  This is a fantastic time-waster.   If only to see how gloriously out of touch they were at times, like choosing Jimi Hendrix for a cover piece on his continuing relevance in April of 1991.  An issue that contained a one-sentence blurb about "Seattle's" Nirvana.  Yowch.

And last week we lost one of those un-sung heroes of American music when Alex Chilton died.  I arrived late to the party when it came to Alex Chilton.  I first heard of him as the titular hero of The Replacement's song "Alex Chilton" in the late 1980's, and to be honest...I didn't think he was a real guy.  Or a real famous guy, at least.  But I soon found out, from people much smarter than me, that he was the lead singer for the Box Tops on their amazing #1 hit "The Letter".  He was only 16 at the time he recorded that.  Amazing.

He went on to front the influential 70's band Big Star.  A band that continues to inspire musicians all over the map.  When it came time to pick a theme song for That '70's Show, the producers of the show chose "In the Street" from Big Star because, sounded like the 1970's.  Chilton received $70 in royalties every time an episode of That '70's Show aired.  Nice coin, if you ask me.  Chilton kept on writing, kept on recording, kept on performing until his untimely death.

Well, so long Alex Chilton.  I'm damned glad to have known your music.  Here he is from a segment of MTV's 120 Minutes from back in 1985.  The video quality sucks, but the segment it top notch.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. "I'm in love.  What's that song?  I'm in love with that song."


badgerdaddy said...

Weird - I love Big Star but have never bothered to find out anything about the band at all. I have... 58 Big Star songs in my iTunes, and every one is pretty much a winner.

Damn that guy had talent - cracking songwriter. Quality. And yes, he will be missed - but as bands go, there are not many that had the influence that Big Star had. That's a legacy that will run and run.

sybil law said...

Alex Chilton! Awesome. :)

I totally remember Spin magazine - gonna check it out on Google for sure.

Water Logged Canine said...

Wow. Another post. About stars and death.

Verdant Earl said...

badger - Wow! That's a lot of Big Star tunes. I have like 3. :)

Sybil - I was on Google Books reading SPIN all night yesterday. Into the wee hours.

Doggie - That's how I roll.

Water Logged Canine said...

You know it!

Speaking of which, if Alex Chilton gets $70 each time That 70s Show airs, how much does Cheap Trick make for having covered the song?

C'mon dude...I come here before Google and Wikipedia...don't let me down.

Heff said...

Oh yeah. MTV DID use to show videos, didn't they ?

Verdant Earl said...

Doggie - Well, as you should know, it's the writer who gets all the royalties on songs, neh? So I think Cheap Trick (Season 2 on, by the way) only got paid one time for their cover work and for Robin Zander's "Hello, Wisconsin!" at the very end of the theme song. For the first season, if you were curious, a dude named Todd Griffin sang the theme song and Danny Masterson gave the shout out to Wisconsin. Phew.

Heff - That's what the M used to stand for all right.

Dr Zibbs said...

Bummer that he died.

Water Logged Canine said...

What's this "as you should know" bullshit? I only know one thing, and that's that I don't know nothin'!

That's why I frequent this joint.

This is my Goog-earl. My Wikipedi-earl. My IMDudeB. get it.

Slyde said...

i woke up and you weren't there...

i hate that.

p.s. my word ver is humph .... indeed.

Verdant Earl said...

Doggie - sorry, I forgot about you being a newborn baby and all. ;)

Slyde - And he's back. harumph/humph.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Alex Chilton RIP

marty mankins said...

That video segment of Alex Chilton was great. May his musical influence continue to remain in the minds and hearts of all artists.

Big Star was monumental.

Bruce Johnson said...

I have downloaded a ton of books from Google Books (in the public domain) and loaded them on my Droid phone, which I use as a book reader. Mostly stuff by Joseph Conrad. .... but never watched the 70s show.....been there, done that.....don't want to go back to smoking dobbies in the basement.