Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Lonely days are gone, I'm a-going home..."

Was saddened to hear about the passing of Alex Chilton today at age 59, apparently of a heart attack. Alex sang the ginormous 60s hit "The Letter" when he was just 16 years old with The Box Tops, and later continued to be almost famous in the band Big Star, and as a solo performer, as well as a record producer. While he didn't have a lot of commercial success after The Box Tops, his influence on other musicians is possibly in the same ballpark as that of The Velvet Underground, and Big Star's "#1 Record" was a fixture on many critic's "best of" lists for years. He did enjoy an unexpected payday when his song "Down the Street" was chosen to be the theme song for "That 70's Show" (as performed by Cheap Trick), and also the Bangles had a minor hit with his song "September Gurls" so I'm sure those helped provide him some financial security along the way. The Replacements even wrote a song about him... (read Westerberg's NYT obit)

I did get to see him play a solo show in Cincinnati a few years back, and talked briefly with him afterwards. He was really a gracious guy, and will be greatly missed.