One of the founding fathers of power pop, Alex Chilton died on March 17 of a heart attack in New Orleans. Chilton has been cited by many as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th Century.
He began his career as the 16-year-old lead singer of the Box Tops, a late 60’s “boy band” who first hit the charts with the song “The Letter” (1967). Chilton had felt the music industry exploited the Box Tops and eventually the band broke up in 1970. Soon he found his way to Memphis and hooked up with Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel to form Big Star. Although Big Star never achieved much commercial success, their sound which combined equal parts Memphis soul and British Invasion pop sparked a power pop movement that inspired musicians such as R.E.M., The Replacements, The Posies, Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub, Cheap Trick and The Bangles.
Chilton was immortalized in the song “Alex Chilton” by The Replacements on their 1987 album Pleased to Meet Me. After recording three albums (1971-1974) Big Star disbanded and Alex Chilton went on to record many solo records. He briefly reunited with both the Box Tops (1989) and Big Star (1993). Chilton will live on as a talent who helped define a musical genre that continues to inspire.
When people ask how long my morning drive to work is, I often say "about three songs." This got me thinking about what others might hear when they commute to work each morning. So I asked a few friends to begin posting on Twitter the first three songs they hear every morning on shuffle. If you are someone who uses Twitter and loves music, post your what you hear using the #1st3shuffle hash tag.
The second track this morning on my iPod was "Seaweed Song" by Passion Pit. This Boston electronic band’s debut release, “Manners” was one of my top ten from last year. Passion Pit was originally a solo project of Michael Angelakos while a student at Emerson College. He wanted to create a musical Valentine for his girlfriend and produced an EP on his laptop. The effort led to the formation of a band and one of the best dance CDs of the year. Listening to the infectious beats of Passion Pit combined with a few cups of coffee always seems to get me ready for work.