Song Hey! Little Child
Artist Alex Chilton
Album Like Flies On Sherbert
I’ll close out 2010 with a song from a real artist, a true punk, who passed away this year. Alex Chilton began his career at the very tip top of it - at 16 he had a number one hit with his band The Box Tops. Following that anomaly, throughout the 70s with Big Star and as a solo artist, his commercial appeal and success would steadily decline - but his work edged nearer and nearer towards that raw, honest portrayal of himself that he was always seeking. It’s evident in the evolution of his voice more than anything.
Chilton would leave a trail of destruction and influence that is immeasurable today. Every working “rock” band that is worth two shits will tell you Chilton and Big Star were something, and if they don’t - they simply don’t know it. Like Flies on Sherbert is a total wreck of an album, recorded in 1978-79 during some foggy dark nights in Memphis and featuring a cover photo by American photographer William Eggleston. In this song, one cannot hear much at all of the melodic power-pop that endeared Big Star to so many, but one can hear the sharp survey and the gleeful roast of the contemporary punk movement that surrounded Alex at the time.
[Editor’s Note: It just dawned on me that Heather and I were at the very last Big Star show in November of 2009 - possibly the last time Alex played? I’m not sure, but it was a very special night for me. Part of the rehearsal for that night in Brooklyn can be seen in an early trailer/screener for a documentary that has been in the works for quite some time.]