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Kitty Dunn

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R.I.P. Alex Chilton

You may have only heard the name "Alex Chilton" because of the song by the Replacements...but he was a very talented singer and songwriter who influenced a lot of other bands that you are familiar with. Alex Chilton died yesterday at the age of 59, after suffering an apparent heart attack at a hospital in New Orleans. (Read more here). When he was just a teenager he formed a band with some high school friends, and they had some really big hits, including "The Letter," which starts out with the family refrain..Gimmee a ticket for an airplane.." Other hits included "Cry Like a Baby" and "Soul Deep." His voice was quite powerful..especially for a teenager (just 16 or 17 when he sang "The Letter"!) In the 1970's, he formed another cool band called Big Star, which only put out three albums, but all three of them made it onto Rolling Stone's list of the best 500 albums of all time. R.E.M, the Replacements, and even Cheap Trick were influenced by Big Star. And the theme song to That 70's Show was based on a Big Star song called "In the Streets." In 2000, Alex Chilton told Rolling Stone that he was paid $70 every time that show came on. I had the good fortune to see the Box Tops featuring Alex Chilton several years ago at Rhythm and Booms. I remember that they did all the hits you'd want to hear..and it was a very HOT day. It was definitely exciting to be seeing such a legend at Warner Park in Madison. The Letter, performed on a show called Upbeat. The band is just lip-synching (very half-heartedly). But you can't deny it's a great song. A video some one made for the Big Star song "September Gurls" Cheap Trick (and the cast of "That 70's Show") with their version of the Big Star song "In the Streets"

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03/18/2010 6:59AM
R.I.P. Alex Chilton
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