Obligatory Alex Chilton Post


Yesterday was an odd day. Before I’d gone to bed news broke that Alex Chilton had died of heart complications, aged 59. Then when I woke up I announced the gig I’m putting on. Lows and highs abound then.
I won’t pretend to be an Alex Chilton expert, nor will I write a comprehensive obituary to the man, I’m sure you can find plenty of that elsewhere, but to quote The Replacements I never travel far without a little Big Star. If it wasn’t for Alex Chilton and Big Star half my music collection would probably sound very different, as I think he was a huge influence on countless bands I love.
While Chilton isn’t the first, and almost certainly won’t be the last, musicial to die this year he’s the one that’s had the greatest effect on me.
Way back when I was a young little thing I went to see Alex Chilton play a gig in Glasgow, with Teenage Fanclub as his backing band at The 13th Note. The old 13th Note, not the one where I spend so much time these days. That was April 1996, which makes me a few months shy of my 17th birthday, and it was one of the first gigs I managed to sneak my way into and manage to get served drink without much hassle. As a result, my memories of it are all very hazy. I do remember it as a gig that – having mostly gone along because of Teenage Fanclub – left me thinking “I must find out more about that Chilton fellow”.You youngsters won’t remember this, but way back in 1996 we didn’t have Wikipedia to tell us everything we needed to know about someone. We couldn’t obtain an artist’s back catalogue – legally or illegally – with a few mouse clicks. A few months of digging around used record shops and talking to the staff got me pretty well clued up, and left me with armfuls of quite fantastic records.
This post hasn’t been very coherent I know, but I elt like I had to do something to mark the passing of a man whose music I loved, and whose influence I respected so much. As a reward for making it through, there’s a couple of songs below for you to listen to. This is the first time I’m using Dropbox links on the blog, so let me know how they work.
Big Star – Thirteen (Alternate Mix) (from Keep an Eye on the Sky)
Teenage Fanclub – Jesus Christ (from the Big Star, Small World tribute album)
Alex Chilton & Teenage Fanclub – At the Dark End Of The Street (recorded live at The 13th Note, Glasgow, April 1996)

Alex Chilton


  1. I am way jealous you were at that gig.

    As for the Dropbox links, you could probably use the full links rather than bit.ly shortcuts? Just helps people know they’re .mp3s they can download directly. But maybe yr blog does that automatically, I dunno.

    So excited for Aye Tunes vs. Peenko!

  2. Jim says:

    Ah, good shout, I’ll swap them later. I’d mostly used the bit.ly links to aid my curiosity in knowing how many people have been clicking, but I don’t think they track downloads, so that was fairly pointless.

    As for being at that gig, sometimes being old has it’s bonuses. And needless to say I’m more than slightly excited for Aye Tunes Vs Peenko too!