Teenage Fanclub - “Patti Girl/Mine Exclusively” (covers of renditions previously done by Big Star)
The Fannies Cover the Masters
Mention Teenage Fanclub and their forebears Big Star won’t be far behind on fans’ lips. Musically, the band owes a lot to Big Star, whose power-pop melodies served as something of a template from which Teenage Fanclub built their body of work. If you were a fan of TFC’s and have never heard of Big Star or Alex Chilton before, there’s a huge chance of you becoming a Big Star convert. I’m betting most fans born in the 70’s onward became Big Star fans precisely because of Teenage Fanclub.
Teenage Fanclub collaborates with their heroes Big Star on these two tracks which were released as a special 7” vinyl record giveaway from NME Magazine in the early 90’s.
Rockin’ the red vinyl… Back Of A Car - god bless Alex Chilton x (Taken with Instagram)
Big Star - September Gurls
September Gurls. SEPTEMBER GURLS. SEPTEMBER FUCKING GURLS.
What can anyone really write about this song anymore? Sure, I could go through second-by-second in a slightly dull, technical way - those guitars! That drum fill! The haaaaaaaarmonies! Or maybe wax philosophical about its impact on the then-nascent power-pop movement - but then, it’s only rock ‘n’ roll, and I sure ain’t no Greil Marcus. Maybe I could spend a little more time canonizing Alex Chilton…but I’ve done enough of that lately.
Fuck it. The onus is on you this time. Just listen to the thing, and tell me it’s not a perfect piece of music.
Go on, I’ll wait.
Big Star - You Get What You Deserve (demo)
A lot of people just considered Big Star to be a studio band - the sound of a bunch of guys dicking around at Memphis’s Ardent studio, treating it like Guided By Voices treated their four-tracks. Lucky sonsabitches.
2009’s Keep an Eye on the Sky box set features a number of alternate takes of the band’s earlier material, but Alex Chilton’s solo demos for post-Radio Citymaterial provide the deepest insight. Aside from the aforementioned ‘Downs’, the songs for Third seem to have gone through absolutely no change. Sure, there’s a version of ‘Big Black Car’ where Chilton would rather “fuck” than “sleep in a holiday in”, but the lyrics and arrangements are all surprisingly watertight.
The big anomaly in these is an acoustic version of ‘You Get What You Deserve’. This is mostly because it’s simply another rendition of the song from Radio City. However, it also seems like the big reveal on the album’s psyche - the fact that Chilton was always this pissed off. He just didn’t want to make it particularly obvious.
The album version is all raging guitars, hefty solos and rock bombast. On the demo version, you can hear much more clearly what Chilton’s actually singing - and you wonder if he was ever considering to give it a second home onThird. It would certainly have made sense.
The lyrics are worth posting in full:
Try to understand what I’m going through, but don’t blame me for what folks’ll do. For some of us it’s not a good time, but you’re gonna get used to, and you’d better resign yourself: you get what you deserve. You oughtta find out what it’s worth. And you gotta have a lot of nerve. You just do what pleases you. Go on and sign out every move. You’re gonna get your place in the scene. All God’s orphans get a face in the dream. Too bad. Such a drag. So much pain down the drain. And a lot of us ain’t got many friends.
Just imagine what he would have written if Big Star had made it.
Chris Bell - I Am The Cosmos
Unfortunately, Chris Bell died in a car crash in December 1978, a only couple of months after the release of the ‘I Am the Cosmos’ single. Thus, the song became even further subsumed into Big Star legend. Following their reformation in 1993 (the year after Bell’s recordings were collected by Rhino as the I Am the Cosmos LP), Big Star never went a show without playing the song.
Big Star - “September Gurls” (by jeromestoky8)