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Chris Bell

As one one half of the songwriting duo (along with Alex Chilton) behind Big Star, a band whose albums #1 Record, Radio City, and Sister Lovers all went on to receive unanimous critical acclaim, and a band who has been cited as a main influence by artists such as The Counting Crows, R.E.M., The Replacements, The Bangles, Teenage Fanclub. You would be lead to believe that the songwriting duo of Alex Chilton and Chris Bell was just as well known as the duo of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards or that of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Though speaking in terms of quality you could easily compare the ...read more

As one one half of the songwriting duo (along with Alex Chilton) behind Big Star, a band whose albums #1 Record, Radio City, and Sister Lovers all went on to receive unanimous critical acclaim, and a band who has been cited as a main influence by artists such as The Counting Crows, R.E.M., The Replacements, The Bangles, Teenage Fanclub. You would be lead to believe that the songwriting duo of Alex Chilton and Chris Bell was just as well known as the duo of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards or that of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Though speaking in terms of quality you could easily compare the three, in terms of popularity though the names Chris Bell and Alex Chilton would never be mentioned. This is because that although all their albums were praised by critics, distribution problems with Big Star's label Stax their albums more often than not never found their way to distributors.
And so sadly Chris Bell and Alex Chilton never received the credit they so rightfully deserved, and may be only known to some who read the credits of that 70's show as being the writers of the theme song "In The Street." (Warning: Cheap Trick plays that version). And shortly after the release of #1 Record Chris depressed by the failure of the album to take off parted ways with Big Star, and although he made some contributions to Big Stars second album Radio City (Back Of A Car, and O My Soul) Chris Bell would never return to the band. Instead Chris embarked on a solo career, he continued to write and record songs but as he did his depression became worse and worse and he soon became suicidal (which can be seen clearly in the lyrics of his songs). Chris' Brother David was a strong believer in Chris and in order to help revitalize Chris' career he insisted that he and Chris go to a studio in France. After much persuasion Chris agreed and they recorded tracks for a planned album. When the tracks were rejected Chris returned to Memphis and made a few recordings with Jody Stephens (Big Star's drummer), and local musician Ken Woodley before returning to Europe to play solo shows in folk clubs. He began talks with Chilton about a Big Star reunion which ultimately failed and resulted in Bell giving up music for a management position in a family fast food chain.
But in 1977 a small New York Record Label named "Car" released a Chris Bell singer featuring "I Am The Cosmos," backed by "You and Your Sister," which featured Chilton on backing vocals. This recording like The Big Star albums was well received by critics, and it motivated Chris to start a new band. But on December 27, 1978 on his way to his father's restaurant Chris' car struck a telephone pole and he was instantly killed. « hide


I Am The Cosmos
1992

4.1
17 Votes

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