A shambling wreck of an album, Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers ranks among the most harrowing experiences in pop music; impassioned, erratic, and stark, it's the slow, sinking sound of a band falling apart…
The 2007 re-issue from 4 Men With Beards, on 180gm vinyl.
Cardboard sleeve, digitally remastered re-release of Big Star's last album featuring all of their original members. Cardboard sleeve (mini LP) replicates original LP artwork with obi strip, printed inner and lyric sheet in Japanese & English. After Big Star released Radio City, they fell apart, leaving Alex Chilton to record in 1975 what was later released as 3rd (aka Sister Lovers). The album is strikingly different from everything Chilton created before or after. With pained outpourings such as the haunting "Holocaust," it holds its own against rock's greatest monuments to existential angst, from Tonight's the Night to Bryter Layter. It also ranks alongside the Beach Boys' SMiLE as perhaps the only "classic" album with no set sequence. (Chilton never bothered to sequence it because, upon its completion, no label wanted to release it.) It finally came out four years later, and since then, while it has appeared on several labels, no two have used the same track order.
By all rights, the album that came to be known as Big Star's Third should have been a disaster. It was written and recorded in 1975, when Alex Chilton's brilliant but tragically overlooked band had all but broken up. As Chilton pondered his next move, he was drinking and drugging at a furious pace while writing a handful of striking tunes that were often beautiful but also reflected his bitterness and frustration with his career (and the music business in general). Production of the album wasn't completed so much as it simply stopped, and none of the major figures involved ever decided on a proper sequence for the finished songs, or even a title. (The album was also known as Sister Lovers and Beale Street Green at various times.) And yet, Third has won a passionate and richly deserved cult following over the years, drawn in by the emotional roller coaster ride of the songs, informed by equal parts love, loss, rage, fear, hope, and defeat.
Keep an Eye on the Sky is a 4-CD, 98-song career retrospective box set from American rock group Big Star. It features 52 unreleased tracks: demos, alternate takes and live performances. As well as material from founder member Chris Bell's earlier bands Rock City and Icewater, it includes all titles (in many cases as alternate mixes or demos) from Big Star's first three studio albums, #1 Record, Radio City, and Third/Sister Lovers, and a recording of a 1973 Big Star concert.
Largely lacking co-leader Chris Bell, Big Star's second album also lacked something of the pop sweetness (especially the harmonies) of #1 Record. What it possessed was Alex Chilton's urgency (sometimes desperation) on songs that made his case as a genuine rock & roll eccentric. If #1 Record had a certain pop perfection that brought everything together, Radio City was the sound of everything falling apart, which proved at least as compelling.
First-to-CD reissue of Big Star's 1972 first album. Expected to come housed in a mini-LP type cardboard sleeve. The problem with coming in late on an artwork lauded as "influential" is that you've probably encountered the work it influenced first, so its truly innovative qualities are lost. Thus, if you are hearing Big Star's debut album for the first time decades after its release (as, inevitably, most people must), you may be reminded of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or R.E.M., who came after – that is, if you don't think of the Byrds and the Beatles circa 1965. What was remarkable about #1 Record in 1972 was that nobody except Big Star (and maybe Badfinger and the Raspberries) wanted to sound like this – simple, light pop with sweet harmonies and jangly guitars.