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Alex Chilton, R.I.P.

ALEX CHILTON, onetime lead singer of the Box Tops, auteur of the ultimate cult band Big Star and quintessential iconoclast, died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at a hospital in New Orleans. He was just 59 and had recently gotten married. “Alex was an amazingly talented person, not just as a musician and vocalist and a songwriter, but he was intelligent and well read and interested in a wide number of music genres," said John Fry, the owner of Memphis-based Ardent Studios, where he produced Big Star’s classic albums #1 Record (1973) and Radio City (1974). Chilton had been scheduled to perform with Big Star on Saturday at SXSW, but had characteristically passed on attending a panel devoted to Big Star. “We had a few good songs,” he reluctantly admitted to Bud Scoppa in 1994 after Scoppa, then heading A&R at Zoo Records, had persuaded the label to record and release a live album of Big Star’s 1993 reunion performance, titled Columbia after the site of the outdoor show at the University of Missouri. For some perspective, read  Scoppa’s Rolling Stone review of #1 Record on the mag’s site. And here’s “Thirteen,” the classic ballad from the same album. (3/18a)

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