The Ballad Of Big Star

Big Star never lived up to its name. The Memphis quartet–Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Andy Hummel, and Jody Stephens–started out in the early ’70s with big aspirations and a big sound, but a bankrupt record label and bad distribution kept their crystalline power pop from reaching the millions it was intended for. Still, the band’s following has only grown over the years, and their influence can be felt in furthest reaches of the pop atmosphere: everyone from the Replacements and and REM to the Flaming Lips and Wilco have cited Big Star as one of their favorite acts. The band is the subject of a new documentary called Nothing Can Hurt Me that’s making its way across the nation. Texas Music Matters’ David Brown recently chatted with the lone survivor of the group, drummer Jody Stephens, about how Big Star has only grown in stature over the years.

Plus: Nothing Can Hurt Me begins with a rare interview with Big Star’s Alex Chilton–recorded live on our sister station KUT in 1978. Chilton also brought along his acoustic guitar and played an aching cover of Ernest Tubb’s “Waltz Across Texas,” which we dug out of our archives and dusted off for your enjoyment below.

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