BARON OF LOVE, PART 2
Alex ChiltonLike Flies on Sherbert
Peabody: 1979[Buy It]LET ME GET CLOSE TO YOU
Alex ChiltonHigh Priest
Big Time: 1987[Buy It]DOWNS (demo)
Available on: Thank You Friends: The Ardent Records Story
Big Beat: 2008[Buy It]IT'S YOUR FUNERAL
Alex ChiltonA Man Called Destruction
Ardent: 1995[Buy It]
Alex Chilton, who died, wrote songs. He recorded songs. He made songs. He unmade them. In the end, the life was largely in song, and the songs all had life, and that's all there is to say, and there isn't anything that can be done. Once he covered "Let Me Get Close to You," which was Goffin-King via Skeeter Davis:How long I'll never know
I've waited to tell you that I love you so
Now I have finally said it
Come on baby don't make me regret it"It's Your Funeral" is an instrumental. There are no words.
With a few hours to absorb the news, some memories came into focus, mostly distant ones, like hearing Big Star for the first time in the early eighties in Miami, or buying Like Flies on Sherbert
in college, or driving upstate with some friends some years ago and listening on the car radio to Stuff
, which collected some of Chilton's songs -- you could say that they were his best songs, but it might be more accurate to say that they were the songs of his that sounded most like songs that might be on a car radio. I remembered beginning to date the woman I'd later marry, playing lots of Chilton's music for her, and trying to figure out his secret: the way his try-anything-once aesthetic was both forthright and evasive, how he could combine an anarchic sense of humor and an unironic ability to convey pain, his addiction to the brilliant throwaway, his graceless grace. He drew lines back to Slim Harpo and Ronny and the Daytonas and Danny Pearson, so many it seemed he'd get trapped in the tangle. He escaped, again and again--but escaped to what? The most recent memory was the blurriest: it was just last November when I saw him with the reconstituted Big Star (half original, half Posies) at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. I wrote a little piece about the show for the New Yorker
that now seems dismissive to me, though I didn't mean it that way. I had no idea it would be the last I'd see of him.
: This is obviously not the first time we have written about Chilton here at Moistworks. Here is a piece
by Alex Abramovich that investigates the end of Big Star and the beginning of Chilton's solo career.