Don’t Lie To Me! Celebrating The 50th Anniversary of Big Star’s #1 Record

Friday, December 09
Doors: 7pm : Show: 8pm
$22 / Day Of : $25

Big Star’s #1 Record is now widely-regarded as a seminal work. It is included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Rolling Stone also ranked the song “Thirteen” in its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In a celebration of the 50th anniversary of its release, the album will be played in its entirety, by a great electric band: 

Jody Stephens and Jon Auer (Big Star), 
Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Pat Sansone (Wilco), Chris Stamey (dB’s), 
Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), & Brett Harris. 

This will be followed by a second set of equally classic material from Radio City and a selection of songs from the legendary Third album and Chris Bell solo recordings, as well. 

Special Guests will include Django Haskins, Skylar Gudasz, and Charles Cleaver.

About #1 Record (from wikipedia):

Six years earlier in 1966, when their hometown of Memphis, Tennessee became a tour stop for The Beatles, primary songwriters Alex Chilton and Chris Bell were fifteen years old. Heavily influenced by the UK band, the pair—Bell in particular—wanted to model their songwriting on the Lennon-McCartney partnership, with the result that they credited as many songs as possible on Big Star’s debut album to “Bell/Chilton”. In practice, they developed material incrementally in the studio, each making changes to the other’s recordings. Drummer Jody Stephens recalled, “Alex would come in and put down something rough and edgy and Chris would come in and add some sweet-sounding background vocals to it.” Chilton once offered the following on Chris Bell’s unique vocal contributions: “Chris and I did all the harmony vocals, and he had a brilliant mind that worked in a sort of contrapuntal way. It wasn’t based so much on ‘Oh you’re singing the root. I should be singing the 3rd above,’ he would just sing along with the line I was singing. He was a brilliant, instinctual maker of counterpoint.”

The pair also each contributed songs to the album that were individually composed before Big Star was formed. Chris Bell brought the songs “Feel”, “My Life Is Right”, and “Try Again” to the recording sessions, which he had previously recorded with a band called ‘Rock City’ (which featured Big Star drummer Jody Stephens and Steve Rhea), and Chilton brought “The Ballad of El Goodo”, “In the Street”, and the acoustic ballads “Thirteen” and “Watch the Sunrise”. “The India Song” was written and composed by Andy Hummel. Bell had a major hand in the record through songwriting, vocals, guitar work and the album’s production. Producer John Fry: “When Chris Bell was still in the band, he took more interest than anybody in the production and technology end of things. 

Bassist Andy Hummel : “Chris [Bell] was in charge. I would pretty well credit him with recording and producing that LP [#1 Record]. Of course, he had a lot of artistic help from Alex [Chilton] but Chris was the technical brains behind it. He was the only one of us at that time who knew how to record.” Alex Chilton would also acknowledge Bell’s heavy role in the studio production: “Chris was really into recording. He didn’t want the rest of us fooling around in the studio, that was his business.” Chilton would also give producer John Fry credit for achieving the album’s high level of production quality: “John Fry was a genius in his way of mixdowns. We didn’t put things on tape much differently than was the standard method of doing things, but he just had such finesse and great ears, and he was just a great meticulous mixdown engineer and producer. […] He’s the one responsible for making those records sound so fucking great.”