CHRIS BELL’S PURE POP COSMOS: Big Star’s Other Bright Light

“Although overshadowed and somewhat marginalized in revisionist histories more interested in mapping out a hagiography of Alex Chilton’s life and career, it is important to remember and celebrate the fact that Big Star co-founder Chris Bell was absolutely and in every way an equal catalyst and creative partner when it came to crafting the band’s transcendent and magical debut, “#1 Record.” — Remembering Big Star singer-songwriter Chris Bell on the anniversary of his tragic death as a result of a car crash on December 27, 1978 at the age of 27.

RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog

Image Chris Bell in a publicity shot (and picture sleeve image) for his lone solo 45-rpm single, “I Am The Cosmos,” released in 1978. Chris would die in a single car crash on Dec. 27 of that year.

Speaking (as I so often do here) about great musicians and music, I’d like to take a moment to remember and honor Christopher Bell, the co-founding singer-songwriter of the seminal 1970s outfit Big Star. Although in the years since the band’s initial demise and subsequent discovery by new generations of listeners, much of the credit and attention has been lavished (and rightly so) on mercurial singer-songwriter Alex Chilton, Bell — the quieter, Omega-to-Alex’s-Alpha — was absolutely instrumental in the formation of Big Star and its ascendancy in the hearts and minds of those who heard them.

Chris at Ardent Studio, working on trying to make #1 Record a Number One record (it would attain that mental chart position for many of us who heard it). Chris at Ardent Studio, working on trying to make #1 Record a Number One record (it would attain that…

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One comment

  1. “Every night I tell myself⁄I am the Cosmos⁄I am the wind,” I love Chris’s version of this song, but This Mortal Coil’s version is the first version I heard, and to this day I cannot count how many times I have listened to it. The penultimate breakup song.


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