News that a biography and at least three vinyl compilations of the work of Big Star co-founder Chris Bell are coming out this year — including “The Complete Chris Bell,” a massive six-LP (!) retrospective due July 7 by Omnivore Recordings (the same folks who’ve issued some tasty Big Star releases in recent years, including the soundtrack to the terrific Big Star doc,”Nothing Can Hurt Me”) — is cause for celebration around the “RPM” HQ offices.
In addition to the Bell career overview, also in the mix is “Looking Forward: The Roots of Big Star,” which will be a 22-track compilation of Bell’s pre-Big Star recordings with his earlier bands such as Icewater and Rock City. Finally, on tap is a deluxe double-vinyl reissue of “I Am The Cosmos,” the seminal posthumous compilation originally issued by Rhino records two decades ago. This shaping up to be the Summer of Chris, it seems like a fitting occasion to break out our own “RPM” tribute to Bell and his music. Think of it as a primer or refresher course for those who want to know more about this gifted singer-songwriter whose life was cut tragically short by a fatal car accident at age 27:
“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.”
By all means, click on the link below and dig in to the sights, sounds, and words on and about Chris.