15 October 2008

The Power Pop Return of the GMMP

The beloved and musically brilliant Splotchy has resurrected the beloved and musically brilliant Green Monkey Music Project with the Power Pop Mix Tape. Having been undercover from the blogworld for several months (I’ve watched “Fringe” a bit much, haven’t I?), I nearly missed my opportunity to play. I begged Splotchy … bargained with him … offered cash bribes … and he finally relented.

Plus, the musical nerd occupying most of my soul was highly offended over a power pop mix tape without a single Big Star track — considered to be THE power pop group. And I worried that some of you may not be familiar with Big Star — a sad, sad thing. So let’s spend a few moments in music school.

Alex Chilton started his music career as lead singer in The Box Tops, which evolved from a band he started during high school in Memphis. The band scored with blue-eyed soul classics such as “The Letter,” “Cry Like a Baby,” and “Sweet Cream Ladies.” Alex was 16 when he recorded “The Letter”; next time you listen (which you can do as you read this, if you click the link below), remind yourself he was a kid.

Chilton joined Chris Bell’s Big Star in 1971. They recorded three brilliant albums — #1 Record (1972) Radio City (1974), and Third/Sister Lovers (1978) — none of which sold well. BUT. Big Star was a big influence on some of the best groups in the 1980s, including my beloveds R.E.M. and The Replacements. Chris Bell was killed in a car accident in 1978. Alex Chilton now performs solo, and also has reformed Big Star with Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow.

But who wants to read when music’s dying to play? Here are my GMMP Power Pop selections:

The Box Tops :: The Letter

Big Star :: Don’t Lie to Me

Big Star :: September Gurls

R.E.M. :: Jesus Christ

Alex Chilton :: Thing for You

The Replacements :: Alex Chilton

Cheap Trick :: In the Street (That 70s Show theme)

The Posies :: What’s Going Ahn

A mix tape for me is like a bag of Lay’s Potato Chips — I can’t havee just eight. So here are a few more Big Star songs and covers, to give you a hint of their influence:

Big Star :: Kizza Me

Afghan Whigs :: Nighttime

Jeff Buckley :: Kanga-Roo

Wilco :: Thirteen

Yo La Tengo :: Take Care

I hope I’ve sold y’all on Big Star, that you're dancing in your chair and singing loud enough to bug those sitting near you.

And welcome back, Splotchy’s Green Monkey Music Project!

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At 10/15/2008 05:49:00 PM, Blogger pistols at dawn said...

I have consistently tried to like this band for Paul Westerberg's sake, but have never been able to do so.

At 10/15/2008 08:31:00 PM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

omg, you guys are music nerds

At 10/15/2008 10:27:00 PM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

So you like this Big Star or something?

Good to see the return of the mix tape!

At 10/16/2008 08:09:00 AM, Anonymous HollyC said...

I love "That 70s Show", does that count for anything?

At 10/16/2008 09:57:00 AM, Blogger Red said...

It's so good to hear the original "Don't Lie to Me". I heard Julianna Hatfield's version on your "Chick Covers" mix, but I didn't know the original.

Recently, I said something to EG about, "There are people who know more about music than either of us." He replied, "Of course. There's Beth."

At 10/16/2008 10:00:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

I'm so happy that the monkey is back.

At 10/16/2008 10:39:00 AM, Blogger Splotchy said...

Thanks for the welcome back, Beth.

I look forward to your future helmed Green Monkey Mix with expectant ears and sweaty armpits!

At 10/16/2008 12:58:00 PM, Blogger FranIAm said...

You would never have to sell me on Big Star sister, oh the music I so loved back in the day... You bring me right back to it.

And The Replacements - Alex Chilton. I'm in love with that song.

At 10/16/2008 09:05:00 PM, Blogger Bubs said...

Love the tunes. I've never heard Big Star before.

At 10/16/2008 11:27:00 PM, Anonymous Billie said...

I've never heard Big Star, either, and they rock ... so to speak. ;-)

At 10/17/2008 07:29:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Thanks for the musical lesson, I always liked the song "Alex Chilton" and wondered who he was but apparently had been too lazy to find out!

At 10/20/2008 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Sean Wraight said...

This is really terrific Beth! The Mike Mills vocals on Jesus Christ worth the price of admission alone. (Truly one of my favourite R.E.M. Holiday surprises!)

Alex Chilton will always be a favourite of mine and so nice to see you give him props!

You HAVE to purchase the new Replacements|Tim remaster. There are some nice Alex Chilton rarities and recollections on that one.

Well done my friend!


At 11/01/2008 12:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome post! Any chance that you can re-up some of the songs - especially REM covering Jesus Christ!

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