Friday, June 21, 2013

New Big Star Soundtrack: Nothing Can Hurt Me

The story of Big Star is told as never before in the feature-length documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Magnolia Pictures). After years in the making, the movie comes to theaters, On Demand and iTunes on July 3. Alternative rock, college rock - whatever you call it - might not exist without the contributions of Big Star. The Southern (Memphis soul-inspired) spin on British Invasion-flavored guitar pop on their landmark albums, #1 Record, Radio City, and Third; inspired a large portion of the next couple of generations of guitar rock. They were frequently cited as influences by R.E.M., The Replacements, Belle & Sebastian, Elliott Smith, Wilco and Beck, to name a few. R.E.M. in particular took the Southern musical accent and chiming guitars to new heights, and often took time to cite the inspiration they derived from Big Star. Unfortunately, things fell apart due to lackluster record sales, personal breakdowns, and the tragic death of Bell in 1978. But the music lives on and, in this particular case, has been resurrected.

Check out this trailer:

On June 25, Omnivore Recordings will release the soundtrack to the film featuring 22 tracks, all of which are unissued versions of classic Big Star songs. But please don't hold the "unreleased" moniker against this record. In my opinion, Big Star never made better music than you will hear on this record. The demos are fragile, acoustic and beautiful, and the alternate versions, in a few cases, may be superior to the versions that were actually released. Or, at least as good... I'm envisioning the group having a hard time deciding between the version of "September Gurls" they released and the one that's on this soundtrack. Other full-blown movie or alternate mix highlights, to me: "In The Street" and "Don't Lie to Me".

If you are reading our blog, it's a good bet that you are familiar with Big Star, and may even own all three of those records and, who knows, a bootleg or two (I know I have, over time). Even so, this soundtrack plays so seamlessly and is such a good document of Big Star's music that you will not want to miss it. In addition to the terrific, never-released music, the film contains footage and photos of the band that have not been previously released, as well as in-depth interviews and a musical tribute by some of the bands they inspired.

Here's the track list:

1. O My Soul (Demo, 1973)
2. Give Me Another Chance (Control Room Monitor Mix, 1972)
3. In The Street (Movie Mix, 2012)
4. When My Baby’s Beside Me (Alternate Mix, 1972)
5. Studio Banter (1972)
6. Try Again (Movie Mix, 2012) Rock City
7. My Life Is Right (Alternate Mix, 1972)
8. The Ballad Of El Goodo (Alternate Mix, 1972)
9. Feel (Alternate Mix, 1972)
10. Don’t Lie To Me (Alternate Mix, 1972)
11. Way Out West (Alternate Mix, 1973)
13. Thirteen (Alternate Mix, 1972)
14. You Get What You Deserve (Alternate Mix, 1973)
15. Holocaust (Rough Mix, 1974)
16. Kanga Roo (Rough Mix, 1974)
17. Stroke It Noel (Backward Intro, 1974)
18. Big Black Car (Rough Mix, 1974)
19. Better Save Yourself (Movie Mix, 2012) Chris Bell
20. I Am The Cosmos (Movie Mix, 2012) Chris Bell
21. All We Ever Got From Them Was Pain (Movie Mix, 2012) Alex Chilton
22. September Gurls (Movie Mix, 2012)

Big Star Soundtrack at Omnivore Recordings
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me at Magnolia Pictures
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me Facebook page


Unknown said...

Can't wait to hear this music and see the movie, which I understand will be in wide release on July 3.

If you are hankering for some Big Star demos, you can find Chilton's solo version of "Blue Moon" on spotify and what have you. Just wonderful stuff.

Big Star forever.

John Hyland said...

Thank you! I will look for that.

Jim Desmond said...

Great piece John, thanks. Can't wait to see this film.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the kind words. It has been a 40+ year blast. As Yogi Berra said "Who woudda thunk it.)

Edoc said...

I still cherish the memories of seeing Big Star live in the 90's (supported by Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow). Sad that Alex passed away in 2010.