This book examines the key ingredients of Radio City's lasting appeal. Virtually anyone who's ever picked up a guitar - whether wood or air - has fantasized about playing onstage alongside his musical hero. Bruce Eaton actually did it. This book is based on the improbable but true story of an ardent fan who got close enough to Alex Chilton, the prime architect of the best power pop album ever made outside of Abbey Road Studios, to see what was on the other side of genius, fame and expectations.Released when ELP and Elton John were plodding from one packed stadium to the next, Radio City was a radical album - influenced by records that were already deemed oldies and yet sounding like a lean electrical jolt from the future. In time, power pop would become an official rock genre and the influence of Radio City would be widely heard through artists like R.E.M., The Replacements, The Bangles and Teenage Fanclub. When they first appeared though, Big Star sounded quite like no other band (including the oft-compared Raspberries and Badfinger).This book examines the unique confluence of circumstances that channeled Alex Chilton's creative energies toward the possibility of commercial success for perhaps the last time.
Special attention will be given to the production and sound of the record. Recorded at Ardent Studios on the heels of ZZ Top's mega-hit Tres Hombres, the visceral allure of Radio City has more in common with the Top (and other chart toppers) than many of its devotees would want to admit."33 1/3" is a series of short books about a wide variety of albums, by artists ranging from James Brown to the Beastie Boys. Launched in September 2003, the series now contains over 50 titles and is acclaimed and loved by fans, musicians and scholars alike.
Bruce Eaton is a writer and jazz concert producer who lives near Buffalo, NY. He is the author of two successful business books. He played bass and guitar with Alex Chilton on dates in Buffalo, Toronto and New York, and set up Chilton's notoriously disastrous 1981 tour.