Alex Chilton (December 28, 1950 – March 17, 2010)


It’s disturbing, getting older and being taken by surprise as your heroes die off. I do my best to talk mine up while they’re among us, but you know how it goes…so much greatness, a finite amount of time. Alex Chilton became my hero by way of my other heroes, The Replacements. They sang a song about him, so I listened to him and never looked back.

Maybe I was in awe of is his voice. It was a great voice, but more impressive was his control over it. He could evoke a range of emotions and produce the texture of a moment in the time line of musical history and then skip ahead or behind seamlessly. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think The Letter and Thirteen were sung by two different singers, men of divergent generations and life experiences. Genius.

I’ve been cleaning up the archives here, adding bigger, more beautiful images. I started at the beginning, methodical me, and I’ve been working my way forward. But last night, for some reason, I grabbed Left of the Dial out of order and went searching for the coolest Big Star picture I could find. Funny, that.



Hillery eventually learned not to say everything that came to mind. Some were too good not to write down.

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