Thursday, June 04, 2009

Rock of Ages: Big Star - "Thirteen" (1972)

In the wake of the Beatles shattering in 1970, much of popular music took many different turns. Glam rock, heavy metal, arena & prog were huge at this time and long standing acts started shifting in style, dying off or just plain breaking up. The pop sound of that era was redefined by many groups in the decade to follow, but none quite like Big Star. They had a distinct feel of their own that was a great way to reignite the love of great pop rock and roll music. Their influence can be seen in the likes of Jeff Buckley, Beck and Elliot Smith, all of which have covered Big Star in their career. Their first album, #1 Record, is a masterwork of power pop goodness. Filled with excellent rock tracks from start to finish, the highlight of the record comes in the form of a beautiful acoustic track entitled "Thirteen." The songcraft is simple, yet dripping with gorgeous melodies that harken back to the glory days of Lennon and McCartney.

The track is very straightforward lyrically, with a theme of young love. "Thirteen" shines in it's harmonies and melodies and it's inviting sound. Although lyrically it may sound simple, one romantic line has always stood out to me:

"Won't you tell me what you're thinking of
Would you be an outlaw for my love
If it's so, well, let me know
If it's "no", well, I can go
I won't make you"

It's that notion inside all of us who has fallen in love wondering if this person has the same feelings for you. It's pretty straightforward but it gets me every time. Big Star never made it big, but their influence and importance is evident in todays music. Big Star is slowly making a resurgance and a box set of their recordings is coming sometime this year. It's a band worth checking out if you are a fan of solid rock and roll.

Up Next: Mott the Hoople harkens back to "Be My Baby"

1 comment:

leo said...

I don't think I ever heard of these guys. I'm intrigued to learn more.