Big Star’s classic albums #1 Record and Radio City on September 2 via Stax.
Long out-of-print, except for in a 2-for-1 package, the new editions have been remastered for both iTunes and 24-bit high resolution audio. R.E.M.’s Mike Mills has written new liner notes for each album.
While both albums are on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time, they were not commercial successes in their initial release. The group was first formed in 1971 by Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, Chris Bell and Alex Hummel and released both albums before their breakup in 1974. #1 Record was released in mid-1972 to widespread acclaim but, at the time, Stax Records was going through financial difficulties and only 10,000 copies made it from production into stores. Things got even worse when Stax signed a deal with Columbia, who had little interest in the original labels dealings and pulled many copies of the album from the stores.
The situation with #1 Star led to infighting in the band leading to a short term breakup. When they reformed, Bell was gone and the three remaining members went into the studio to record what would become Big City. While, once again, the album got favorable reviews, the timing of the release fell during a disagreement between Stax and Columbia with the latter refusing to distribute the release, leading to another disappointment with only around 20,000 in sales.
Since that time, artists like R.E.M. have cited the Big Star releases as major influences to their sound, giving the band’s catalog a boost in visibility.
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