Big Star’s Thank You Friends is from their first album, the 1972 release, #1 Record. Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel formed the band in 1971.

“Alex Chilton was the lead singer for the blue-eyed soul group the Box Tops from 1967 to 1970, who scored a No. 1 hit with the song “The Letter” when he was sixteen. Following his stint with the Box Tops, he recorded a solo studio album. He was offered the role of lead vocalist for Blood, Sweat & Tears, but turned the offer down as “too commercial”. Chilton had known Chris Bell for some time: both lived in Memphis, each had spent time recording music at Ardent Studios, and each, when aged 13, had been struck by the music of the Beatles during the band’s 1964 debut US tour. A song Chilton wrote nearly six years after he first witnessed a Beatles performance, “Thirteen”, referred to the event with the line “Rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay”. Chilton asked Bell to work with him as a duo modeled on Simon & Garfunkel; Bell declined, but invited Chilton to a performance by his own band, Icewater, comprising Bell, drummer Jody Stephens, and bassist Andy Hummel. Attracted by Icewater’s music, Chilton showed the three his new song “Watch the Sunrise”, and was asked to join the band. Both “Watch the Sunrise” and “Thirteen” were subsequently included on Big Star’s first album, #1 Record. The now four-piece band adopted the name Big Star when one member was given the idea from a grocery store often visited for snacks during recording sessions. One of many Big Star Markets outlets in the Memphis region at the time, it had a logo consisting of a five-pointed star enclosing the words “Big Star”; as well as the store’s name, the band used its logo but without the word “Star” to avoid infringing copyright.”-wikipedia,  Big Star

Big Star broke up in 1974, after Chris Bell was killed in a car accident at the age of 27.  Three albums were recorded, none of which were met with any commercial success. Critics praised the band’s efforts and the band developed a cult reputation and following. In the 80’s, Big Star’s cult reputation surged as the bands R.E.M. and The Replacements (among others) cited Big Star as an influence. Big Star was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2014.

The video for Thank You Friends is comprised of film footage shot by Chris Bell and Andy Hummel during the 1971 Memphis sessions for #1 Record.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s