This week my friends in New Orleans and friends of rock and roll around the world are mourning for Alex Chilton. The musician, who had lived in New Orleans since the early '80s, died there on Wednesday of what was likely a heart attack. He was 59. Chilton first caught fame at 16 when his Memphis band The Box Tops had a hit with "The Letter." In the '70s he fronted Big Star, an endearing power-pop band that never achieved commercial success, but gained a cult following that grew exponentially over the years due in part to songs like "September Gurls," "Thirteen" and "The Ballad of El Goodo." In the '80s, he was immortalized in The Replacements' tribute track "Alex Chilton" on which Paul Westerberg sings "Children by the millions/sing for Alex Chilton/when he comes ’round/They sing, ‘I’m in love/What’s that song?/I’m in love with that song. In addition to a solo career and ongoing work with Big Star, Chilton was a producer who worked with bands like The Cramps and The Gories.
Goodbye Alex Chilton, and thank you for all of your beautiful songs.