The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for March 18th, 2010

Back Tracks: Alex Chilton

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A potentially embarassing confession: it took the death of Big Star frontman Alex Chilton for me to realize just what I knew about him. I knew his name was the title of a Replacements song (thanks, Rock Band), I’d known of Big Star thanks to the justifiable hype over last year’s box set from Rhino and I’d known a handful of his most famous, very solid compositions that he either wrote or popularized¬†(“Thirteen,” “The Letter,” “In the Street”) through inevitable cultural osmosis (thanks, That ’70s Show). Through that knowledge alone, there is no denying Chilton was a major player in the easy-to-identify, impossible-to-describe genre that is power pop.

But these works came to me at the wrong time. Had I been actually 13 when I heard “Thirteen,” I might have pegged Chilton and Big Star as what they’re now known as by discerning fans – genius snatches of genuine emotional longing – instead of just a really really good power pop band. Nonetheless, it’s never too late to learn; the education has been swift and urgent. The majority of it is verbalized after the jump. Input and memories of this work from someone who was there to hear it are most welcome.

Note: This post currently covers Chilton’s work with Big Star and his earliest work as frontman for The Box Tops. It will accordingly be updated later with coverage of Chilton’s solo work.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 18, 2010 at 23:55

Reissue Theory: Howard Jones, “Dream Into Action”

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Predicting the future is a tough game. While the above video – a possibly-not-entirely-live performance by Howard Jones, Herbie Hancock, Thomas Dolby and Stevie Wonder at the 1985 Grammys – probably looked like the future of music some 25 years ago, it seems a little, shall we say, overdone in hindsight.

But nobody will ever stop predicting the future – certainly not here at The Second Disc, where (ideally) every day brings forth some more reissues for fans to look into. For instance, consider the post-Rock and Roll Hall of Fame free association that led to this post. There’s a good argument that Howard Jones’ “No One is to Blame,” the single version of which was produced by Phil Collins, is a high point in both musicians’ careers. But Jones has had a long, interesting career that has justified the claim that he’s one of best synthpop artists there ever was.

And don’t take this post as proof – as the finishing touches were made, this author discovered that Jones himself has been at work on compiling deluxe editions of his early material for Warner Bros. Clearly the demand for such product is there. While Jones is certainly doing a good job of turning over every stone in his discography, I suppose it won’t hurt to try to predict the future once more and speculate on what a reissue of Dream Into Action, one of his best works, would look like. Things can only get better after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 18, 2010 at 16:34

Posted in Features, Howard Jones, Reissues

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