Big Star: The Short Life, Painful Death, and Unexpected Resurrection of the Kings of Power Pop

Rob Jovanovic, Author
Rob Jovanovic, Author Chicago Review Press $16.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-55652-596-4
Reviewed on: 09/01/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-00-714908-7
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-908279-37-8
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Memphis' Big Star had a short and tumultuous life in the early to mid '70s, but its legacy and impact are still felt today; Paul Westerberg, Peter Buck of REM, Matthew Sweet and Ryan Adams have all loudly sung the praises of this cult band that carved out a unique brand of power pop that went unheard by the masses after poor distribution, infighting, substance abuse and poor tour support coalesced to sink the band. If it weren't for the evangelism Big Star inspired in rock writers, they probably wouldn't have even made a second album, let alone a third. Jovanovic (Nirvana: The Complete Recordings, Perfect Sound Forever: The Story of Pavement) has an eye for detail, but this book is strictly for hardcore fans. His near-molecular dissection of band members' musical histories grows tiresome as more time is spent discussing the minutiae of the band's existence and recordings than their contributions to pop and rock music as a whole. While Jovanovic explains the factors that contributed to the band's downfall, he never fully explains why Big Star means so much to its small but devoted and influential following. That said, those who love the band will be in heaven with the fruits of Jovanovic's meticulous research: he includes an exhaustive discography, concert list and even a list of Big Star songs covered by other bands. Timed to coincide with the release of In Space, the band's first album of all-new music since 1975, this definitive biography is the ultimate Big Star reference. Photos.
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