Alex Chilton, the legendary voice and songwriter behind the Box Tops and Big Star, has died, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. He was 59.
This is a very sad event for many fans of Chilton's work, as well as the countless artists -- Uncle Tupelo, Matthew Sweet, Elliott Smith, the Replacements, the Jayhawks, Superdrag, among others -- that created music based upon his country/rock/pop fusion.
His Big Star bandmate Jody Stephens confirmed the news this evening.
"Alex passed away a couple of hours ago," Stephens said from Austin,
Texas, where the band was to play Saturday at the annual South By
Southwest Festival. "I don't have a lot of particulars, but they kind of
suspect that it was a heart attack."
In honor of the biggest Big Star, raise a cold gin and tonic. The cocktail is already synonymous with Chilton for its reference tucked within the vivid "The India Song" off 1972's near-perfect #1 Record. When he gets to that final line, "and let no one know when I'm gone," take an extra big swig.
"The India Song"
I'd like to go to India
Live in a big white house in the forest
Drink gin and tonic and play a grand piano
Read a few books
Far from what saddens my heart
Try to live away from it
Find a new girl
Who says she feels the same
Get to know her after the trip
Bathe in a forest pool
Her life a part of mine
And let no one know until I'm gone