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.
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"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