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  • Alex Chilton (ALCH001JF)
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Alex Chilton

William Alexander "Alex" Chilton (December 28, 1950 – March 17, 2010) was an American songwriter, guitarist, singer and producer, best known as the lead singer of the Box Tops and Big Star. Chilton's early commercial success in the 1960s as a teen vocalist for The Box Tops was never repeated in later years with Big Star and in his subsequent indie music solo career on small labels, but he drew an obsessive following among indie and alternative music musicians.  He is frequently cited as a seminal influence by influential rock artists and bands, some of whose testimonials appeared in the 2012 documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.

Chilton grew up in a musical family; his father, Sidney Chilton, was a jazz musician. A local band recruited the teenager in 1966 as their lead singer after learning of the popularity of his vocal performance at a talent show at Memphis' Central High School; this band was (Ronnie and) the Devilles, later renamed The Box Tops. The new group recorded with Chips Moman and producer/songwriter Dan Penn at American Sound Studio and Muscle Shoals' FAME Studios.

After a period in New York City, during which Chilton worked on his guitar technique and singing style (some of which was believed to have been influenced by a chance meeting with Roger McGuinn at a friend's apartment in New York when Chilton was impressed with McGuinn's singing and playing), Chilton returned to Memphis in 1971 and co-founded the power-pop group Big Star, with Chris Bell, recording at engineer John Fry's Ardent Studios. Chilton and Bell co-wrote "In The Street" for Big Star's first album #1 Record, a track later covered by Cheap Trick and used as the theme song of That '70s Show.

Alex Chilton (ALCH001JF)

Alex Chilton

Alex Chilton photographed in a disused gymnasium in London in 1978

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