The opening track from the album that has lived in my car for as long as I’ve been able to drive is always a welcome old friend. If you’ve never heard Number 1 Record by Big Star there are millions more worthy entries all over the internet telling you why it is one of THE albums you MUST hear before you die.
If you haven’t heard Feel you probably have heard In The Street (Cheap Trick’s cover was used as the theme for That 70’s Show) or The Ballad Of El Goodo (covered by every semi acoustic Indie band ever). If you haven’t heard any of this. You’ll know the record cover. A blue neon star with the word big written in it in yellow neon. It’s one of the greatest record sleeves of all time.
But, to the track in hand. Feel is a wonderous way to open an album of hidden pop gems from a lost era of rock and roll that the ‘insiders’ all consider a classic while the mainstream will forever remain oblivious.
It’s warm, slightly trippy hippy, accomplished in arrangement and musicianship and most of all it’s seductive. Feel makes you want to listen to the rest of the album. On your back, with a cold beer (or whatever you’re into) and a lava lamp.
It’s light and poppy yet deep and spiritual at the same time.
Alex Chilton and Chris Bell lead this doomed band through a flashingly brief career between 1971 & 1974, and yet the three records they made helped The Lemonheads, R.E.M, The Replacements, Pixies and Ryan Adams find their sound. So they kind of invented American Indie.