Chris Bell: You and Your Sister (acoustic version, 1975)

 |   |  1 min read

Chris Bell: You and Your Sister (acoustic version, 1975)

The story of Big Star -- post-Beatles pop band in the Seventies like Badfinger and, like Badfinger, largely overlooked or dismissed as unfashionable at the time -- has been previously told at Elsewhere (see here), but there is a considerable amount of their wonderful material to pull from the vaults.

And it doesn't all come from the pen of the late Alex Chilton whose eccentric course through popular music (from the soul of the Box Tops to the power pop of Big Star and then all kinds of things afterwards) was rather bewildering to behold.

The other key songwriter in Big Star was Chris Bell who quit in '73 (the group disbanded in '75), continued to work in Memphis and later France at the Chateau D'Herouville (Elton's Honky Chateau) on his own songs.

Distraught by how poorly Big Star had fared, Bell had begun a steady downward slide through bourbon and depression after he quit, there were a couple of suicide attempts, and finally needles.

Yet he still managed to write, albeit intermittently, and his gift clearly hadn't deserted him. His recordings in France were mixed by Geoff Emerick at George Martin' Air Studios in London.

But things didn't work out and Bell took a job managing a fast food restuarant.

In '78 he was delighted that EMI were going to reissue the first two Big Star albums alongside an unreleased and cobbled-together third album and he started playing live again. He released a single I am the Cosmos (backed with You and Your Sister) and there were rumours of a Big Star reunion tour.

bellIt didn't happen. On December 27 1978 Bell was coming back from a rehearsal with his new band when his car hit a telephone pole. He was killed instantly.

Six years after his death his brother David helped compile an album's worth of material mostly from the Honky Chateau sessions which appeared as I am the Cosmos.

Among the extra tracks on '92 Ryko reissue of the album was this lovely, plaintively innocent acoustic version of You and Your Sister, a song which doubtless refers to the time when Bell and Chilton were dating sisters Lesa and Holliday Aldridge (an event which also gave name to the Big Star album Third/Sister Lovers which appeared in '78). 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Jay and the Americans: Tomorrow (1962)

Jay and the Americans: Tomorrow (1962)

Although they hit their peak when the American bands fought back against the British Invasion in the mid Sixties, Jay and the Americans always seemed like a band from an earlier era with their big... > Read more

No Way Sis: I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (1996)

No Way Sis: I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (1996)

For the Oasis tribute band No Way Sis their work was done for them: Oasis were notorious for borrowing/plagiarising/thieving melodies which songwriter Noel Gallagher cheeerfully admitted -- and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ENRICO RAVA AND NEW YORK DAYS: The trumpet calls the faithful

ENRICO RAVA AND NEW YORK DAYS: The trumpet calls the faithful

It’s disappointing and embarrassing that one encounter may put you off a musician for such a long time. Then, shame-faced, you crawl your way back later and have to concede everybody else was... > Read more

Artisan Guns: Coral (Warners)

Artisan Guns: Coral (Warners)

Unlike so many young bands who leap quickly onto record, this Auckland band (once described as "young" but now "mature" might better) have progressed slowly and steadily towards... > Read more