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Alex Chilton

Sunday @ the Turner Hall Ballroom - 8 p.m.

Dec. 7, 2008
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By age 17, Alex Chilton was already a star thanks to “The Letter,” one of the most muscular blue-eyed soul hits of the 1960s, which he sang with his early band The Box Tops. In the early 1970s, Chilton joined the far less successful but infinitely more influential band, Big Star, and went on to record three of the most beloved power-pop albums of all time. Trading in his prematurely ragged croon, Chilton honed a heartbreaking whimper that would later be adopted by Matthew Sweet, Elliott Smith and countless other followers, singing vulnerable confessionals that would be cherished by future generations of college- and alternative-rockers. Ironically, it seems that one of the few music lovers on earth who doesn’t understand the significance of Alex Chilton is, of all people, Alex Chilton. Remarkably unsentimental about his own songbook, Chilton has stayed active (but not too active) with a series of humble, uneven solo albums, often filled with no-frills covers of R&B obscurities that he just so happens to enjoy. That Chilton, who does an 8 p.m. show at the Turner Hall Ballroom tonight, has remained more or less visible for all these years has only made him that much more of an enigma.

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