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A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, from Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man

by

A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, from Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man Cover

ISBN13: 9780670025633
ISBN10: 0670025631
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The first biography of the influential musician and forebear of the indie-rock scene

Alex Chiltons story is rags to riches in reverse, beginning with teenage rock stardom and heading downward. Following stints leading 60s sensation the Box Tops (“The Letter”) and pioneering 70s popsters Big Star (“the ultimate American pop band”—Time), Chilton became a dishwasher. Yet he rose again in the 80s as a solo artist, producer, and trendsetter, coinventing the indie-rock genre. By the 90s, acolytes from R.E.M. to Jeff Buckley embodied Chiltons legacy, ushering him back to the spotlight before his untimely death in 2010.

In the career-spanning and revelatory A Man Called Destruction, longtime Chilton acquaintance Holly George-Warren has interviewed more than 100 bandmates, friends, and family members to flesh out a man who presided over—and influenced—four decades of American musical history, rendered here with new perspective through the adventures of a true iconoclast.

Review:

"George-Warren's (Punk 365 ) swirling, perhaps over-generous biography follows the rowdy life of Alex Chilton, a largely unheard of underground rock star. The work spans the career of the Memphis-born Chilton from his 1967 debut as a chart-topping 16-year-old pop idol with the Box Tops, to his critically acclaimed but obscure work with Big Star and other punk bands, to his minor resurgence from the 1980s as an elder statesman of indie rock. Along the way George-Warren tells a well-paced, matter-of-fact, classically sordid saga of dissipation — including booze, pills, groupies, onstage antics, domestic violence, suicide attempts, anti-semitic outbursts, and Elvis-like bloating — that bottomed out in stints spent working as a janitor and dishwasher. Less entertaining are the elaborate rehashes of Chilton's recording sessions. Chilton's abandonment of commercial success, inclination towards wild, frequently off-putting music, and squalid life-style have made him a martyr in the punk-grunge pantheon, but the many encomiums George-Warren assembles may not convince readers of his brilliance. Instead, he comes across as the embodiment of an aesthetic beloved by the cognoscenti rather than the creator of music that can move the masses. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The first biography of the artist who and#147;essentially invented indie and alternative rockand#8221; (Spin)

A brilliant and influential songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist, the charismatic Alex Chilton was more than a rock starand#151;he was a true cult icon. Awardwinning music writer Holly George-Warrenand#8217;s A Man Called Destruction is the first biography of this enigmatic artist, who died in 2010. Covering Chiltonand#8217;s life from his early work with the charttopping Box Tops and the seminal power-pop band Big Star to his experiments with punk and roots music and his sprawling solo career, A Man Called Destruction is the story of a musical icon and a richly detailed chronicle of pop musicand#8217;s evolution, from the mid-1960s through todayand#8217;s indie rock.

About the Author

Holly George-Warren is the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller The Road to Woodstock (with Michael Lang), Public Cowboy #1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry, Punk 365, and a dozen other books. The two-time Grammy nominee has written for such publications as Rolling Stone, the New York Times, The Village Voice, and Entertainment Weekly. Coeditor of The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, she served as the editorial director of Rolling Stone Press for eight years. She lives in upstate New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

lukas, November 22, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
"And children by the million sing for Alex Chilton
When he comes 'round
They sing, 'I'm in love
What's that song?
Yeah, I'm in love, with that song.'"-The Replacements, "Alex Chilton"
A star in his teens with the Boxtops ("The Letter"), a member of a hugely influential, but unsuccessful band, a burn out in his mid-20s, and a reluctant cult figure and erratic performer until his death in 2010, Alex Chilton is one of the more complicated, idiosyncratic figures in modern music. His reputation largely rests on his three albums with Big Star (a band that Chris Bell founded and Chilton later joined), a cult band par excellence, whose power pop influenced a generation of indie/college rockers like R.E.M., the Replacements, Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub, and too many others to count. Although he recorded solo albums (some of which are terrible), he never found the same kind of success he did with the Boxtops and as the title of this biography, which takes its name from one of his records, he had a stubborn streak and some self-destructive tendencies (drink, drugs, women, bad performances). This fuck all attitude also had an influence on indie rockers, especially his acolytes the Replacements, who were known to give shows completely wrecked. Anyone picking up this book will probably be somewhat familiar with Chilton and it is an absorbing, if not terribly well-written, book, which spotlights his talent and his flaws, but doesn't really make sense of his post-Big Star career. As his status increased among bands and critics, he seemed either unwilling or unable to capitalize on it and remained a beloved, but below the radar figure until his death at 59. Big Star fans will want to check out the documentary "Nothing Can Hurt Me" and the box set "Keep An Eye on the Sky." If you don't know Big Star, all three of their albums are beyond essential.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670025633
Author:
George Warren, Holly
Publisher:
Viking Books
Author:
George-Warren, Holly
Subject:
Composers & Musicians
Subject:
Biography-Composers and Musicians
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20140331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1-16pp BandW insert
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Rock » Biographies
Arts and Entertainment » Sale Books
Biography » Composers and Musicians
Featured Titles » Biography

A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, from Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$27.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Viking Books - English 9780670025633 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "George-Warren's (Punk 365 ) swirling, perhaps over-generous biography follows the rowdy life of Alex Chilton, a largely unheard of underground rock star. The work spans the career of the Memphis-born Chilton from his 1967 debut as a chart-topping 16-year-old pop idol with the Box Tops, to his critically acclaimed but obscure work with Big Star and other punk bands, to his minor resurgence from the 1980s as an elder statesman of indie rock. Along the way George-Warren tells a well-paced, matter-of-fact, classically sordid saga of dissipation — including booze, pills, groupies, onstage antics, domestic violence, suicide attempts, anti-semitic outbursts, and Elvis-like bloating — that bottomed out in stints spent working as a janitor and dishwasher. Less entertaining are the elaborate rehashes of Chilton's recording sessions. Chilton's abandonment of commercial success, inclination towards wild, frequently off-putting music, and squalid life-style have made him a martyr in the punk-grunge pantheon, but the many encomiums George-Warren assembles may not convince readers of his brilliance. Instead, he comes across as the embodiment of an aesthetic beloved by the cognoscenti rather than the creator of music that can move the masses. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
The first biography of the artist who and#147;essentially invented indie and alternative rockand#8221; (Spin)

A brilliant and influential songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist, the charismatic Alex Chilton was more than a rock starand#151;he was a true cult icon. Awardwinning music writer Holly George-Warrenand#8217;s A Man Called Destruction is the first biography of this enigmatic artist, who died in 2010. Covering Chiltonand#8217;s life from his early work with the charttopping Box Tops and the seminal power-pop band Big Star to his experiments with punk and roots music and his sprawling solo career, A Man Called Destruction is the story of a musical icon and a richly detailed chronicle of pop musicand#8217;s evolution, from the mid-1960s through todayand#8217;s indie rock.

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