Big Star can be ranked alongside the Velvet Underground and the Sex Pistols as one of the major inspirations for the indie and alternative rock movements. The group's first two albums, collected here on one disc, have influenced everyone from R.E.M. to Teenage Fanclub to the Replacements to Nirvana. Their debut, #1 RECORD, combined the melodiousness and perfectly arranged feel of the mid-period Beatles with the raw rock kick of the early Kinks and the jangly country-rock beauty of the Byrds. "Feel," "Don't Lie To Me," and "When My Baby's Beside Me" feature stinging guitar licks, punchy rhythms, and hooks galore, and sound like someone discovering rock & roll for the first time. Alex Chilton's "Give Me Another Chance" and Chris Bell's "Try Again," on the other hand, are acoustic ballads with exquisitely beautiful, layered harmonies. Chilton's "13" and "The Ballad of El Goodo" are bright, unforgettable paeans to innocence.
RADIO CITY, the only other record released during Big Star's existence (BIG STAR'S THIRD, aka SISTER LOVERS, wasn't released for several years), is equally enthralling. Chilton wrote some of his finest proto-power-pop songs on this album, including "Mod Lang," "Back of a Car," and the sparkling, perfectly constructed "September Gurls," which has taken its place among the all-time rock song gems. Much has been made of Big Star's lack of commercial success, but the influence of #1 RECORD and RADIO CITY on rock history has been considerable, and the recordings sound as fresh and irresistibly listenable today as when they were released.
Rolling Stone (2/1/73, p.44) - "...NO. 1 RECORD isn't revolutionary--the group works within the well-defined forms--it's just exceptionally good..."
Spin (p.119) - "Alex Chilton's peppy post-Box Tops combo finds the place where Memphis R&B howlers dress in '70s SoCal casual and life is right."
Q - 4 Stars - Excellent
Alternative Press (12/92, p.78) - "...Their perfect ballads and ecstatic white-hot pop were bright flames of inspired creation..."