Big Star was the greatest little band you’ve probably never heard of. Formed in Memphis in 1971 by Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel, the quartet earned lots of local love but broke up within three years. (A different version reformed 20 years after that.) The band never had a major hit but their power pop influenced scores of musicians who came later. R.E.M., the Posies, the Bangles, the Replacements, Matthew Sweet, and Wilco have all professed their love for Big Star.
Now, for the first time, Angelenos will have a chance to hear the band’s music live as a slew of performers queue up to perform two Big Star albums—#1 Record and Third—in their entirety. Jody Stephens, the last surviving original member of Big Star, will be joined by an all star cast of musicians including members of the Posies, R.E.M., and Yo La Tengo as well as a full chamber orchestra and guest vocalists Pete Yorn, Aimee Mann, Dan Wilson of Semisonic, actor Jason Schwartman, and members of L.A.’s own Grouplove, among others.
The concert, at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on September 27, is a benefit for the Autism Think Tank, an organization that was formed to improve the quality of care for individuals on the autism spectrum.