Alex Chilton, lead singer for the Box Tops and singer/ guitarist for Big Star died today in New Orleans just hours before his band was to perform at SXSW. He was 59. Cause of death was an apparent heart attack.
Alex Chilton influence can most notably be heard in REM and The Replacement (who wrote a tune called Alex Chilton, featured on their Pleased to Meet Me album), but touched such varied artists such as Wilco, Garbage, Jeff Buckley, all of whom covered his work.
I’ll remember Alex Chilton best for ‘The Letter’, the smash hit he recorded with The Box Tops; he was only 16 at the time, although you’d never know it. The Letter was the first song that I learned on the guitar that I could sing to on the radio. I loved playing the bridge especially and would try to imitate his whiskey and cigarettes voice when I sang along.
Goodbye Alex. You’ll be missed.