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Released: April 1972

Rating: 4.292 (average of 6 ratings)

Genre: pop rock/ proto punk

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Feel
  2. The Ballad of el Goodo
  3. In the Street
  4. Thirteen
  5. Don’t Lie to Me
  6. The India Song
  7. When My Baby’s Beside Me
  8. My Life Is Right
  9. Give Me Another Chance
  10. Try Again
  11. Watch the Sunrise
  12. ST 100/6

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated --


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • When My Baby’s Beside Me (?) –
  • Don’t Lie to Me (?) –
  • In the Street
  • Thirteen


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. Spin magazine – album of the year

#1 Record
Big Star
When #1 Record, “the debut album by the American power pop group Big Star” WK was released, “an inability by Stax Records to make the album available in stores virtually eliminated sales.” WK However, it “immediately received widespread acclaim.” WK “Many critics praised the album’s elegant vocal harmonies and refined songcraft (frequently drawing comparisons to the British Invasion groups of the 1960s, including The Beatles, The Kinks and The Who).” WKRecord World called it ‘one of the best albums of the year’, and Billboard commented, ‘Every cut could be a single.’ In a lengthy and enthusiastic review, Rolling Stone pronounced the album ‘exceptionally good,’ while Cashbox described it as one where ‘everything falls together as a total sound’ and one which ‘should go to the top.’ The River City Review’s reaction to the album was to state that ‘Big Star will be around for many moons.’” WK

One of the disadvantages the album has because of such poor sales but high praise is that most people “probably encountered the work it influenced first, so its truly innovative qualities are lost.” WR That means the average listener “may be reminded of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or R.E.M., who came after – that is, if you don’t think of the Byrds and the Beatles, circa 1965. What was remarkable about #1 Record in 1972 was that nobody except Big Star (and maybe Badfinger and the Raspberries) wanted to sound like this – simple, light pop with sweet harmonies and jangly guitars. Since then, dozens of bands have rediscovered those pleasures. But in a way, that’s an advantage because, whatever freshness is lost across the years, Big Star’s craft is only confirmed. These are sturdy songs, feelingly performed, and once you get beyond the style to the content, you’ll still be impressed.” WR

Modeled after the Beatles’ songwriting partnership between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, most of the song’s were credited to the band’s co-founders Alex Chilton and Chris Bell. “In practice, they developed material incrementally in the studio, each making changes to the other's recordings. Drummer Jody Stephens recalled, ‘Alex would come in and put down something rough and edgy and Chris would come in and add some sweet-sounding background vocals to it.’ The pair also each contributed songs individually composed before Big Star was formed, Bell bringing Feel, Try Again and My Life Is Right, and Chilton, Thirteen, The Ballad of El Goodo, In the Street and Watch the Sunrise.” WK Sadly, it was “the only Big Star album on which group founder Chris Bell is officially credited as a member, though he did make some contributions to its follow-up, 1974’s Radio City.” WK

Years later, “a version of ‘In the Street’ by Ben Vaughn was used as the theme song of That ‘70s Show, which was changed to a version by Cheap Trick after the first season. ‘Thirteen’ has also been used in several episodes of That 70’s Show.” WR

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Link(s):

Next Album: Radio City (1974)

Video of Cheap Trick’s cover of “In the Street” (for That ‘70s Show):

Video of Elliott Smith’s cover of “Thirteen”:

Last updated March 21, 2010.