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Recorded: 1975

Released: July 1978

Rating: 4.334 (average of 8 ratings)

Genre: pop rock/ proto punk

Quotable: “Perhaps the most innovative album the group ever recorded, and influenced many subsequent bands.” – Wikipedia

Album Tracks:

  1. Kizza Me
  2. Thank You Friends
  3. Big Black Car
  4. Jesus Christ
  5. Femme Fatale
  6. O, Dana
  7. Holocaust
  8. Kangaroo
  9. Stroke It Noel
  10. For You
  11. You Can’t Have Me
  12. Nightime
  13. Blue Moon
  14. Take Care

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:

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Notes: The 1992 Rykodisc reissue adds five bonus tracks: “Nature Boy,” “Till the End of the Day,” “Dream Lover,” “Downs,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. Mojo Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums NME Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums

Third/Sister Lovers
Big Star
“Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers ranks among the most harrowing experiences in pop music; impassioned, erratic, and stark, it’s the slow, sinking sound of a band falling apart.” JA

“After the first two Big Star albums, 1972’s #1 Record and 1974’s Radio City, failed to achieve commercial success, Alex Chilton went back into Ardent Studios in late 1974 to make a series of recordings.” WK “Recorded with their label, Stax, poised on the verge of bankruptcy” JA the result was “a shambling wreck of an album” JA which “was deemed too uncommercial for release at the time, and only saw the light of day in 1978.” WK

The album “finds Alex Chilton at the end of his rope, sabotaging his own music long before it can ever reach the wrecking crew of poor distribution, indifferent marketing, and disinterested pop radio; his songs are haphazardly brilliant, a head-on collision between inspiration and frustration.” JA

“The album is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, each song smacking of utter defeat and desperation; the result is either one of the most vividly emotional experiences in pop music or a completely wasted opportunity, and while the truth probably lies somewhere in between, there’s no denying Third’s magnetic pull – it’s like an undertow.” JA The album “takes the original Big Star sound and abstracts it, with synthesizers, strings and saxophones emerging from the mix.” WK It “included guitar work by Steve Cropper (on a cover of The Velvet Underground’s Femme Fatale), as well as drumming by [Big Star’s] Jody Stephens.” WK

While it “deals with bitterness, loneliness and emotional devastation, but does so in a way that retains some elements of pop music, as on Thank You Friends, which features female backing vocals reminiscent of those found on Elvis Presley recordings of the late ‘60s. Kangaroo and Holocaust have often been compared to some of the raw recordings of Yoko Ono and John Lennon. You Can’t Have Me is akin to a deconstructed song by the Who, and the halting ballad Dream Lover contains the famous line about ‘Beale Street green.’” WK

“Although many critics regard Radio City as the definitive Big Star album, Third is perhaps the most innovative album the group ever recorded, and influenced many subsequent bands, including Primal Scream and His Name Is Alive. In addition, the album contains what are arguably Alex Chilton’s finest vocal performances.” WK

“Although previously issued on a variety of different labels, Rykodisc’s 1992 release is the initially definitive edition of this unfinished masterpiece, its 19 tracks most closely approximating the original planned running order while restoring the music’s intended impact; in addition to unearthing a blistering cover of the Kinks’ Till the End of the Day and a haunting rendition of Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy, it also appends the disturbing Dream Lover, which distills the album’s messiest themes into less than four minutes of psychic torment.” JA

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Link(s):

Previous Album: Radio City (1974)

“Thank You Friends” video:

Last updated March 28, 2010.