Rare Video Manna: Big Star Unearthed!



Previously unseen
footage from 1971 polished and put together  by the Oxford

By Fred Mills



Go on YouTube and you can find a sampling of Big Star
videos, but there’s a catch: they’re all either audio dubbed over still images
(e.g., not actual performances), or clips of the latterday ‘90s incarnation
featuring members of the Posies joining Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens. It
seemed that nobody but hardcore collectors would own any real footage of the
band in its heyday – if they had any at all.


That’s why a palpaple shudder of delight rippled through the
musical community recently when the venerable Oxford American, in the July 2008 issue, included a DVD with the
third annual “Best Of The South” issue.


From the OA description:



“Get ready to be blown
away by some rare and never-before-seen clips. See Elvis warming up the mike in
preparation for his greatest performance ever. See lost footage of one of the
most influential rock bands in music history: Big Star. (Gathering dust on the
shelf until we polished it up for this DVD, these beautiful images were shot by
Big Star guitarist Chris Bell and bassist Andy Hummel.)”



Blown away is an understatement. You can see the results
below, 1971 images set to the tune “Thank You Friends,” from the DVD and recently
posted to YouTube. All I’ll add is that just to see the late Chris Bell smile
semi-selfconsciously as the camera points at him, but still beautifully, is
worth its weight in gold. (Purists may quibble over the fact that “Thank You
Friends” was recorded long after Bell and Andy Hummel had left the band – Chilton
and Stephens cut it for Sister Lovers
but as a tribute to the four men and comradeship, the lyrical and musical
sentiments hold up nicely, thank you very much.)


Hell, as long as we’re at it, below the Big Star vid is a cool
clip we found of the Bangles doing – sort of (you’ll see what we mean when you
view it) – Big Star’s “September Gurls.”


Enjoy the weekend, kids, from your friendly neighborhood




Leave a Reply