23 Comments

And, of course, the handclaps!👏Great peek under the vinyl on a classic! I appreciated the quotes, from Chilton, as well as Holly and Jody's, whose drumming has always been a favorite part of the song for me, especially that slow machine-gun riff following the bridge!

From ground-level, and hearing and owning the album and single upon release (I was 19), it's interesting to remember the ground-swell of print this got, but really only from the mags you'd expect: PRM, Creem, Stereo Review, Crawdaddy, BOMP, and some others, but like mainstream radio, it only seemed to register but a blip from mainstays like Rolling Stone. I'm sure they reviewed it, but extra print in the form of articles, interviews, and analysis seemed limited to the "usual roots-planted" periodicals we'd expect.

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Dec 7, 2023Liked by S.W. Lauden

I'm right with you on this song, which hits me in the heart every time. I didn't hear it until I was in my 30's, and I never get tired of it. The apotheosis of power pop. I wish I could have seen Big Star before Alex died.

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That was a fun read. For some reason, it reminded me of a story from my days as a newspaper editor. At the time, I was an AP style hound and got into an argument with an English major who was one of my reporters over the use of the serial comma. The argument — we truly did not like each other — became heated and prompted the publisher of this small-town North Carolina newspaper to pose the question: "Really, do you think our readers give two shits about the serial comma."

For once, the reporter and I agreed as we said in unison: "They should."

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I somehow always knew there was an apostrophe there. Only now am I realizing I had no concrete reason for that.

I also thought it was based on the college-student dynamic, except the December boy was a young man who (like me) grew up in a college town and annually swooned over some fraction of the students.

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Dec 7, 2023Liked by S.W. Lauden

For a long time Don't Lie To Me was my go-to, because I could follow it up with New York Dolls—Chatterbox, and as I was deejaying a lot I just got locked into it, and Record #1. But late one night, my roommate at the time and I were winding down after playing together, and he threw on September Gurls and my brain did a double-take, as if I'd never heard Big Star before. It's weird how a song will hit you at the right time and rearrange what you thought. So, Radio City started popping up in my crate more and more. I do find it funny that over time, I went from Big Star's first & Dolls second albums to playing vice versa at our record nights.

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You may want to book yourself a pilgrimage to Memphis. The entire record collection of John King, who co-founded Ardent with Fred Smith and organized the 1973 writer’s convention that showcased Big Star (and convinced them to record a second album), is at the Memphis Listening Lab. They have an EP that Chilton self released in 1986 with an alternative version of September Gurls.

https://memphislisteninglab.org

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I've been known to put "September Gurls" on repeat in the car and drive all day with just that song.

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by S.W. Lauden

This was lovely to read, and it was great to see someone so concisely articulate the evolving relationship we have with our favorite songs. Thank you!

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