Aural Fixation: Big Star’s “The Ballad Of El Goodo”

With the sudden and tragic passing of Alex Chilton earlier this week, many music lovers are rediscovering why they became enamored with Big Star in the first place.  For me, it was when I first heard “The Ballad Of El Goodo,” which appears on their seminal debut, #1 Record.  Sure, Big Star could rock out real hard, but their slow songs showed off influences that the hits didn’t allude to as much.  “The Ballad Of El Goodo,” for example, is a kind of country-folk song with communal, almost gospel harmonies.  In Big Star’s earliest days, Chilton split songwriting duties with Chris Bell, who generally added the tenderness and emotion to the band’s repertoire.  Chilton had written “El Goodo” prior to Big Star’s formation, and it remains one of the band’s most uplifting songs.  Chilton would lead Big Star through one more album and an ambitious attempt at a third, and the band’s short tenure would become the stuff of power-pop legend.  There’s nothing not to love about Big Star, and Chilton will be missed by anyone who’s ever dug a melody.

Listen: Big Star – “The Ballad Of El Goodo” from #1 Record (1972)

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~ by E. on March 19, 2010.

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