Nothing Can Hurt Me, a new documentary about the band's "massive critical acclaim, dismal commercial failure," and enduring legacy as "pop music's greatest cult phenomenon." The movie's tagline sums it up: I never heard Big Star on the radio, or even at a record shop. I listened to Big Star because other band's told me to via cover songs and tributes. My introduction to Alex Chilton first came through Elliott Smith's hushed cover of "Thirteen" (there are countless takes on "Thirteen," but like Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah," Smith's is the definitive cover version). Later, as I dove more into Replacements' lore, I was pushed more into the world of Big Star, always remembering Paul Westerberg's line from "Alex Chilton": "Never travel far, without a little Big Star." So today, while I play #1 Record, Radio City, and Third/Sister Lovers on repeat, I thought I'd share my favorite Big Star covers by some of my favorite bands. And maybe even turn a few readers on to one of rock's greatest songwriters.
Yo La Tengo - "Take Care"
Elliott Smith - "Thirteen"
Whiskeytown - "Give Me Another Chance"
Jeff Buckley - "Kangaroo"
Dum Dum Girls - "September Gurls"
The Replacements - "September Gurls"
Wilco - "Thank You Friends"
Ted Leo - "The Ballad of El Goodo"
The Replacements - "Alex Chilton (live)"