Friday, May 9, 2014
Podcast - Holly George-Warren
(photo by Mark Loete)
The legend goes that the second time Memphis native Alex Chilton ever sang into a microphone was when he recorded "The Letter" for The Box Tops. A massive hit which spent four weeks at number one on the pop charts, "The Letter" would prove to be Chilton's biggest hit. While he reached his commercial peak when he was 16 years old, his artistic peak would come later.
Chilton passed away unexpectedly at age 59 in 2010, and his legacy was further bolstered by last year's documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, Holly George-Warren's biography A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man looks at the man in full, from the tragic drowning of his older brother, to his bohemian upbringing in Midtown Memphis, to stardom transitioning to critical darling, to his tumultuous early solo career and as a dishwasher in New Orleans, and finally to his becoming one of the most-respected interpreters of American music.
Holly George-Warren is a veteran music journalist having written for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and The Oxford American, among many others. She has also edited and authored many books including Public Cowboy No.1 :The Life and Times of Gene Autry and Honky-Tonk Heroes and Hillbilly Angels: The Pioneers of Country & Western Music. She has won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award and has been twice nominated for a Grammy for her liner notes.