Posted by themusicsover on December 27, 2009
January 12, 1951 – December 27, 1978
Member of the 27 Club
Chris Bell was a guitarist, singer and brilliant songwriter who is best remembered as a founding member of the highly influential power pop band, Big Star. Formed during the early ’70s in Memphis, Tennessee with friend, Alex Chilton, Big Star set out make music that took the best pop elements of the British Invasion and added a dash of Memphis soul. In 1972, Big Star released #1 Album, which although it was a commercial failure, was highly influential to the Replacements, R.E.M., Wilco, Whiskeytown the Flaming Lips, and Teenage Fanclub. One song from the album, the Bell-Chilton penned, “In The Street,” was re-recorded by Cheap Trick in 1999 and used as the theme song for That ’70s Show. Bell left the band following the release of #1 Album and set out on a solo career. He did however, make several contributions to Big Star’s subsequent albums. Although he recorded numerous songs during his solo years, none made it to album until after his death. On December 27, 1978, Chris Bell, age 27, was killed when he lost control of his car and crashed into a light pole while driving home from his father’s Memphis restaurant. In 1992, a collection of his unreleased recordings came out under the name, I am the Cosmos.