The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Alex Chilton Dead at 59

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton

That's really all you need to know.

But for those who require more in the way of context, here are standard Obits from standard Obit sources:

The New York Times

The Associated Press

National Public Radio


swac said...


Ever since high school (a little older than thirteen, but not much) I've never travelled far without a little Big Star.

Tried to listen to some when I heard the news, but I just couldn't. Maybe when the cloud passes.

-vt- said...

One of the truly greats.

nutshell king said...

This hit me much harder than expected. I'm not usually one to get all choked up about public figures I've never met. But a few minutes after I read the news last night, sad little Big Star hooks started running through my head (so many of them), and it dawned on me how much I had loved that kid singing them, the kid that had been Alex Chilton at one time, long ago. Anyway, those snatches of songs absolutely broke me. I found myself sobbing, full-throated, wet and involuntary, for a good minute before I could check myself. Even with the surprising realization that I have probably included a Big Star song (or two, or three)on 80% of every mix I ever made for a friend, I still don't understand why this has hit me so hard. Even now, the day after, I still feel numbed and scooped out from the inside. Devastated is the only word - thanks for supplying it.

parallel-botany said...

Bad, bad news.

I just saw him perform in Brooklyn in November.


Testify said...

Big Star are of course great but lets not forget The Box Tops (listen to 'em and contemplate that voice! At 16 yrs of age!)
Or indeed Alex's often perverse but never dull solo work.

Such a shame.

Fred said...

Cry like a baby.

Timmy said...

Wooow, I am bummed. I have noticed alot of blogs posting Alex stuff lately. Ya nevah know. "You left The Water Runnin'..."

marietta said...

By all the sadness a beautyful pictur for the last journey.RIP.

Geoff said...

i never travel far without a little big star

Michel said...

There's a certain kind of pop song that's almost guaranteed to give me goosebumps. He made quite a few of those.

It's a sad morning.

westofthewest said...

Not the usual obituary, not an obituary at all.

pal shazar said...

what a legacy! he forever made the word 'airplane' cooler.