By Mark Kemp

When the Southern proto-power-pop band Big Star completed its third album at Memphis’ Ardent Studios in 1974, the key members — singer-guitarist Alex Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens — were done with the group. Though 3rd, as it was named, would eventually come out on the indie label PVC Records in 1978, it wasn’t until Rhino Records reissued the album as Third/Sister Lovers in 1992 — with help from the record’s original producer, Jim Dickinson (Rolling Stones, Replacements) — that Big Star’s final record got proper distribution and attention. On Oct. 14, Omnivore Records will release the three-disc expanded version Complete Third.


The acoustic demo take of the beautiful, wistful “Nightime” (above) is among the 69 tracks on Complete Third. This isn’t the first expanded edition of Big Star’s third album, but it includes 29 tracks that have never been released, and it’s sequenced in a way that traces the project from original rough demos to final masters. And it includes extensive liner notes by music journalist Budd Scoppa, as well as thoughts from several artists Big Star influenced, including members of R.E.M., the Dream Syndicate, the Jayhawks, the Bangles, and the dB’s, as well as the Posies’ Ken Stringfellow, who became a member of Big Star when the band reunited in 1993.

Learn more about Complete Third here:

(The Alex Chilton photo on the home page was shot by Pat Rainer.)

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