Top positive review
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The Book Of El Goodo
on 1 May 2014
This is a wonderful, amazing book. Even if you're a Big Star agnostic, if you have any interest in music you will love this book. It has tragedy writ large through it, with the self-destructive Alex Chilton creating some of the greatest music ever made and then practically disowning it to noodle around with lacklustre solo and band projects (albeit ones that seemed to make him happy) whilst also being sucked down into a whirlpool of drink and drugs, eventually dying prematurely, like so many other people in this book. You feel sorry for his bandmates, who each contributed to the phenomenon that was Big Star, but were prey to the vagaries of Chilton's ornery decision-making. It's frustrating to read just how close to greatness they came, only to be thwarted by diabolical record company tactics or the band's own laissez-faire attitude.
Despite all this, your heart goes out to Chilton, negotiating one disaster after another, whether stranded on his roof during Katrina or entertaining a fan for a week while his cigarettes and booze were paid for, before abruptly sending him packing!
The author, Rob Jovanovic, has done a great job - he's unshowy and unobtrusive, never gushing despite (as we see in the postscript) being a huge fan. He relates the facts without judging the people involved or displaying sycophancy.
If you love Big Star you really need this book in your life - if you don't, you still won't be sorry you bought it.