The guys over at the 1000 Recordings Podcast talked this week about Big Star's 1000 Recordings entry #1 Record/Radio City. Tony and Mitch were discussing that they had heard of the band, but not heard them before they read the book. I was in the same boat, but I had heard at least two covers of their song "Thirteen." Counting Crows, who have professed their love for Big Star multiple times over the years, and are covering "The Ballad of El Goodo" on their upcoming covers album, and sadcore pioneer Elliott Smith (another 1000 Recordings artist) both have excellent covers of this nostalgia-fueled song about being a teen.
Although I hadn't heard the original until I started reading the book, I already loved the song.
I am a nostalgia kinda guy; I spend a lot of time looking back and reminiscing. Music is a gateway for me to do that. There used to be an ad for Axe Body Spray that said "smell is the strongest sense tied to memory," but for me music is equally powerful. When I hear a song that is dear to me, I am transported to a time in my life when that song mattered to me; I can feel the emotions, remember the tiny details, really be there. The lyrics of "Thirteen," so bare and heartfelt, do that to me, too. I can remember being overzealous in any number of romantic pursuits as a young teenager, where every event was the most life-changing, positive or negative, thing that had ever happened to a human.
Listen to the original, Crows' and Smith's versions below, and tell me what song takes you back to those awkward and vulnerable teenage years.
Stream #1 Record/Radio City here.
Stream XO by Elliott Smith here.