Lost Songs By Former Box Tops Lead Singer Alex Chilton

January 16, 2012 by Amy Gold

Alex Chilton ca. late 1960s
Alex Chilton ca. late 1960s

In late 1969, the former lead singer of The Box Tops, Alex Chilton, recorded an entire album of solo songs with Ardent Studios which was first released on CD in 1996 under the title, "1970." These songs, along with some first-ever-released demo tracks, have just been reissued on the CD, "Free Again: The 1970 Sessions." These songs, which would have comprised his first solo album, were recorded between his years with The Box Tops and Big Star.

William Alexander "Alex" Chilton (December 28, 1950 - March 17, 2010) was a highly acclaimed singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer who, at age 16, began his music career as lead singer of The Box Tops. Their smash hit, "The Letter," topped the charts in 1967 and was named Billboard magazine's number one single of the year. After The Box Tops disbanded in 1970, Chilton co-founded the power pop group, Big Star. Their first album, "#1 Record," is considered by many to be a cult classic, and various covers of one of this album's songs, "In The Street," were used as the theme song of "That '70s Show."

Over the years, Chilton has recorded many solo albums in a variety of styles including blue-eyed soul, Baroque pop, power pop, R&B, and early punk and indie rock. An iconoclast and a free spirit, he has maintained a long and loyal following, especially among fans of alternative rock, and he is regarded as a key influence by many bands and artists.