Home Read Classic Album Review: Rock City | Rock City

Classic Album Review: Rock City | Rock City

This short-lived Memphis foursome were the precursor to Alex Chilton's Big Star.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Every few years, it seems, somebody unearths another long-lost early recording by The Beatles or Elvis Presley. Well, they aren’t the only ones with buried treasure.

Introducing Rock City, a short-lived, Chris Bell-led Memphis foursome who were a precursor to Big Star, the Alex Chilton-fronted band that influenced everyone from The Replacements to Tom Petty to R.E.M. This debut album — which was recorded in 1969 and supposedly lost in a tape vault until last year — is basically Big Star without Alex, but with a similar fusion of Beatle-pop and Yankee rock that’s instantly familiar to anyone who’s heard the original version of In The Street (aka That ’70s Show’s theme). As a bonus, the disc includes early versions of three tunes that would end up on Big Star’s first album. Granted, Rock City is hardly as historical as an old Elvis acetate. But it does shed a little new light on the beginnings of Big Star, and that’s more than enough for fans.