Alex Chilton’s death chills SXSW

Alex Chilton, one of rock’s greats, died Wednesday, breaking for a moment the high spirits at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, where he was scheduled to play on Saturday.

Cheap Trick’s cover of “In the Street” was the theme song for the “That ’70s Show” sitcom.

Jim DeRogatis points out in the Chicago Sun-Times that the Replacements “went so far as to write a song called ‘Alex Chilton’ [in this link by Paul Westerberg].

“Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round,” Paul Westerberg sang in the Replacements’ tribute. “They sing … I’m in love with that song.”

Those words stand as a fitting tribute to a great talent, survived by his wife, Laura, son, Timothy, and legions of fans whose lives were enriched by his music.

Chilton started with “The Letter” — a super hit for the British Box Tops when he was 16 — and then there was Big Star. Nearly everyone covered Big Star.

Whitney Matheson in USA Today points to his favorite Big Star cover, a haunting rendition of “Thirteen” by Elliott Smith. “Somewhere,” Matheson suggets, “perhaps these two talents are now making beautiful music together.”

Chilton was 59.

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