Music

Alex Chilton's Small Stardom

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Alex Chilton was a pop musician who couldn't get a major label deal most of his career, but whose posthumous fame as an underground hero now earns him a biography from a major New York publishing house. A Man Called Destruction, by Holly George-Warren (Viking), thoroughly and affectionately tells the story of a man guiding his artistic and personal life via perverse whim mixed with an urge to upset expectations.

Chilton started by selling his late adolescence to pop stardom as the singer for the Box Tops. From his cult legend band Big Star through a solo career designed to alienate that cult, he became a saint for the underground artist, proving that no matter how hard you try to bury your own best instincts, unique quality will shine through the murk and attract love. Even if your attitude is, as a friend summed up Chilton's, "This is gonna be mine, so I'm gonna be the one who fucks it up." -Brian Doherty