That '70s Show (tv program)

New bio of Big Star's Alex Chilton reveals multifaceted and tragic life

One morning in 1977, Alex Chilton, 26, former lead singer of the Box Tops and of Big Star, very likely hungover or still drunk, appeared before an American studies class at the University of Texas to discuss his career in music and his thoughts on the present state of rock and roll. "Rock and roll is supposed to be out of control," Chilton told the boys and girls, "and it's crazy and it's supposed to drive you crazy." To illustrate his point, he serenaded the undergraduates that morning with a little ditty called "Riding Through the Reich," the lyrics of which were inspired by the scribblings of a white-supremacist spree killer, he said,...