Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I can't stop

listening to Thirteen by Big Star, written in 1972.

The lyrics reflect the age they describe, simple, unschooled, which makes it even more sweet and heartachy. The tune is for all time.

Rolling Stone magazine:

"Chilton wrote this acoustic ballad about two kids in love with rock & roll, featuring the deathless couplet, "Won't you tell your dad to get off my back/Tell him what we said about 'Paint It Black.' " It's simple musically; as Chilton said, "I was still learning to play and stuff." It never came out as a single or got any radio play, but "Thirteen" is one of rock's most beautiful celebrations of adolescence."

Won't you let me walk you home from school
Won't you let me meet you at the pool
Maybe Friday I can
get tickets for the dance
and I'll take you
Won't you tell your dad, "Get off my back"
Tell him what we said 'bout 'Paint It Black'
Rock 'n Roll is here to stay
Come inside where it's okay
And I'll shake you.
Won't you tell me what you're thinking of
Would you be an outlaw for my love
If it's so, well, let me know
If it's "no", well, I can go
I won't make you

I searched high and low for an mp3 or video of the original recording, but came up empty-handed, until I happened across this blog, which I linked above to the song title. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy of the album (pictured above). I did find a recent acoustic version of Thirteen with Alex Chilton on You Tube, but was disappointed. I feel it lacks luster. So here is a very barebones and heartfelt version by Elliott Smith. The footage contains recognizable spots in south-east Portland.

I also found a young man with a remarkably good voice, who seems to reside in Iowa - Nick Lind. It's worth a listen if you're a fan of the song.

But ain't nothing else like the original.

Sweet dreams.


steve said...

'72 i WAS AN OL MAN @ 15...
WISH I COULD SAY I KNEW THIS ONE...the ones I remember that still give me that feelin' were "Brand New Key" a truly horrible piece of work;
and on the other side of the sliding scale you had "Saturday in the Park" ....hell, I don't even know if thats any good any more, but it was then...and 'Nights in White Satin " that Rhonda and I skated to at Skateland...

With apologies to UF mike, the most grown up song I knew back then was "TAXI"...yeah..."i loved the wayhe said "I stuffed the bill in my shirt"

kissyface said...

I don't believe I know Brand New Key - oh wait, it is that rollerskate song? Truly a curio, that one. I always loved Nights in White Satin, though its grandiose tones make it vulnerable to parody. What's Taxi, and why must you apologize to UF Mike?


Beth said...

I lovelovelovelovelovelovelove "Thirteen." Probably Big Star's finest hour — and that's saying a lot. Have you heard Wilco's cover? Also lovely — and it's on my blog today.

The Idea Of Progress said...

I have an original pressing of #1 Record on my wall. I'm always happy to know someone else loves them as much as I do.

kissyface said...

dear Idea -

it's positively swoon-worthy.

i like your blog, what i've seen of it. especially the five songs.

also, the masthead photo - is that Chi-town? it looks an awful like my hometown, Portland, Oregon.