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Chris Bell

Chris Bell, died December 27, 1978, age 27

 Singer, guitar player, with Big Star; from Memphis. Chris Bell went to high school with Alex Chilton in Memphis but they didn't play in a band together until after Chilton scored a handful of top forty hits with the Box Tops. Together, as Big Star, they wrote most of the material for 1972's debut #1 Record, to this day a major influence -- along with the work of the Raspberries, Todd Rundgren's Nazz, and others -- on what would come to be called power pop: sweetness- and-light melodies offset by crunching electric guitar chords and a sour view of life, now a staple of the pop lexicon. Bell left soon after to pursue a solo career and spent some time in Europe, where he recorded a very fine album, I Am the Cosmos, that was not released until 1992. Late in 1978, back in Memphis again, Bell drove his car into a telephone pole on his way home one night and died instantly.

From The Death of Rock 'n' Roll: Untimely Demises, Morbid Preoccupations, and Premature Forecasts of Doom in Pop Music by Jeff Pike (Faber & Faber).
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