Chilton’s first post-Box Tops and pre-Big Star recordings.
In the latter months of 1969, somewhere between the moon landing and the start of the Vietnam draft, the concerts at Woodstock and Altamont, Alex Chilton decided to take back his life. During that annus mirabilis, while the world experienced a generationally sparked social, political, and cultural upheaval, the 18-year-old Chilton was in the midst of a revolution of his own. For the past year, Chilton had been strapped in a creative, professional, and personal straitjacket. He was the lead singer of a million-selling band, The Box Tops, but felt like little more than a puppet of the group’s producers. In the era of free love, he’d been pressured into a shotgun marriage and fatherhood. And he’d ultimately come to see himself as the pawn of an unscrupulous business machine, sent to grind it out on the road in a series of silly lip-synched TV performances and one-night stands while someone else cashed his checks. As he entered the studio that summer to make his first solo recordings, the man who would come to define the very spirit of musical independence was still bound in chains. At a time where liberation and self-expression were rallying cries, Alex Chilton was about to break free.