The Making of #1 RECORD by Big Star – featuring Jody Stephens, Terry Manning, Holly George-Warren and Rich Tupica

For the 50th anniversary of Big Star’s iconic debut, #1 RECORD, we take a detailed look at how it was made. After Chris Bell, Andy Hummel and Jody Stephens had taken recording classes from Ardent Studios owner, John Fry, they began to learn the art of recording. John Fry generously allowed them to use the studio during the night as they recorded under the names, Icewater and Rock City. Meanwhile, Alex Chilton had quit the Box Tops and was living in New York City before deciding to return to his hometown of Memphis. Chris Bell invited him to join the band as they began recording what would become #1 RECORD.
In this episode, Big Star drummer, Jody Stephens describes being a teenager caught under the spell of his bandmates’ talents and the creative environment of Ardent Studios. Engineer/keyboardist, Terry Manning, reflects on his close friendships with Chris Bell, Alex Chilton and the Big Star clique, and his contributions to #1 RECORD. Holly George-Warren, author of A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, from Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man, discusses Alex Chilton’s unlikely journey of being the 16-year-old lead singer of a hit group to learning to be a songwriter and an independent person. Rich Tupica, author of There Was a Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell and the Rise of Big Star, describes Chris Bell’s sonic vision for #1 RECORD as well as his deterioration in the aftermath of the failure of its release. From wanting to be the Memphis Beatles to endless hours of recording through the night to bringing motorcycles into the studio to Alex discovering a new voice to the Bell/Chilton collaboration and rivalry to the distribution disaster, we’ll hear the stories of how the album came together.