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Jody Stephens will take part in re-creation of BIG STAR THIRD at Baruch on March 26 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Baruch Performing Arts Center, Mason Hall
17 Lexington Ave. at 23rd St.
Saturday, March 26, $35-$100, 7:00

Big Star is one of those highly influential bands that the musical cognoscenti worships but most people don’t know too much about, except that the group’s “In the Streets” was the theme song for the popular sitcom That ’70s Show. Formed in 1971 in Memphis by guitarists Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, bassist Andy Hummel, and drummer Jody Stephens, Big Star released #1 Record in 1972 and Radio City in 1974 and went through several lineup changes before breaking up. Their third record, Third/Sister Lovers, was released four years later. Made primarily by Chilton and Stephens with numerous guest musicians, including singer Lesa Aldridge and producer Jim Dickinson, Third/Sister Lovers featured such songs as “You Can’t Have Me,” “Holocaust,” and “Kanga Roo.” There’s been renewed interest in Big Star since Chilton died last March of a heart attack at age fifty-nine, shortly before the band, which had re-formed in 1993 with Jon Auer on guitar and Ken Stringfellow on bass, was going to play SXSW in Austin. There’ve been a series of tribute shows since Chilton’s death, including “Channeling Chilton,” held in July at City Winery with such participants as Yo La Tengo, Marshall Crenshaw, Alan Vega, Jon Spencer, Chris Stamey, Evan Dando, Jesse Malin, and Ronnie Spector as well as Stephens, Auer, and members of Chilton’s earlier band, the Box Tops. On March 26 at Baruch College’s Mason Hall, another group of musicians will gather together to honor Big Star by playing Third/Sister Lovers in its entirety, in addition to other songs by Big Star, Chilton, and Bell, who died in a car accident in 1978. The impressive lineup includes Stephens, Stamey, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, Will Rigby, Charles Cleaver, Mitch Easter, Ira Kaplan, Tift Merritt, Matthew Sweet, M. Ward, Norman Blake, the Rosebuds, Fan Modine, and the twenty-piece Lost in the Trees Orchestra, with proceeds benefiting the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and El Sistema NYC. The show was previously performed in December 2010 and February 2011 in North Carolina and is being filmed as part of the documentary Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story.

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