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A Man Called Destruction

October 20, 2014
Holly George-Warren
Viking
This magazine has done more than most to catalogue the twists and turns of Alex Chilton’s musical career (sic).  This new book fills in some of the backstory, from his troubled early family life, through teen successs with The Box Tops, cult appeal with Big Star and and a sporadically-flourishing off/on solo career.. Similar ground has been covered previously by Rob Jovanovic and Bruce Eaton but Holly George-Warren has talked to musicians, friends and family members previously  overlooked: at last Lesa Aldridge gives her perspective on the recording of Sister Lovers. Holly has the advantage of having worked with Alex as a musician and having interviewed him several times over 12 years. She is good at highlighting key events in Alex’s life – for example the early death of his brother – and suggesting how they might have influenced his behaviour, which in the absence of such knowledge has seemed inexplicable. Photographs are used sparingly but are mostly unseen. …Destruction is set at a good pace: enough detail is included to satisfy the committed Chilton fan but the story moves fast enough for the more casual reader. Holly has a style that is commendably unflowery but there  are a couple of typos which fractionally reduce the authority of this book. Nevertheless with Alex no longer around to give us his version of events this book is looking like the definitive account of a fascinating but flawed musician whose music continues to resonate today.
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