TVD Radar: There Was
a Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell & the Rise of Big Star
in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | There Was a Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell & the Rise of Big Star, the captivating new oral history by Michigan-based author Rich Tupica, hit stores earlier this year via HoZac Books and quickly garnered praise for its in-depth research and insight on the legendary Memphis-based rock band Big Star, a group described by Rolling Stone magazine as “one of the most mythic and influential cult acts in all of rock & roll.”

The Chicago Tribune says: “Rich Tupica sets the record straight … The 400-page oral history covers everything from Bell’s beginnings in the Memphis garage-rock scene of the ’60s to the completion of what would be his posthumously released solo debut, the brilliant I Am the Cosmos.” Meanwhile, acclaimed Memphis-based author, journalist and filmmaker Robert Gordon says: “Rich Tupica gets into Chris Bell’s cosmos through the people who occupy it. These voices take us way deep—specifically into Memphis music of the 1960s and ’70s, but also more universally to creative scenes, how the webs are woven and what tears them apart. Many of these witnesses have passed away, but Rich’s book preserves their voices, the complexities, and the excitement.”

From Big Star’s masterful 1972 debut, #1 Record LP (Ardent/Stax) to the band’s still growing cult fandom, there’s no doubt a lot to talk about. With the band’s co-founder—the late Chris Bell—at the center of the story, There Was a Light contains both new and archival interviews with all members of Big Star, including Bell and the band’s iconic co-founder Alex Chilton, bassist Andy Hummel, and drummer Jody Stephens. The book also mines stories from dozens of people closest to the band: from friends and exes to roadies and co-workers.

Today, just over 40-years after Bell’s puzzling death on a Memphis street, this book digs deeper than ever before into the “27 Club” member’s tumultuous life and details how he posthumously became a vital alt-rock influence, inspiring the likes of Beck, the Replacements, Wilco and R.E.M., to only name a few. It chronologically lays out Bell’s journey from a Beatles-loving fast-food employee, to his time recording at Ardent Studios in Memphis and AIR Studios in London, to his status as an architect of indie rock.

This tragic, yet inspiring tale recounts not only Bell’s struggle to “make it” as a rock star, but also his lingering battle with personal demons and clinical depression. There Was a Light details the pop-culture phenomenon that made Big Star legends and reminisces how its staunch fan base saved the band from obscurity.

Also now available are a series of reissues from Omnivore Recordings, who recently have re-mastered and re-issued much of Chris Bell’s solo catalog, including the I Am the Cosmos LP and a massive six-LP box set, The Complete Chris Bell.

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text