|Song by Big Star|
|from the album #1 Record|
"Thirteen" is a song by the American rock band Big Star. Rolling Stone describes it "one of rock's most beautiful celebrations of adolescence", and rated it #406 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.It was written by Alex Chilton and Chris Bell.
Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom writes in his AllMusic review of the song, "There are few songs that capture the aching innocence of adolescence as well" and calls it a "perfect melancholy ballad".The song encompasses folk and pop characteristics with its use of simple lyrics and the acoustic guitar.
The song was originally featured on the 1972 album #1 Record . It was released as a single by Big Star with “Watch the Sunrise” as the B-Side, on Ardent Records, but was mislabeled as “Don’t Lie to Me”.
"Thirteen" was featured in the finale of That '70s Show . The song was covered by Grace VanderWaal and Graham Verchere in the 2020 movie Stargirl on Disney+ with a Grace Vanderwaal only performance appearing as a bonus on the soundtrack.
"Thirteen" has been covered by several notable musicians. They include:
|Beach Slang||Quiet Slang|
|Evan Dando||Live at the Brattle Theatre|
|Daryll-Ann||Stay single (B side)|
|Epic Soundtracks||Change My Life|
|Garbage||Version 2.0 (Japanese edition), "Push It" single|
|Albert Hammond Jr.||Cool For School: For the Benefit of The Lunchbox Fund|
|Happy Flowers||Lasterday I Was Been Bad|
|Håkan Hellström||Nåt gammalt, nåt nytt, nåt lånat, nåt blått|
|Katell Keineg||At The Mermaid Parade|
|Kind of Like Spitting||The Thrill of the Hunt|
|Mary Lou Lord||Live City Sounds|
|The Menzingers||Covers EP|
|Obadiah Parker||The Tip Jar|
|Elliott Smith||New Moon|
|Wilco||Big Star, Small World|
|Textor & Renz||The Days of Never Coming Back and Never Getting Nowhere|
|Yeah Yeah Yeahs||Spotify Singles (Recorded At Spotify Studios at NYC)|
|Joshua Radin||10 Years of Mom+Pop (Label Compilation)|
|Grace VanderWaal||Stargirl Soundtrack|
|Bedouine, Waxahatchee, Hurray for the Riff Raff||Thirteen (single)|
When asked if there was a Big Star cover he was especially fond of, lead singer Alex Chilton mentioned Garbage's version of this song.
Big Star was an American rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1971 by Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel. The group broke up in early 1975, and reorganized with a new lineup 18 years later following a reunion concert at the University of Missouri. In its first era, the band's musical style drew on the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Byrds. Big Star produced a style that foreshadowed the alternative rock of the 1980s and 1990s. Before they broke up, Big Star created a "seminal body of work that never stopped inspiring succeeding generations", in the words of Rolling Stone, as the "quintessential American power pop band", and "one of the most mythic and influential cult acts in all of rock & roll". Big Star's first album—1972's #1 Record—was met by enthusiastic reviews, but ineffective marketing by Stax Records, and limited distribution stunted its commercial success. Frustration took its toll on band relations: Bell left not long after the first record's commercial progress stalled, and Hummel left to finish his college education after a second album, Radio City, was completed in December 1973. Like #1 Record, Radio City received excellent reviews, but label issues again thwarted sales—Columbia Records, which had assumed control of the Stax catalog, likewise effectively vetoed its distribution.
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