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The Big Star Quintet will come to the Codfish Hollow Barn near Maquoketa on July 15, 2024 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band's groundbreaking album. "^

Big Star Quintet is coming to the Codfish Hollow Barn near Maquoketa on July 15, 2024, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band’s breakthrough album, “Radio City.” The original band formed in Memphis in 1971. And with the only surviving member, drummer Jody Stephens, the lineup joining him on tour includes former Posies singer/guitarist Jon Auer, John Stirratt and Pat Sansone of Wilco, and Chris Stamey of the DBs. (Luis Troner)

“I never travel far without a little big star.”

The Replacements’ songwriter Paul Westerberg incorporated this phrase into the lyrics of “Alex Chilton” on the Minneapolis alternative rock/punk band’s 1987 album “Pleased to Meet Me.”

Westerberg paid tribute to Big Star frontman Alex Chilton when he created this under-the-radar gem bearing the late singer and songwriter’s name. However, Westerberg was just one of many artists who drew inspiration from the extraordinary cult band.

Cheap Trick, Guided By Voices and Wilco are just some of the well-known bands that were influenced by Big Star, which in turn was influenced by the melodies of the Beatles, the harmonies of the Byrds and the power of the Who.

When you go

What: Big Star Quintet

Where: Codfish Hollow Barn, 5013 288th Ave., Maquoketa

When: 8 p.m. Monday, July 15, 2024

Tickets: $55;

Volume online:

The Posies, a band as unknown as Big Star, were influenced by the Memphis band’s album “Radio City.” The groundbreaking Big Star album just turned 50 years old, and former Posies singer/guitarist Jon Auer is now part of the Big Star Quintet, which will play cuts from “Radio City” and other Big Star songs on Monday, July 15, 2024, at the Codfish Hollow Barn near Maquoketa.

Chilton, guitarist Chris Bell and bassist Andy Hummel have died. The only surviving Big Star member is drummer Jody Stephens, part of the quintet that also includes John Stirratt and Pat Sansone of Wilco and Chris Stamey of the DBs.

Auer was part of the former Big Star collaboration from 1993 to 2010 and remained close to Stephens.

“I’ve been friends with Jody Stephens for a long time,” Auer said in a call from Seattle. “I’ve been very fortunate to have been involved with him on several Big Star projects. Big Star is one of the greatest bands that never got the attention it deserves.”

Formed in Memphis in 1971, Big Star was not a commercial success story, but the group inspired many recording artists to become musicians such as the Velvet Underground. All three of the band’s albums from its first lineup in the ’70s – Radio City, 1972’s #1 Record and 1974’s Third/Sister Lovers – are included in Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of All Time.

Find new fans

Big Star is one of those rock rarities, a band that stopped while it was still on the rise.

“With the Internet, music fans have finally discovered Big Star,” said Auer. “It wasn’t so easy to find out about them before. You had to search for Big Star, but it was worth it.”

Auer only found out about Big Star when the Posies recorded their first album, “Failure,” in 1988.

“Some people who heard ‘Failure’ said, ‘You must be big fans of Big Star,'” Auer noted. “But I had never heard any Big Star songs at that point. Then I heard their songs and I was blown away. I couldn’t get enough of those songs.”

The Posies covered a number of Big Star songs and then became friends with Chilton and Stephens, and before they knew it, they were part of Big Star Volume 2.0.

Big Star and The Posies have a few things in common. Both groups made sophisticated and infectious power pop. Both are criminally underrated. The Posies split up in 2021, but left behind a whole host of well-crafted, catchy songs.

However, Big Star lives on 14 years after Chilton’s death.

“There are no songs like Big Star’s,” said Auer. “Big Star’s songs still sound fresh today.”

As with many major recording artists like Nirvana, Big Star’s heyday was relatively short. The group’s fun from the early to mid-’70s was marked by constant creativity.

“It’s incredible to look back at what Big Star has accomplished,” said Auer. “It’s so much fun to play the Big Star songs.”

Hats off to Auer and Co. for keeping the Big Star songs alive for a new generation of fans.

“I love it when people discover Big Star,” said Auer. “I know firsthand what it’s like to love music and then discover Big Star. There’s nothing better than Big Star.”

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