“Thirteen” – Big Star

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A sweet acoustic ballad that beautifully conveys the experience of love when you’re in middle school, you don’t have a license to drive, and your big social events with your significant other are walking each other home from school and going to the middle school dance. I don’t know how much of that has survived in these increasingly jaded times, but I feel sorry for anyone who leapfrogs over a stage like this.

This is an alternate version of the song that wound up on Big Star’s “#1 Record.” There’s some very nice and (I’m sure) extremely rare footage of Big Star in this clip. I know “Radio City” is the critic’s favorite in Big Star’s oeuvre, but I have to say I love “#1 Record” more. The song was recently heard on “That 70s Show” when it underscored the romance between Eric and Jackie.

“Try Again” – Big Star

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A lovely ballad from the early 1970s that blows Bread and other similar artists from the period out of the water. It boggles the mind why Big Star wasn’t one of the biggest bands of the era. Nearly every one of the songs from their first two albums could have been a Top 10 hit. The failure to break it big probably explains why their 3rd album (albeit great) is one of the most depressing, despairing things ever recorded.