Big Star albums to be played live for autism benefit this weekend

Two seminal albums by revered Memphis rock band Big Star will be played in their entirety by an all-star assemblage of indie musicians Saturday at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre.

An annual benefit for the Autism Think Tank, the concert will be led by Jody Stephens, the only surviving member of the influential band, which he formed in the 1970s with Chris Bell, Andy Hummel and singer-songwriter Alex Chilton, who died in 2010.

Big Star’s lauded “Third/Sister Lovers” and #1 Record” albums will be played back to back by a group that also includes Big Star alum Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer (who went on to form the Posies in the ‘80s and ‘90s). Also on board are Aimee Mann, Pete Yorn, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills and members of the Bangles, the dB’s, Galaxie 500, Yo La Tengo and others.

They’ll be rounded out with a full string section to play orchestral arrangements from the “Third” album that were never performed live.

“In some ways, this rights a wrong that goes back four decades,” said Gary Stewart, co-founder of, co-presenter of the concert with the Wild Honey Foundation. “L.A. never had a chance to hear the original band play these hugely influential albums on tour, so this is the next best thing.


“What makes this special,” Stewart added in a statement, “is that all the people performing this music were either associated with, or influenced by, Big Star.” “It’s both a concert and a homecoming.”

The Wild Honey Foundation has staged several benefits over the years for Autism Think Tank, which helps people with autism and their families. Last year’s event paid tribute to the Beatles with back-to-back performances of the foursome’s “Revolver” and “Abbey Road” albums.

Tickets are $20 to $100 and are available with more information at the event’s official website here.

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