After leaving influential ‘70s rock band, Big Star, Chris Bell attempted to embark on a solo career amidst dealing with a number of personal issues. While he recorded a number of tracks that would later appear on a posthumous album in 1992, I Am The Cosmos was his only single and was released in 1978 the same year as his death at the age of 27 from a car accident.
I Am The Cosmos is widely regarded as one of the greatest power-pop tracks of all time. It has Chris on vocals and features his former Big Star bandmate, Alex Chilton on guitar. Back up by another excellent Bell track, You and Your Sister, it was released by Car records on a black vinyl, wide-centred 7” with black and white labels. The picture sleeve was printed on thin paper with a blue and white design
Only recognised for its greatest in later years, the single went widely under the radar of collectors for a number of years and for a long time commanded little value. As time has gone on it has become a classic track part of the Big Star legacy, with copies regularly changing hands for between £250 and £300. It is the kind of thing you would pass by on racks as it doesn’t look like anything special, when in reality it is a hidden gem that shouldn’t be overlooked.
The single was reissued on Record Store Stay in 2018, with the audio remastered and the sleeve featuring extended liner notes by Car Records founder, Chris Stamey. This helped keep the legacy of alive of one of the greatest songwriters to never break into the mainstream
This article appeared in issue 32 of Long Live Vinyl magazine, available now, and you can find out more about this item here
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