On the opening day of South by Southwest (SXSW), San Diego artist Steve Poltz dropped the following tweet: S---! Music legend Alex Chilton dies, age 59.
Poltz followed his tweet with lyrics from the Replacements' song "Alex Chilton":
"Children by the million/Sing for Alex Chilton/When he comes ’round/They sing, I’m in love/What’s that song?/I’m in love with that song."
Poltz, who is one of many San Diego-based artists performing at SXSW, shared the news that would become the main topic of discussion at the music festival's opening night: "RIP, Alex Chilton, the Memphis master of power-pop."
Chilton was scheduled to appear at SXSW this Saturday with his legendary Memphis band, Big Star. He died of a heart attack on Wednesday while mowing his lawn. His death was confirmed by band mate Jody Stephens. The tragic news of his death sent shock waves through the SXSW indie rock crowd. Best known for his work with the Box Tops ("The Letter"), Big Star and as a producer of the Cramps, Chilton influenced the likes of Jeff Buckley, R.E.M., Ryan Adams, Elliott Smith and the Replacements.
"I'm absolutely devastated," San Francisco music blogger Michael Richards said at SXSW. "We lost a legend. I couldn't wait to see him perform [with Big Star], and now I will never have that opportunity."