We've been awash in tributes to Alex Chilton since the Memphis music icon died last Wednesday, from Rep. Steve Cohen's surprisingly personal reminiscence on the floor of the House of Representatives to Paul Westerberg's wry nod in The New York Times. But one of the saddest and sweetest comes from Knoxville's John Davis, who as leader of power-pop mainstays Superdrag has a good claim on Chilton's legacy himself. Davis wrote a heartfelt eulogy for Magnet magazine ("I hope it was as joyful for Alex to play those sets as it was for the rest of us in the room to hear and see them"), and accompanied it with a new song: "Cerulean Blue (For Alex Chilton)," which you can currently download for free at Superdrag's website.
The song is in the darkened mode of the moody Big Star album Third/Sister Lovers, arguably Chilton's greatest work (i.e., I'll argue with anyone who disputes it). Davis' song is a chiming, echoing lament that sympathizes with Chilton's well-documented personal struggles ("I've been to hell enough to know how it feels") and celebrates what he left behind. As he wrote for Magnet, "A friend of mine said [the night Alex died] that she had always just thought of Alex Chilton "like a mountain, like he'd always be there." I replied, "The tunes are the mountain." And they'll always be here."