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Chris Bell was an immensely gifted songwriter, performer and producer. As a founding member of Big Star and as a solo artist he struggled to have his songs heard. Sadly, the Memphis-born artist did not live long enough to see the enormous impact his music - both with Big Star and as a solo artist - would have on future generations.
The beginnings of I Am The Cosmos can be traced back to 1972, when Bell left Big Star, the seminal power-pop outfit he helped found. After helping Big Star write and record a few songs for Radio City, the band's follow-up, Bell left for France in 1974. While there, he recorded several demos at Hérouville Studios for a planned solo album. Following the sessions, Bell and his brother David took the tracks to a London studio owned by the Beatles' producer George Martin, where they mixed the songs with Geoff Emerick, who engineered several of the Beatles' albums.
The songs were shelved and Bell returned home to Memphis, where he recorded more songs with a revolving cast of Memphis musicians. In 1978, Car Records released a single featuring Bell's "I Am The Cosmos" b/w "You And Your Sister." Encouraged by the positive reaction to the single, Bell was planning a return to music when he was killed in a car accident in 1978, two days after Christmas. His music remained unreleased until 1992, when several of his demos were released posthumously as I Am The Cosmos.
The 12 tracks highlight Bell's ethereal vocals, his uncanny sense of song structure and insightful, melancholy lyrics, all of which illuminate his often-overlooked contribution to Big Star. I Am The Cosmos is a haunting pop masterpiece ripe for discovery.