Sunday, June 08, 2008

Lesa Aldredge, 1973

I was reading today about the creation of Big Star 3, aka Third, aka Sister Lovers, aka St. John Beale, aka The Most Depressing Record Ever Made Except For Billie Holiday's Lady In Satin. In addition to the complete craziness and dissipation that went into this masterpiece, the common thread seemed to be Alex Chilton's completely dysfunctional love/hate relationship with one Lesa Aldredge.

Lesa has always been kind of a mystery woman to those of us outside the mid-70s Memphis music scene. She sings the French part on Third's cover of the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" and also covers the Velvets' "That's The Story of My Life" on the It Came From Memphis anthology. But the book I was reading today, Rob Jovanovic's Big Star: The Short Life, Painful Death, and Unexpected Resurrection of the Kings of Power Pop, is a prepublication reader's copy with few pictures in it. And I wanted to see what this woman who was able to live (more or less) with Chilton during his most depressed and debased years looked like in the flesh.

So thanks to Smithsonian (by way of Google Images) for this beautiful picture by her famous second cousin, William Eggleston. I think I see what all the fuss was about now.

Oh, and guess what? Apparently, taking a break from teaching high school English in Nashville, last year Lesa participated in a reunion of her late-70s all-woman punk band, The Klitz. That's German for "pistol", in case you were wondering.

Update: The Klitz have a MySpace page, too!


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