Big Star – Thirteen

Big Star was the best band never heard. Not a bad song on the first album. The song was originally featured on the 1972 album #1 Record. It was released as a single by Big Star with “Watch The Sunrise” as the B-Side, on Ardent Records, but was mislabeled as “Don’t Lie To Me”. Chris Bell and Alex Chilton were the two main songwriters.

Bell and Chilton wanted to emulate the Lennon/McCartney formula as much as they could, so they shared credit on many of the songs on #1 Record even though there was, in fact, little writing collaboration between the two. “Thirteen,” was entirely Chilton’s creation

Alex Chilton said about this song: “I don’t know where it came from but I made up this wild bit of guitar in 15 minutes. You don’t hear many 20-year-olds doing that.”

From Songfacts

Frontman Alex Chilton wrote this acoustic ballad about two kids in love with Rock & Roll and each other. He explained to Rolling Stone that it’s simple musically as “I was still learning to play and stuff.”

The couplet “Won’t you tell your dad to get off my back/Tell him what we said about ‘Paint It Black,'” refers to the Rolling Stones song “of that title.”

This was ranked #396 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs. They described it as, “one of rock’s most beautiful celebrations of adolescence.”

Artists who have covered this include Evan Dando, Garbage, Elliot Smith, Wilco and Kathryn Williams.


Won’t you let me walk you home from school
Won’t you let me meet you at the pool
Maybe Friday I can
Get tickets for the dance
And I’ll take you

Won’t you tell your dad, get off my back
Tell him what we said ’bout ‘Paint It Black’
Rock ‘n Roll is here to stay
Come inside where it’s okay
And I’ll shake you

Won’t you tell me what you’re thinking of
Would you be an outlaw for my love
If it’s so, well, let me know
If it’s no, well, I can go
I won’t make you

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

13 thoughts on “Big Star – Thirteen”

    1. I would love it because it would give them attention but I doubt it’s well known enough for them to include it.


    1. The documentary about them is great… one guy said…they were like a letter mailed in 1972 and not arriving until 1985…that is when people started to notice them.
      Thats a fair statement.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I can’t recommend enough the amazing live tribute CD/DVD fro 2017, Thank You Friends. Recorded at a concert in LA with and incredible all-star ensemble, half the show was the entirety of Big Star’s Third, and half was a best of the first two Big Star albums. Thirteen is performed by NC singer/songwriter Skylar Gudasz and her version is stunning.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know….That is the pity of it… Great band… The one song you know by them…no two songs. The theme to That 70s show is their song….and September Gurls you may know because the Bangles covered it

      Liked by 1 person

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