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Big Star And Ardent Music On World Cafe

Big Star's members pose in front of their barn.
Andy Modla
Big Star's members pose in front of their barn.

Our "Sense of Place" visit to Memphis, Tenn., moves away from soul music to the place where some of the seminal American power-pop records were created. Ardent Studios is where the Memphis band Big Star made three albums that helped define the genre.

Here, we talk with Jody Stephens, Ardent manager and drummer for Big Star, about recording with his now-deceased bandmates Alex Chilton, Chris Bell and Andy Hummel. Stephens also praises Ardent owner John Fry, who started engineering at 14, for helping to forge Big Star's sound. The group inspired many other bands to record at Ardent, including R.E.M. and The Replacements.

Listen to World Cafe's Ardent Music playlist on Spotify.

Copyright 2020 XPN. To see more, visit XPN.

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe ® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.
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  • The popular Memphis rock band is featured in this installment of "Sense of Place." Listen to a stripped-down set from Lucero, recorded live at Ardent Recording Studios.
  • For World Cafe's "Sense of Place" spotlight on Memphis, Tenn., hear an interview with Sun Studio founder Sam Phillips. Here, the legendary producer discusses the studio's early days and his relationship with Elvis Presley.