An important but little-heard branch of the Big Star family tree, Rock City was a short-lived pop/rock band from Memphis, TN, that featured Chris Bell and Jody Stephens shortly before they teamed up with Alex Chilton. Primarily a studio project, Rock City was the brainchild of Bell and fellow Memphis pop obsessive Thomas Dean Eubanks, who wrote the lion's share of the group's material. Since both Bell and the group's keyboard player, Terry Manning, were engineers at Ardent Studios, Rock City was in the enviable position of being able to record an album in a top-flight facility without the support of a record contract, and the group completed an 11-song set between 1969 and 1970. However, Rock City was unable to secure a release for the album, despite the strength of the material, and when former Box Tops singer Alex Chilton (who was a longtime friend of Bell) expressed his enthusiasm for the material, Bell and Stephens parted ways with Eubanks, and after a short spell recording with Manning as Icewater, the pair teamed up with Chilton and Big Star was born. Rock City's album was lost in a tape storage facility shortly after that, but it was eventually discovered years later and received a belated release in 2003. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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