Chris Bell, "I Am the Cosmos (Deluxe Edition)"

Album Review
4.5

"Children by the millions/Worship Alex Chilton," so goes the Replacements song, but only thousands know about Chris Bell, his bandmate in Big Star's first incarnation. Bell helped shape Big Star's take on British Invasion rock, then left after its first album to tackle personal demons and record as a solo artist. (He died in a car accident in 1978.) During the '80s and '90s, as Big Star gained critical respect as one of the greatest bands that never had a hit, Bell finally got props as its studio craftsman, the underappreciated artist in an underdog band. And his legend grows still. The album "I Am the Cosmos" wasn't released until 1992. Now, to mark the long-awaited release of its Big Star boxed set, Rhino is releasing a deluxe version with a second disc of early work and alternate versions. Almost all of it lives up to the legend.-Robert L evine