Revered as a god by countless bands whose guitars go jingle jangle, Alex Chilton is the daddy of the wave of Beatles-inspired pop rock that swamped American radio from the mid-1980s into the '90s. The ins and outs of his career have left him branded as something of an anarchist, but his ability to write great songs is incontestable, and almost everything in his catalogue is worth having and listening to until it's worn out. If you get Chilton's '60s stuff, expect candy-sweet Blue-Eyed Soul suitable for the "Oldies but Goodies" bin. If you're listening to his '70s stuff with Big Star, expect nothing less than perfect, Beatles-esque harmonies and ringing guitars. If you get his solo stuff, well, it gets a little tricky. During some overly examined periods of personal upheaval, Chilton's music was erratic and shambling, exhibiting that aforementioned anarchistic streak. Now that he's kind of got it together, his songs are more focused and don't usually end in a fistfight. They jump across styles, including '50s hot rod rock, jazzy pop, and a slightly twisted vision of country. Regardless of what period you catch him in, Alex Chilton is one of the essential artists of the past thirty years.