hep cat. n. Slang.
1. A stylish or fashionable person in she sphere of jazz.
2. A person who is hep; hipster.
HepRespect Artist Profile
Like so many other brilliant musicians, Memphis born singer/songwriter Christopher Branford had musical talents that were not fully recognized until after his death. Even now, his popularity extends primarily to ultra-hip indie music lovers, and many of his tracks have less than 6,000 hits on YouTube.
Branford, more commonly known as Chris Bell, spent several years in the late 1960s and early 70s playing in British Invasion inspired local bands. During his time playing in a band called Icewater and Rock City, he met his musical counterpart, Alex Chilton, and formed a group called Big Star. The group was comprised of Branford, Chilton, Andy Drummel, and Jody Stephens, and released two albums: #1 Album in 1972 and Radio City in 1974.
Having struggled with heroin addiction, repressed homosexuality, and a conflicting Christian faith, he left the band several times to focus on solo work.
After dying in a car accident in December of 1978, he became popular among musicians through word of mouth. Several artists, including R.E.M., Ian Moore, Teenage Fanclub and The Replacements have listed him as an influence. His songs have also been reproduced by Mortal Coil, The Flaming Lips, and Cheap Trick, whose cover of “In the Street” was decidedly representative of the 1970s era, and used as the theme song for “That 70s Show.”
Christopher Branford, a musical genius with a tragic tale, is definitely deserving of hepcat respect.
HepRespect Playlist of the Week
“Gronlandic Edit” – Of Montreal
“Nic Cave “- Wu Lyf
“TNT” – Tortoise
“Riot Rhythm” – Sleigh Bells
“Buttons” – The Weeks