Big Star, Ardent Music And Defining American Power-Pop : World Cafe Our "Sense of Place" spotlight on Memphis wouldn't be complete without visiting Ardent Studios, where the power-pop royalty in Big Star recorded three albums. We speak with the group's drummer, Jody Stephens, who still runs the studio.
NPR logo

Big Star And Ardent Music On World Cafe

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/169544033/169495227" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Big Star And Ardent Music On World Cafe

Big Star And Ardent Music On World Cafe

Big Star And Ardent Music On World Cafe

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/169544033/169495227" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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

toggle caption
Andy Modla

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

Andy Modla

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.