"Alex Chilton - One of the most distintive voices in pop music. He sounds rough and gravelly most of the time, but when he sings a ballad he reveals an unexpected tenderness and sensitivity. He has the mischievous and subtle charm of a young tiger who still doesn't realize his full strength" - from the sleeve of Stiff's 1978 reissue of The Letter.
The Letter b/w Choo Choo Train (1974, Bell Records - France)
Tomorrow is the first anniversary of Alex Chilton's passing. This post is in tribute to the singer of one of my all-time favourite songs - The Letter by The Box Tops. It's 1 minute 53 seconds of greatness and still sounds absolutely amazing. I never tire of this track no matter how often I play it. My own copy of this 7'' is a 1974 French pressing of The Letter backed with the band's fourth single Choo Choo Train in a beautiful picture sleeve with the band standing on some train tracks literally waiting for "a fast train".
The Letter was written by Wayne Carson Thompson and was a worldwide hit in 1967 selling over four million copies. It was No. 1 for four weeks in the U.S. and reached No. 11 in Ireland. Thompson also wrote the band's second single, Neon Rainbow but he is probably best known for co-writing, alongside Mark James and Johnny Christopher, Always on My Mind. Below you can see some other picture sleeves of The Letter from different countries.
The Letter b/w Cry Like a Baby (1978, Stiff Records - UK)
Reverse of the the Stiff reissue
The Letter b/w Happy Times (Italy)
The Letter b/w Happy Times (France)
The Letter b/w Happy Times (Japan)
The Letter b/w Happy Times (Germany)
The Letter b/w Happy Times (Sweden)