MY 33 FAVORITE RECORDING ARTISTS–#25 THE REPLACEMENTS

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In the countdown of My 33 Favorite Recording Artists- #25 is The Replacements. I was kind of late to the game concerning The Replacements- I discovered them on album #5 [out of the 7 they would eventually release} Pleased To Meet Me in 1987. Better late than never. I saw them the next year in concert and it remains one of my favorite concerts ever. I would see them again a few years later- right before they broke up- and although a friend still raves about how good the concert was- they weren’t cooking like they were the first time. A few years ago on their reunion tour they quit the day before they came to town so I missed out on that. Anyway-

The key to The Replacements to my ears was the great songwriting of Paul Westerberg but this group wasn’t like say Creedence Clearwater Revival where one man dominated- The Replacements also had the Stinson brothers Bob and Tommy- Bob the lead guitarist and Tommy who was in his teens when he joined the band- the bass player. Chris Mars was their drummer most of the way. Bob Stinson was fired from the band in 1986 and was replaced by Slim Dunlap. Stinson battled alcohol and drug abuse and died in 1995 at the age of 35. The Replacements as a live band were all over the place as a live act- often fueled by too much alcohol they were awful- other nights brilliant.

The Replacements came and went in a decade- their first album was released in 1981 and their 7th and final album was in 1990. They were alternative rock pioneers who never hit it big big- I’d take them over say Nirvana any day of the week. They had the greater songs- but in playing the role of pioneer sometimes you get overlooked [ The Velvet Underground} when it comes to commercial success. Their top charting album peaked at #57 and while the song paying homage to their hero Alex Chilton called Alex Chilton was probably their most known song it was never a hit single.

The groups that influenced The Replacements- Big Star, The Beatles, The Ramones, The Faces, Badfinger, The Clash, The Jam-  a rock who’s who. They would themselves go on to influence a generation of alternative rock bands. Is it just a coincidence that a song from Pleased To Meet Me- Never Mind was also the name of Nirvana’s most famous/greatest album?

The Replacements came out of Minneapolis/ St. Paul- 2 of my favorite 80’s American bands came out of this area- Husker Du being the other. The Replacements really hit their stride with their 3rd album- Let It Be… in fact The Replacements Let It Be is better than The Beatles Let It Be [it is a totally different album-not a cover of Beatles songs] Songs like I Will Dare, Unsatisfied, Androgynous, Answering Machine-Paul Westerberg was coming into his own as a songwriter the band had really matured- and it only got better on their next album Tim. Tim might be their best album- although Pleased To Meet Me is my favorite. Tim had such great songs as- well every song on it is fantastic. Brilliant album.

The final two albums “Don’t Tell A Soul” and “All Shook Down” are filled with great songs but at this point the albums were starting to sound like Paul Westerberg albums not Replacements albums. They are pretty good albums though.  I’ll Be You did flirt with with the Top 40- peaking at #51 as a single. It got a lot of MTV airplay.

The band broke up in 1991- their last concert was on a July 4th in Grant Park, Chicago. A few years ago they got back together – was touring and then Paul pulled the plug on it.

The three albums by The Replacements I would recommend if you aren’t all that familiar with the band- their 3rd- 4th and 5th albums- Let It Be- Tim and Pleased To Meet Me. If you like them as much as I do you will want them all. Their is a 2 disc All For Nothing/ Nothign For All which contains 34 songs on it.

FAVORITE SONGS BY THE REPLACEMENTS

  • COLOR ME IMPRESSED
  • WITHIN YOUR REACH
  • I WILL DARE
  • FAVORITE THING
  • WE’RE COMING OUT
  • UNSATISFIED
  • ANSWERING MACHINE
  • HOLD MY LIFE
  • I’LL BUY
  • WAITRESS IN THE SKY
  • SWINGIN’ PARTY
  • BASTARDS OF YOUNG
  • LEFT OF THE DIAL
  • LITTLE MASCARA
  • I.O.U.
  • ALEX CHILTON
  • I DON’T KNOW
  • NEVER MIND
  • VALENTINE
  • SKY WAY
  • CAN’T HARDLY WAIT
  • ACHIN’ TO BE
  • I’LL BE YOU
  • NOBODY
  • WHEN IT BEGAN

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7 responses to “MY 33 FAVORITE RECORDING ARTISTS–#25 THE REPLACEMENTS

    • It’s funny looking over my list- since I’ve loved most of these bands/artists for decades- I tend to forget that some are not mainstream artists. The Replacements certainly would fall into that category- they never had a hit or a hit album. I can’t think of any of their songs that were covered by other artists who were big time- on his last couple albums Glen Campbell did cover a few Paul Westerberg written songs.

  1. Love the Replacements – Can’t Hardly Wait one of my favorite all time songs. I saw video once of Paul Westerberg during a solo tour where it was just him and his electric guitar playing both his own and Replacements songs – it was pretty cool.

    • Can’t Hardly Wait is up there with me too- I love playing Skyway-and Can’t Hardly Wait back to back- [as it was on the album of course} but the songs always to me seemed to go together.

  2. I just listened to Let it Be the other day. There’s so much of their work I haven’t heard. They used to play around the area where I grew up, but I was a bit too young for club gigs in the 80’s.

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