In the late '80s, the Replacements were just achin' to be on charts
"Prince was rumored to have lurked in the shadows at some of the Replacement shows at First Avenue, but it was the bathroom of a club in St. Paul where Paul Westerberg finally ran into him. 'Oh hey,' said Westerberg, seeing the dolled-up singer standing next to him at the urnial. 'What's up man?' Prince turned and responded in cryptic fashion: 'Life.' - excerpt from Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements by Bob Mehr.
While I don't often get the time to sit and read, I enjoy a good biography or oral history, especially on '80s music. In March, the Bob Mehr biography: Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements came out and the detail was beyond my dreams. Inspired by the stories in the book, this week of Lost and Found touches on the Replacements, their friends and rivals that were mentioned in the book starting with the band itself and their late '80s stab for a hit with Achin' To Be.
You may wonder how a band like The Replacements that had no Top 40 hits may merit 435 small type pages in a biography, three appearances on Dr. Dims' Never Found series and a feature on SIT80's Podcast Episode 324, but what separates The Replacements legend apart from other '80s bands was the stubborn self-sabotage the band inflicted on themselves and true stories of their train-wreck concerts.
In 1989, the Replacements tried to their best to produce a hit record. Hoping to change their fortunes, the band recorded at Prince's Paisley Park Studios where the hits were flowing freely. The band even started making videos in an effort to be a team player. The first single off their Don't Tell A Soul album was I'll Be You and it was a number one hit on the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock Charts but failed to make the Top 40. The next stab for fame was the wonderful Achin' To Be that charted on both of the aforementioned charts, but quickly discovered. When the band saw the swan dive of Achin' To Be, it was confirmation that they would never appease their record label with a hit record and a blow to the band's morale.
Hailed by critics as one of the best songwriters of his generation, Paul Westerberg, Achin' To Be was a song about his younger sister Mary and his observations of her as she emerged into Paul's world of music and the rock n roll nightlife of Minneapolis. It is Mary herself that appears in the video, first as a reflection in a car window and then running at the end.
The Replacements would put out only one more album with 1991's All Shook Down, but at that point it was mostly a Westerberg solo album as the band had disintegrated.