1984: “Let It Be” – The Replacements


I think my favourite song of 1984 when it was 1984 was “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. I didn’t  hear “Like A Virgin” by Madonna until the end of the year and the album would then pretty much rule my ears for most of the following year. I was definitely becoming more aware of music actually being released by now and I remember looking at record sleeves in shops whether we were in there for music buying or not. A trip to the defunct chain Woolworths that year resulted in the Father’s day present of “Born In The U.S.A” for my dad. On vinyl of course. Back before people said “on vinyl” and just said “records”.

This point in time really sticks in my mind as a time when music became less incidental and more something I actively sought out to listen to. I mentioned in the introductory post that there were regular record listening sessions of an evening with my parents, and they must have started to mean something to me around this year because listening to “Born In The U.S.A” in the living room really sticks vividly in my memory. Alongside the ’82 compilation album “The John Lennon Collection”, my mum’s Paul Simon albums (including “Graceland” when that came along.)

My taste wasn’t quite developed enough however to know anything about the album which I now consider to be the best album of 1984. I mentioned the replacements a couple of posts back and how I first discovered them by reading about them in “Our Band Could Be Your Life”. Like so many bands that are highly acclaimed, I had heard of them but never heard them. Reading about them made me think that they would be the kind of band who would be right up my street. I was correct. I started with “Let It Be” and never looked back.

I was surprised that I didn’t actually recognise any of the songs on it, with it being so highly regarded but I think that’s just because they were far more known in America than here in the U.K. I was a fan straight away though. Even the songs that on first listen sounded like throwaway muck arounds like ” Gary’s Got A Boner” and “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out”, I soon stopped thinking of that way.

They had just the right blend of shambolic raucousness and well organised well written songs. Stylistically it’s a bit all over the place and nowadays bands get slagged off for that because critics say it means they “can’t decide on their sound”. But although there’s loads of different song types it doesn’t sound confused. I have almost as much love for the 2 albums which followed ,”Tim” and “Pleased To Meet Me” but this one has got to be the gold standard.

It’s up there in my top ten albums ever made list. “Seen Your Video”, the best almost instrumental ever written makes me want to live permanently in 1984. When “Unsatisfied” kicks in it makes all of my internal organs go “Yes!” “Androgynous”, “I Will Dare” and “Answering Machine” are all stone cold classics

Im going to include “Unsatisfied ” for the playlist but to be honest it could be nearly every track.


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