The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame did something right when it made Minneapolis, Minnesota’s The Replacements a 2014 nominee yesterday. Sure, other nominees, like Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt and Hall and Oates, have had more hits, but few rock bands over the past several decades have carried on the rock and roll spirit quite like The Replacements.
Band members were known to drink a bit before shows, which meant Replacements concerts could sometimes devolve into drunken chaos. However, when they were focused, which was probably about half of the time, nobody performed inspired rock and roll any better than The Replacements.
Paul Westerberg’s intelligent and vulnerable songwriting made The Replacements into something more than just a fantastic bar band. Heartfelt songs, like “Bastards of Young” and “Left of the Dial,” tapped into the emotions of fragile young souls with scary accuracy. Westerberg never sang these songs in a smooth crooner’s voice, but instead let his voice crack and waver, like a patient spilling his guts on an analyst’s couch.
These four young men may not have felt like they belonged in this world, back when they first started making records together, but their recorded legacy is solid evidence The Replacements now belong in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.