The Replacements – Alex Chilton —-Powerpop Friday

The Replacement’s tribute song about Big Star and Box Tops lead singer, Alex Chilton. The song was off the album Please To Meet Me.

The Replacements recorded Pleased To Meet Me in Memphis at Ardent Studios, the same studio as Big Star. The man behind the board was Jim Dickinson, who produced the storied third   Big Star album. Alex came into the studio a few times while the Replacements were working on the record (and laid down a guitar fill for “Can’t Hardly Wait”), but the band avoided the awkwardness of playing “Alex Chilton” whenever Chilton was around.

From Songfacts

This song is a tribute to former Box Tops/Big Star member Alex Chilton, credited by many as being the founder of Power Pop. He has produced several songs for The Replacements. The song is not only a tribute, but a reminder of Alex Chilton’s relative obscurity, as emphasized in the ironically hyperbolic chorus: “And children by the million sing for Alex Chilton/When he comes ’round/They sing, “I’m in love/What’s that song?/Yeah, I’m in love, with that song.” 

 In a 2008 interview with, the Replacements singer and guitar Paul Westerberg, who co-wrote the song with bandmates Chris Mars and Tommy Stinson, said that he couldn’t remember if Chilton played on the track: “He was there. I mean, uh…well, s–t did he play on it… I don’t know if we had actually played with him earlier or not but I don’t think we had the ‘Alex Chilton’ song when we he did that ‘Can’t Hardly Wait,’ that early thing.”

In the same interview, Westerberg described the songwriting process: “it’s one of those where melody and chord changes were there and the lyrics changed over the course of six months or so. By the time we were down in Memphis we had already met Alex and I steered it toward him. Of course it was as the legend goes ‘George from Outer Space’ was the first working title, but that just didn’t grab it quite as well. I just thought it would be fun to write a song about a living person and we’ve been through this, Al and I, and I sort of regret the albatross that it’s came with… I was certainly trying to like, I guess, hip the outside world on who this guy might be publicly, but he didn’t need that. It would kind of hurt if he was always known as Alex Chilton of that song.”

In a 1987 interview with Buzz magazine, asked how he felt about the song, Alex Chilton said: “Uh well, I didn’t feel any way about it. I mean I’m so used to having these kind of fawning, imbecilic fans you know. To have it take on some coherence is refreshing.”

Alex Chilton

If he was from Venus, would he feed us with a spoon?
If he was from Mars, wouldn’t that be cool?
Standing right on campus, would he stamp us in a file?
Hangin’ down in Memphis all the while.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round
They sing “I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

Cerebral rape and pillage in a village of his choice.
Invisible man who can sing in a visible voice.
Feeling like a hundred bucks, exchanging good lucks face to face.
Checkin’ his stash by the trash at St. Mark’s place.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round
They sing “I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

I never travel far, without a little Big Star

Runnin’ ’round the house, Mickey Mouse and the Tarot cards.
Falling asleep with a flop pop video on.
If he was from Venus, would he meet us on the moon?
If he died in Memphis, then that’d be cool, babe.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round
They sing “I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

“I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

5 thoughts on “The Replacements – Alex Chilton —-Powerpop Friday”

  1. You know, that was both the only song I knew by the Replacements in the 80s (I saw their name everywhere but it was the only song that I heard played on radio) and the first time I’d heard of Alex Chilton… good song, cooler now that I’ve learned a bit about Chilton and Big Star


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