Replacements – I’ll Be You

This song was on their Don’t Tell A Soul album. The sound of this album turned a lot of the older fans off. In order to get more radio play the record company brought in Chris Lord-Alge to mix the album. The album had a lot of those eighties effects used to enhance the music. The result was pop sounding Replacements album.

This was the closest the Replacements came to having a “hit.” It peaked at #51 in the Billboard 100 and #1 on the Modern Rock Charts in 1989. The song did expand their audience with younger kids coming to see them without knowing their back catalog. This was an annoyance to some of the band members who some nights didn’t play I’ll Be You.

The line, “Left a rebel without a clue” was later borrowed by Tom Petty into his hit, “Into the Great Wide Open,” in 1991. The Replacements opened up for Petty in his 1989 tour with the Heartbreakers.

Below are two mixes. The one above the lyrics was the original one with the pop album mix. The top one came off a box set without the pop sheen of the original album.

I’ll Be You

If it’s a temporary lull
Why’m I bored right outta my skull?
Man, I’m dressin’ sharp an’ feelin’ dull

Lonely, I guess that’s where I’m from
If I was from Canada
Then I’d best be called lonesome
And if it’s just a game
Then I’ll break down just in case
Oh yeah, we’re runnin’ in our last race

Well, I laughed half the way to Tokyo
I dreamt I was Surfer Joe
An’ what that means, I don’t know

A dream too tired to come true
Left a rebel without a clue
And I’m searching for somethin’ to do

And if it’s just a game
Then we’ll hold hands just the same
So what, we’re bleeding but we ain’t cut

And I could purge my soul perhaps
For the imminent collapse
Oh yeah, I’ll tell you what we could do
You be me for a while
I’ll be you

A dream too tired to get to
Left a rebel without a clue
Won’t you tell me what I should do?

Oh if it’s just a lull
Why’m I bored right outta my skull?
Oh yeah, keep me from feeling so dull

And if it’s just a game
Then we’ll break down just in case
Then again, I’ll tell you what we could do
You be me for a while
You be me for a while
And I’ll be you

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

17 thoughts on “Replacements – I’ll Be You”

  1. Wonder what those young kids thought about seeing this band live back then who just discovered them via this song. I need to check these guys out Max at some point.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They were not this pop…they were a rock and roll band…close to the Stones. They are worth a look. His writing is something else.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. yay for the shoutout to Canada! Odd, I don’t think I’ve ever heard this one even if it is the closest they came to a conventional hit and it did have the ref to my homeland. I heard the occasional song by them in the latter-’80s but only one that I heard enough to come to know was “Alex Chilton”. I guess it was still back when there were minor regional differences in radio play…not like now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems their comparison was REM at the time…they played the same circuit and were played on the same radio stations until REM hit…which could have been them if they would have played the game just a little.


    1. I love it…I agree this one is great…I’m happy it made the charts for them. The tour with Petty probably helped also.
      I do like Talent Show…it’s my second favorite off of this album.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You will notice it on the next song…this one you can’t tell as much…it’s a little rawer. The next one you can tell…plus a hilarious live performance they did on tv and were told not to sing a line…they did…

      Liked by 1 person

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