Replacements – Left Of The Dial ….80’s Underground Mondays

This is a perfect song to remember alternative radio with today. This  is Paul Westerberg’s tribute to college radio in the 1980s. Of all the bands I’ve covered on Mondays…this band is my favorite of them all. They were more straight rock and roll with some quirks thrown in for good measure.

Left of the Dial celebrates the spirit of the eighties American indie rock scene and was a tribute to the tiny watt college stations populating the far end of the FM radio band—many let the Replacements crash after shows at campuses. Westerberg had said that is where they got most of their airtime…“We ended up going to college in an odd kind of way.”

The song is also about Westerberg’s infatuation with Lynn Blakey, singer-guitarist for North Carolina’s Let’s Active. They’d met when the bands shared a bill at San Francisco’s I-Beam in the fall of 1983. “He followed me around and bummed cigarettes off me,” recalled Blakey. The following night, after a show in Berkeley, the two spent hours walking together. They would exchange calls and letters as Blakey moved to Athens, Georgia, where she joined Michael Stipe’s sister Lynda in the band Oh-OK.

Artist: Lynn Blakey | SecondHandSongs

“I figured the only way I’d hear her voice was with her band on the radio . . . on a college station,” said Westerberg. “And one night we were passing through a town somewhere, and she was doing an interview on the radio. I heard her voice for the first time in six months for about a minute. Then the station faded out.” The moment provided the song’s lyric “If I don’t see ya, in a long, long while / I’ll try to find you / Left of the dial.”

The song was on the album Tim and it was released in 1985.

Left of the Dial

Read about your band in some local page
Didn’t mention your name, didn’t mention your name
The sweet Georgia breezes, safe, cool and warm
I headed up north, you headed north

On and on and on and on
What side are you on?
On and on and on and on
What side are you on?

Weary voice that’s laughin’, on the radio once
We sounded drunk, never made it on
Passin’ through and it’s late, the station started to fade
Picked another one up in the very next state

On and on and on and on
What side are you on?
On and on and on and on and

Pretty girl keep growin’ up, playin’ make-up, wearin’ guitar
Growin’ old in a bar, ya grow old in a bar
Headed out to San Francisco, definitely not L.A.
Didn’t mention your name, didn’t mention your name

And if I don’t see ya, in a long, long while
I’ll try to find you
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

23 thoughts on “Replacements – Left Of The Dial ….80’s Underground Mondays”

      1. Yes everything is slowly going back to normal. It shocked me to see around a month ago some countries in lockdown again. Great to have you back Pam!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Quite good…this would be high on my list of favorites of theirs you’ve posted. Don’t remember hearing it before but I do seem to recall having seen the video.
    It wasn’t til quite recently it occurred to me most college or underground stations were on the “left of the dial”… 88, 89 FM etc. Guess they had poorer range and were less coveted, although makes you wonder why cities weren’t crowded with tons of stations at the 106, 107 end?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a good song and clever. His songwriting in that stretch rivaled any one.

      Yea I remember Vanderbilt’s radio station was on the left side of the dial.

      I guess out of all the alt bands at that time…they probably register higher for me because of their sound and Westerberg’s songwriting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I forgot to mention X and Big head Todd when we last talked.
        You did a 4th of July thing last year if I recalled and I mention ‘4th Of July’ by Dave Alvin. X does a good version also. Blasters and X were buddies.
        Good digging Max.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Unless you wanna do it….I was looking for something this year…. dude the 4th is my 22nd wedding anniversary. Geez that’s a long time dude.

        Liked by 1 person

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