Replacements – Bastards Of Young

This is my sixth song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. The Replacements Bastards Of Young.

I was really happy when I saw Mike’s choice of the Replacements song Can’t Hardly Wait in the draft. I had that one in the back of my mind but had this one ready to go later. I decided to go ahead and get this one in.

I could have picked a more instantly likable song like Skyway, Here Comes a Regular, or Alex Chilton but this song…was a great anthem that kicks you in the shins when it starts. It was recorded in the eighties but it has no giant production…it’s raw and honest about youthful uncertainty and alienation.

I recently visited Aphoristic’s site and he had his top ten songs of the 1980’s.  I thought about it and I included this song on my list in the comment section. In popularity would it be there? No… but this is a lost anthem of the eighties that should have been taken up by that generation. Just because a song isn’t heard and embraced by the masses doesn’t mean it isn’t great.

Westerberg’s songwriting in the 1980s rivaled any artist in that decade.

Everyone who knows me… knows I’m not a huge fan of the top 40 in the 1980s but alternative rock is a different story. In my opinion, the two best alternative rock bands to come out of the 80s were The Replacements and R.E.M.

R.E.M played the music business game much more than The Replacements. The Replacements didn’t play at all until the very end. That hurt them on not being heard on the radio or MTV. If it weren’t for their penchant for self-destruction they would have been known more by the masses.

This song was on their album “Tim” released in 1985. Why was the album called Tim? There was no reference to the name on the album. The band’s manager said that he asked Paul Westerberg what the name of the album would be. Paul told him “Tim” and the manager asked why? Paul said “because it’s such a nice name.”

“Tim” was placed 136th on Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and 137 in a 2012 revised list. The album peaked at #186 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1986.

Paul Westerberg:  “To me, a part of that song is about my sister who felt the need … to be something by going somewhere else. It is sort of the Replacements feeling the same way … not knowing where we fit. It’s our way of reaching a hand out and saying, ‘We are right along with you. We are just as confused.'”

They also played this song on SNL and got banned for life for being drunk and a certain swear word slipping out….supposedly by accident. This is the only video I can find of it. Westerberg eventually appeared on SNL in the 90s as a solo artist. The studio version is the second video.

Bastards of Young

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success
Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung
Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled
It beats pickin’ cotton and waitin’ to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Clean your baby womb, trash that baby boom
Elvis in the ground, no waitin’ on beer tonight
Income tax deduction, what a hell of a function
It beats pickin’ cotton and waitin’ to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
Not the daughters and the sons

Unwillingness to claim us, ya got no war to name us

The ones who love us best are the ones we’ll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we’ll die to please
If it’s any consolation, I don’t begin to understand them

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
Daughters and the sons

Young
Young
Young
Young
Young

Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours

Replacements – Bastards Of Young

The ones, love us best are the ones we’ll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones, love us least are the ones we’ll die to please
If it’s any consolation, I don’t begin to understand them

This song starts with a raw cool riff and a scream…how much more rock and roll can you get? The lyrics above is what got me into this song in the 80s.

The song was on the album Tim released in 1985. The album was produced by Tommy Ramone. Alex Chilton also helped out with the album.

Why was the album called Tim? There was no reference to the name on the album. The bands manager said that he asked Paul Westerberg what the name of the album would be. Paul told him “Tim” and the manager asked why? Paul said “because it’s such a nice name. “

Tim (The Replacements album) - Wikipedia

 It was placed 136th on Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and 137 in a 2012 revised list. The album peaked at #186 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1986. 

“Bastards of Young” was used in the 2020 film The New Mutants during the “party” scene where they are relaxing even though they are still confined.

Paul Westerberg working on the album: “”Writing songs like ‘Androgynous’ and ‘Answering Machine’ wasn’t difficult – presenting them to the group was. I’d been tinkering with stuff like that early on… It was hard getting across the idea we should just put the best songs on the record, even if there wasn’t always a place for Bob to have a hot lead. Bob was the hard one to get to acquiesce. So [Tim] ended up putting the chink in the armor of the idea of us as a four-piece rock band.”


From Songfacts

Fitting with the rebellious nature of The Replacements, this song is about a lost generation. The references to “Elvis” and the “Baby Boom” imply their parents, who see them as nothing more than tax deductions. “Bastard” is a derogatory term for a child born out of wedlock.

Some have speculated that the chorus is actually, “We are the sons of Norway” (somewhat fitting, given the Minnesota birthplace of all members) but, (famously) as no lyric sheet was ever provided by the band, it remains speculation.

The video is a black-and-white, single shot of a stereo system playing the song. He see a guy enter the frame, lie on the couch and smoke a cigarette, but we never see his face. At the end of the clip, he kicks over a speaker and leaves.

Bastards of Young

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success
Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung
Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled
It beats pickin’ cotton and waitin’ to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Clean your baby womb, trash that baby boom
Elvis in the ground, there’ll ain’t no beer tonight
Income tax deduction, what a hell of a function
It beats pickin’ cotton or waitin’ to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
Now the daughters and the sons

Unwillingness to claim us, ya got no war to name us

The ones, love us best are the ones we’ll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones, love us least are the ones we’ll die to please
If it’s any consolation, I don’t begin to understand them

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
Daughters and the sons

Young, young, young, young

Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_(The_Replacements_album)#:~:text=Tim%20is%20the%20fourth%20studio,towards%20the%20end%20of%201986.