The bands that you'll find immortalised between the pages of Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life are a group of artists who are characterised by a fierce approach to creativity and their devotedness to DIY ethics within the American Underground throughout the 1980s. The Replacements are the odd ones out on that list; they were always the odd ones out.

Paul Westerberg, Bob Stinson, Tommy Stinson, and Chris Mars were friends with and fans of a lot of those bands, but they never lost their intense love for classic Rock and Roll history. They only really hold onto their Alternative tag today due to their early punk beginnings and working class swagger. They defended no allegiances to one particular style or trend, and they were as likely to exhibit an equal amount of reverence for the power pop of Big Star as they were for the ground breaking punk rock of their frequent cohorts Hüsker Dü. Lead guitarist Bob Stinson even had a long held un-ironic love for Yes.

They exist today still as perennial underdogs; but newly reunited, Coachella bound, and recently covered by someone from within the mainstream that they were always just a fingertips width away from. It's the perfect time to get into them (it always is), so I'm here to help. Westerberg's howl on his perfect pop rockers and whiskey swathed ballads of heartbreak is something that no one who's ever had their mind blown by a rock song should ever miss. And you definitely need to listen to 'Kids Don't Follow' and 'I Will Dare' and realise that they're two of the best album openers in history.

Their discography is a tricky one; it starts with give-'em -hell-punk, peaks in the middle, and ends with two almost-solo records. You can easily follow a clear line and see their sound mellowing, but labels where never important to them; they just wanted to write great rock songs. Being branded sell outs for signing to Sire Records didn't bother them one bit, because The Replacements never wanted to be an underground band; they wanted to be The Rolling Stones. Hell, they even wanted to be Kiss. They wrote songs worthy of a big stage and played them to rooms of glass bottles and concrete floors.

They wanted their Rock and Roll dreams badly, this might be why bassist Tommy Stinson even went on to join Guns N' Roses after Axl Rose commandeered them. A few months ago, they missed out on being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, if they ever actually make it, they might be the only Alternative Rock Band that would ever actually care about such an honour. The desire to join Rock's old guard stretched through their career, but they could never quite get their shit together and it caused them to do some regrettable things, such as the firing of the late, great and irreplaceable Bob Stinson just after the release of Tim.

They never really changed too much anyway, they still got shit-faced before their big break on Saturday Night Live (they still wrecked shop), and recorded the music video version of sticking a middle finger up at MTV, which actually became somewhat of an MTV hit. Whatever mistakes they made just makes them more perfect, more human. The Replacements were never a band of golden gods; they were just a group of guys chasing an oversized dream.

So, if you're ready get listening, because it's not just a list of some of the best songs in Alternative Rock, it's a trip through one of the best discographies in Rock and Roll history.

  • 1. Takin' a Ride
  • 2. Kids Don't Follow
  • 3. Take Me Down to the Hospital
  • 4. I Will Dare
  • 5. Androgynous
  • 6. Unsatisfied
  • 7. Kiss me on the Bus
  • 8. Swingin Party
  • 9. Bastards of Young
  • 10. Left of the Dial
  • 11. Little Mascara
  • 12. Here Comes a Regular
  • 13. Alex Chilton
  • 14. Can't Hardly Wait
  • 15. Achin' to Be