Let It Be (The Replacements album)

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Let It Be
The Replacements - Let It Be cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 2, 1984 (1984-10-02)
RecordedAugust 1983 – February 1984
StudioBlackberry Way Studios, Minneapolis
ProducerSteve Fjelstad, Peter Jesperson, Paul Westerberg
The Replacements chronology
Let It Be
Singles from Let It Be
  1. "I Will Dare"
    Released: July 1984

Let It Be is the third studio album by American rock band The Replacements. It was released on October 2, 1984 by Twin/Tone Records. A post-punk album with coming-of-age themes, Let It Be was recorded by the band after they had grown tired of playing loud and fast exclusively as on their 1983 Hootenanny album; the group decided to write songs that were, according to vocalist Paul Westerberg, "a little more sincere."[1]

Let It Be was well received by music critics and later ranked among the greatest albums of the 1980s by AllMusic and Rolling Stone magazine.[2][3] Now considered a classic, Let It Be is frequently included on professional lists of the all-time best rock albums,[4] being ranked number 241 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[5] The album was remastered and reissued in 2008, with six additional tracks and liner notes by Peter Jesperson.


The Replacements started their career as a punk rock band but had gradually grown beyond the straightforward hardcore of initial albums like Stink.[6] Westerberg recalls that "playing that kind of noisy, fake hardcore rock was getting us nowhere, and it wasn't a lot of fun. This was the first time I had songs that we arranged, rather than just banging out riffs and giving them titles."[7] By 1983, the band would sometimes perform a set of cover songs intended to antagonize whoever was in the audience. Westerberg explained that the punks who made up their audience "thought that's what they were supposed to be standing for, like 'Anybody does what they want' and 'There are no rules' [...] But there were rules and you couldn't do that, and you had to be fast, and you had to wear black, and you couldn't wear a plaid shirt with flares ... So we'd play the DeFranco Family, that kind of shit, just to piss 'em off."[8]

Peter Buck of R.E.M. was originally rumored to produce the album. Buck later confirmed that the band did consider him as a possible producer, but when they met Buck in Athens, Georgia, the band did not have enough material. Buck did manage to contribute to the album in a limited capacity; he said, "I was kind of there for pre-production stuff, did one solo, gave 'em some ideas."[9]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Let It Be is a post-punk album.[10] Westerberg's lyrics feature themes of self-consciousness and rejection as felt by awkward youths, and deal with topics such as generational discontent on "Unsatisfied", uncontrollable arousal on "Gary's Got a Boner", and amateurish sexuality on "Sixteen Blue".[11] According to music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, the album's coming-of-age theme is aligned between adolescence and adulthood, and unlike many other adolescent-themed post-punk records, Let It Be remains less on the subject of angst and incorporates humor and more varied music.[2]

Packaging and title[edit]

The cover of Let It Be is a photograph of the band sitting on the roof of Bob and Tommy Stinson's mother's house taken by Daniel Corrigan. Michael Azerrad stated that the cover was a "great little piece of mythmaking," showcasing each band member's personality via how they appear in the photograph.[12] (As of 2019, the current owners of the house had added a stained-glass window reproducing the album-cover photograph.)[13] The album's title is a reference to the 1970 album Let It Be by The Beatles; the reference was intended as a joke on the Replacements' manager, Peter Jesperson, who was a huge Beatles fan.[1] Westerberg has stated the name was "our way of saying that nothing is sacred, that the Beatles were just a fine rock & roll band. We were seriously gonna call the next record Let It Bleed."[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[2]
The Austin Chronicle5/5 stars[14]
Christgau's Record GuideA+[15]
Q4/5 stars[18]
Rolling Stone5/5 stars[19]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[20]
Spin5/5 stars[21]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[22]

Reviewing for The Village Voice in 1984, music critic Robert Christgau said that the band has matured by incorporating melody in their music and felt that they succeed by writing about their likes and dislikes rather than adhering to garage rock principles.[23] Debby Miller of Rolling Stone magazine called it a "brilliant rock & roll album" and wrote that, instead of the rugged, up-tempo rock of the band's first two albums, Let It Be has "an amazing range" of musical ideas.[24] Bruce Pavitt, writing in The Rocket, called the album "mature, diverse rock that could well shoot these regional boys into the national mainstream."[12] Let It Be was voted the fourth best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll for 1984.[25] Christgau, the poll's creator, ranked it second best on his own list,[26] and in a decade-end list for the newspaper, named it the tenth best album of the 1980s.[27] He later said that, along with X's 1981 album Wild Gift, Let It Be represented the peak of American indie rock.[28]

In a retrospective review, eMusic's Karen Schoemer said that Let It Be is "as classic as rock & roll could be" and cited it as a cornerstone album of alternative rock, along with R.E.M.'s Murmur, the Pixies' Surfer Rosa, and Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation.[29] Eric Boehlert of Salon called it a "post-punk classic".[30] Singer-songwriter Colin Meloy wrote of Let It Be in an edition of the 33⅓ series dedicated to the album: "I listened to Let It Be endlessly. The record seemed to encapsulate perfectly all of the feelings that were churning inside me [...] Paul Westerberg's weary voice sounded from my boombox and I trembled to think that here I was, thirteen and the 'hardest age' was still three years in the making."[31] In a 2005 review, Rolling Stone's Christian Hoard wrote that the Replacements "had no use for the principles or oblique artiness" of contemporary indie rock bands such as Sonic Youth and Hüsker Dü, and concluded that "few albums so brilliantly evoke the travails of growing up, and even fewer have so perfectly captured a young band in all its ragged glory."[19]

Let It Be has frequently been included on professional lists of the all-time best rock albums. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it at number 239 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and called it "a post-punk masterpiece",[5] and ranked at 241 in a 2012 revised list.[32] In 1989, the magazine had also rated it at #15 on its list of 100 best albums of the '80s.[7] In the 1999 miniseries "VH1's 100 Greatest Albums of Rock and Roll," VH1 ranked Let It Be #79.[33] Pitchfork rated the album at #29 on their 100 Best Albums of the 1980s.[34] Spin ranked it #12 on their list of the 25 Greatest albums of all time.[4] Slant Magazine listed the album at #39 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[35] The opening track of the album, "I Will Dare" has been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[36]

Track listing[edit]

1."I Will Dare"Paul Westerberg3:18
2."Favorite Thing"Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, Bob Stinson, Chris Mars2:19
3."We're Comin' Out"Westerberg, Stinson, Stinson, Mars2:21
4."Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out"Westerberg, Stinson, Stinson, Mars1:53
6."Black Diamond"Paul Stanley2:40
8."Seen Your Video"Westerberg3:08
9."Gary's Got a Boner"Westerberg, Stinson, Stinson, Mars, Ted Nugent2:28
10."Sixteen Blue"Westerberg4:24
11."Answering Machine"Westerberg3:40
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
12."20th Century Boy" (originally performed by T. Rex; from "I Will Dare", 1984)Marc Bolan3:56
13."Perfectly Lethal"Westerberg3:30
14."Temptation Eyes" (originally performed by The Grass Roots)Harvey Price, Dan Walsh2:30
15."Answering Machine" (demo)Westerberg2:43
16."Heartbeat – It's a Lovebeat" (originally performed by The DeFranco Family)Michael Kennedy, William Hudspeth2:55
17."Sixteen Blue" (alternate vocal)Westerberg5:08
Total length:54:13


The Replacements
Additional musicians
Technical personnel
  • Steve Fjelstad – production
  • Peter Jesperson – production


  1. ^ a b Azerrad, 2001. p. 222
  2. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Let It Be – The Replacements". AllMusic. Retrieved June 11, 2005.
  3. ^ "Rolling Stone's 100 best albums of the '80s". CNN. 2011-04-20.
  4. ^ a b "The 25 Greatest Albums Of All Time". Spin. 5 (1): 48. April 1989. Retrieved 2010-04-29.
  5. ^ a b Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "239 | Let It Be - The Replacements". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 23 March 2006.
  6. ^ Azerrad, p. 208
  7. ^ a b c Azerrad, Michael; DeCurtis, Anthony (November 16, 1989). "The 100 Best Albums of the Eighties". Rolling Stone (565): 76. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  8. ^ Azerrad, p. 215
  9. ^ Gray, Marcus. It Crawled from the South: An R.E.M. Companion. Da Capo, 1997. Second edition. ISBN 0-306-80751-3, p. 356–357
  10. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas; et al. (2001). All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music (4th ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 336. ISBN 0-87930-627-0. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  11. ^ Moon, Tom (2008). 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. Workman Publishing. p. 643. ISBN 978-0-7611-5385-6. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Azerrad, 2001. p. 223
  13. ^ Sturdevant, Andy (October 17, 2019). "A Rock 'n' Roll Walking Tour of South Minneapolis". Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. Minneapolis-St. Paul. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  14. ^ Caligiuri, Jim (May 2, 2008). "Review: The Replacements". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "The Replacements: Let It Be". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. p. 344. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  16. ^ "The Replacements: Let It Be". NME. London: 30. April 23, 1993.
  17. ^ Richardson, Mark (April 21, 2008). "The Replacements: Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash / Stink / Hootenanny / Let It Be". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 21, 2008.
  18. ^ "The Replacements: Let It Be". Q. London (81): 120. June 1993.
  19. ^ a b Hoard, Christian (August 11, 2005). "The Rolling Stone Hall of Fame: The Replacements, Let It Be". Rolling Stone. New York (980): 78. Archived from the original on July 26, 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2008.
  20. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Replacements". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 688–89. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  21. ^ Mehr, Bob (September 2007). "Loud and Snotty!". Spin. New York. 23 (9): 90. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  22. ^ Weisband, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  23. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 30, 1984). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  24. ^ Miller, Debby (February 14, 1985). "The Replacements Let It Be". Rolling Stone (441). Archived from the original on July 9, 2008. Retrieved 7 August 2007.
  25. ^ "The 1984 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. New York. February 19, 1985. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  26. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 19, 1985). "Pazz & Jop 1984: Dean's List". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  27. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 2, 1990). "Decade Personal Best: '80s". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  28. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 27, 1998). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  29. ^ Schoemer, Karen (December 11, 2010). "The Replacements, Let It Be". eMusic. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  30. ^ "The greatest week in rock history". Salon. December 19, 2003. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  31. ^ Meloy, Colin. Let It Be 33⅓. Continuum, 2004. ISBN 0-8264-1633-0, p. 70
  32. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  33. ^ "100 greatest albums of rock & roll (80-61)". Vh1.com. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
  34. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. November 20, 2002. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  35. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s". Slant Magazine. March 5, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  36. ^ "Rocklist.net...Steve Parker...Rock and Roll Hall of Fame". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-08-21.

External links[edit]