Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The story of Election Day (not what you're thinking)

In 1987, the Replacements put a song on the B-side of a UK promo single for "Alex Chilton"; it was called "Election Day."

(I'm going to assume my audience is not so young as to be oblivious to how music used to come on vinyl discs which could be played on either side, and thus a song that wasn't good enough for the album would get released only because they needed something to fill the other side of the disc, on the off-chance that the purchaser of the single got tired of the "good" song and decided to turn it over.)

At some point in the early 1990s I went to a record show at a rundown mall in Buena Park, found the UK promo single with "Election Day" on it. As I was a big 'Mats fan, and as the song was otherwise unavailable (at least as far as I knew at the time), I purchased it for $15.

The song's a kind of sloppy little number with a wailing slide guitar playing over Paul Westerberg's semi-slurred singing. I'm pretty sure drinking was involved--which, if you know anything about the band from that period, is not much of a stretch to believe.

For not particularly clever reasons, today I present the lyrics to said song:

I meant to close the polls
In the chill night, bitter cold
Someone close the polls
On a chill night, in the cold

Election day
I can't stay
Wannabe, wannabe, wannabe, wannabe

I don't care who gets elected
I don't care who gets to find out
I don't care who gets elected
Till I find me a one (to love)

Wannabe, wannabe, wannabe
I said election!
I don't care
I don't care
Our election day

By 1997 the band had long since broken up and Reprise threw together a double disc best-of/rarities collection, All For Nothing, Nothing For All; the second disc of that included "Election Day" (and you can hear a sample here) amongst many other hard-to-find tracks. That album I found in the used CD bins of Aron's Records in Hollywood for around $12.

If only I could have been more patient.

In a sad postscript to that tale, I should admit that I have fallen so far from fanatical 'Mats collecting that when a new retrospective album, Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?, came out earlier this year--complete with two newly recorded tracks--I passed on buying it. I'm sure if I wait a while I'll find a used copy on the cheap.

I like to think I have learned a little over the years.

(If you prefer a lighter background with dark text, you can read this same post over on my test blog.)

1 comment:

  1. I really hated linking to Wiki for the first link. It was a reasonable overview of the band, and better than other sites I viewed. Please point out a superior site if you know of one.


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