Happy 25th Anniversary, “14 Songs”

Happy 25th Anniversary + 1 day to “14 Songs”, released June 15, 1993. Hop into The wayback Machine for this interview from June 1993 bu Robert Hilburn for the LA Times.

POP MUSIC: An Untroubled Troubadour
Songwriter Paul Westerberg returns with ’14 Songs’ about insecurities and desires–after battling his own

June 06, 1993| Robert Hilburn

Q: Why did you feel freer writing songs for a solo album than for the band?
A: I never would have presented “Black Eyed Susan” or maybe “Even Here We Are” for fear that it didn’t fit the idea of this punk-rock beast . . . or that the other guys wouldn’t want to play them. This time all I had to worry about was what are the best songs. It was also rather nice not having musicians waiting around, and you’re always aware that they don’t have anything to do, so you tend to speed things up when you should take two weeks for that three-minute song.

Q: “Things” on the new album is one of the most tender songs you’ve ever written. It’s about not being able to communicate your feelings to someone until the day you say goodby to her. Listening to it, you feel it is absolutely autobiographical. Is that just an illusion?
A: It’s no illusion. “Things” is one of the songs I had to coax myself into putting on the album. I didn’t want any of that confessional stuff. But I was in the car one day with (Replacements guitarist) Slim Dunlop. He said he had a song, but he didn’t want to put it on his record because it told too much. And I was going, “Man, that’s the one you gotta put on the record.” And as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I knew I had to do the same thing.

Q: What’s the story behind the song?
A: It’s sort of a summation of my life. I feel like I’m always leaving something. It could be looked upon as my relationship with people or my relationship with the band. It’s a way of saying, “I don’t belong to you. I belong to what I do.” My marriage is over, so there’s undeniable threads there.

And in no4 particular order, here are my 5 favorite songs of the 14 (Don’t @ me, First Glimmer and Runaway Wind fans).

Things I’m bound to tell you like, that dress looks great on ya
I could use some breathing room but I’m still in love with you
Things I could never tell you, down the line someday
You’ll be a song I sing, a thing I give away
Packed my things today, I packed my things today



Another Happy Birthday to Paul, from Bob Mehr (with bonus story)!

Happy birthday to Paul Harold Westerberg – born 58 years ago on a particularly frigid New Year’s Eve in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Replacements co-founder, revered solo artist, *the* singer-songwriter of his generation. The Johnson to my Boswell, as well as the only person to ever mail me a body part (a molar – it’s a long story). Here’s a footnote about his arrival into the world, coming in the final hours of 1959, that was cut from my Replacements bio “Trouble Boys.” —In later years Westerberg would concoct an elaborate fantasy scenario about the night of his birth. He imagined Hal rushing a contracting Mary Lou down to the University of Minnesota hospital located on the West Bank, near a student section called Dinkytown. His father would slam on his brakes and honk the horn at a scruffy looking boho ambling through a crosswalk. The chubby cheeked kid was wearing a shabby coat and guitar on his back. It was Robert Zimmerman, soon to become Bob Dylan. The native son of Hibbing, Minnesota was living in Dinkytown when Paul came mewling into the world. He would imagine their kinship — Dylan on the cusp of greatness, him just being born – as some kind of omen, and write a blues number about it in 2004 called “MPLS”: “On the Mississippi River, I was born in ’59/Down in Dinkytown, old Bob Dylan freezing his behind.” #paulwesterberg #thereplacements #troubleboys

A post shared by Bob Mehr (@bobmehr3) on

On the Mississippi River, I was born in ’59
Mississippi River, I was born in ’59
Down in Dinkytown, old Bob Dylan freezin’ his behind

Go down to the shore, drink us some wine
Well we tumble down to the shore, drinkin’ some wine
I only did it one time

Took a whole lot of girls, then went down to the shore
Took a whole lot of girls there, then went down to the shore
Took a boy down once, played the blues, and he ain’t here no more

Well it’s MPLS
The place that I like best
Well it’s MPLS
The place that I like best
Don’t call, don’t call, no St. Paul
MPLS, yes yes

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Happy Birthday, Paul!

And Happy New Year to all!

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way.

I know you’ve got a lot of good things happening up ahead
The past is gone it’s all been said
So here’s to what the future brings
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things

Own The Original “14 Songs” Cover Photo, Inscribed by Paul

original 14 songs

click image for hi-res version

Here’s an amazing opportunity to own something that is literally one-of-a kind, and to help out Slim Dunlap and his family. I’m posting this message on behalf of Jim Sullivan, who worked with the Mats on their merchandising.

This photo is the original 8×10 print that Paul chose for the cover of “14 Songs” and he inscribed it: “This, with the hands is a record cover. Whole shot”

If there’s a Mats fan out there willing to spread some Christmas love to Slim and family by contributing $1,000 to this FundRazr: Appeal for Mr. Bob “Slim” Dunlap, I would be thrilled to send you this print, along with a couple other great Mats prints by the great Paul Natkin.

Life is short. Keep those you hold dearly in your heart.

The details: First come, first serve! If you want it, you can email me and I’ll pass your info along to Jim. He’ll take if from there and you two can work out the details.

14 songs envelope