The Replacements

Johnny's Gonna Die

Composed by Paul Westerberg

Song Review by

This is how bad off former New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders was during his last decade of life: perpetually drunk Minneapolis teenager Paul Westerberg wrote "Johnny's Gonna Die" about the proto-punk legend a full ten years before he actually did die of his accumulated excesses. When a member of the Replacements, the most celebrated wastoids of the American punk underground, is worried about you, that's a clue that things have gone too far. "Johnny's Gonna Die" was an early clue that the Replacements, and Westerberg in particular, were ones to keep an eye on; in the midst of the competent but not particularly original hardcore on the group's ramshackle debut album, "Johnny's Gonna Die" adds an unexpected element of uncertainty and ? dare it be said ? maturity to an otherwise recklessly diffident album. It's also an early sighting of the distance between Westerberg's reality and his band's cheerfully drunken mythology that would eventually help destroy the band.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash 1981 Twin / Tone 3:32
The Complete Box 2013 Rhino 3:33
The Complete Studio Albums: 1981-1990 2015 Rhino 3:33