The Replacements

Left of the Dial

Composed by Paul Westerberg

Song Review by

"Left of the Dial" is, in fact, a love song. Not only to college radio (the low-wattage, non-commercial stations found at the lower end of the FM spectrum), but to a specific person. Paul Westerberg revealed in interviews that the song was directed towards Angie Carlson, guitarist in Let's Active, whom Westerberg met and became smitten with on tour. The two groups' touring schedules didn't coincide, however, and the next time Westerberg heard Carlson was when she was being interviewed on a college radio station. None of this is explicit in the lyrics, but there's a typically gruff sense of heart-on-the-recently-puked-on-sleeve romanticism on display here that makes it easy to fill in the blanks. The overall mood is wistful but unsentimental, with a fine Bob Stinson solo, making this one of the group's best mid-period ballads. Unsurprisingly, it became an all-time college radio classic, one of those songs that is forever tied to its time and place.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Tim 1985
Sire 3:41
All for Nothing/Nothing for All 1997 Reprise / Sire 3:43
Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best of the Replacements 2006 Rhino 3:43
The Complete Studio Albums: 1981-1990 2015 Rhino 3:43