January 24, 2011

The Story Behind "Johnny's Gonna Die"

After watching a drunk and drugged Johnny Thunders stumble his way around on stage, insult the audience, and eventually pass out, then 18-year-old audience member Paul Westerberg went home and wrote the song "Johnny's Gonna Die." The song—one of two Westerberg would write about his idol Thunders—was a rare unhurried moment on The Replacements' otherwise racing 1981 debut Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash. The wildly influential Thunders—a member of punk pioneers the New York Dolls in the early 1970s and then leader of the Heartbreakers—died ten years later from drug-related circumstances. Thunders' cult status lives on not just in Replacements' tributes, but in songs by the Clash, Nick Cave, Alex Chilton and Guns N' Roses.

The Replacements - "Johnny's Gonna Die" (from Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash)
Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - "Born To Lose" (from L.A.M.F.)

Johnny Thunders

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