Contact Us

Under Cover: Joan Jett on the Replacements’ Unisex Evolution

Subscribe to on

On their breakthrough 1984 album, ‘Let It Be,’ the Replacements told the tale of gender identity on the song ‘Androgynous.’ “Here comes Dick, he’s wearing a skirt / Here comes Jane, you know she’s sporting a chain,” sang frontman Paul Westerberg. It sounded like a quiet revolution at the time.

Early on, the Replacements were better known for their drunken and reckless live performances, which often ended up in a figurative, and literal, pileup onstage. But even then there was more to Westerberg’s songs than the usual punk-rock self-destruction they were tied to.

‘Androgynous’ tackles a sensitive topic, but it does so without an ounce of preaching: “Same hair revolution, unisex evolution / Tomorrow, who’s gonna fuss?” Musically, the song recalls both the Kinks and David Bowie. It’s an acoustic song, with Westerberg accompanying himself on piano only. And the sparseness of the track suits the mood perfectly.

Joan Jett connected with the song and recorded a cover of it on her 2006 album ‘Sinner.’ Previously, she had worked with Westerberg on the 1991 song ‘Backlash’ and a version of Cole Porter’s ‘Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)’ for the 1995 ‘Tank Girl’ soundtrack.

Subscribe to on

But Jett takes ‘Androgynous,’ plugs it in and turns up the volume, making it a little less somber and a little more uplifting. She brings out the cut’s singsongy elements and loses some of the original’s charming awkwardness. It’s an integral part of the Replacements version, but Jett finds her own anthemic voice buried in it. And, in a way, her own quiet revolution.

Next Under Cover: The Darkness Cover Radiohead

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Best of Diffuser

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Please solve this simple math problem to prove that you are a real person.

Sign up for quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!