Wonders never cease: I’m jamming to a Gordon Lightfoot tune.

It’s a cover of the Canadian folkie’s 1965 song “I’m Not Sayin’,” by seminal ’80s Minneapolis band the Replacements. It’s also the first track from the Songs for Slim project, to benefit the Replacements’ former guitarist, Slim Dunlap (far right in this early photo), who had a stroke last year. (The track is downloadable today at

I’m not that familiar with Lightfoot, but his lyrics would be at home on any Replacements record (I was surprised it was a cover), or any emo-fueled indie rock record from the past 25 years or so, for that matter: “I’m not sayin’ that I love you/ … I can’t lay the promise down/That I’ll always be around when you need me.”

The Replacements practically invented indie rock. OK, Big Star actually invented indie rock in the ’70s, but back then it was just called “rock ’n’ roll.” The Replacements worshipped Big Star, and every indie band who came after worships them both. Dinosaur Jr., Guided by Voices, Pavement, Sebadoh, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, The Magnetic Fields, Bright Eyes, Bon Iver: They all owe a debt to the Replacements — and to Slim Dunlap.