It was a weird time in my life when I got obsessed by Dear 23. It was December 1990, a fucking cold cold month which climaxed with a surprise snowfall during Sedan Delivery’s opening set for the Miss Alans. My brother John had recently moved into the house I’d originally rented with my recently-departed girlfriend, and my drums and band had overtaken the living room now that she had gone.
And here was this Posies record, which had been out a few months before I purchased it, and while I was suspicious of DGC records and the generally big production, the songwriting — always credited to Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow — won me over. And while “Golden Blunders” wasn’t the first song that won me over, at some point, it became my favorite song on the record.
The title, of course, is a clever Beatles rip — “Golden Slumbers” being the beginning of the end of the famous Abbey Road medley — and it’s also the first phrase you hear sung, just Jon Auer and an acoustic guitar.
Golden blunders come in pairs
They’re very unaware
What they know is what they’ve seen
Education wasn’t fun
But now that school is done
Higher learning’s just begun
And then “Golden Blunders” just totally explodes into a massive chorus, with a long and arcing melody mile, and words that cut me to the quick, as I was dealing with the aftermath of a two-year relationship that had gone sour when it became apparent that we wanted different things for our immediate future.
You’re gonna watch what you say for a long time
You’re gonna suffer the guilt forever
You’re gonna get in the way at the wrong time
You’re gonna mess up things you thought you would never
With Ken Stringfellow harmonizing on the second verse and subsequent choruses, “Golden Blunders” takes on a grandeur halfway through, even bringing in the crunchy guitars for the thematically on-point bridge.
Four weeks seemed like a long time then
But nine months is longer now
But even if you never speak again
You’ve already made the wedding vow
That theme, of course, is fear of matrimony, and it runs through more than one of Auer’s songs on Dear 23, and probably helped cement the album for me, though not nearly as much as the massive chorus, which after a breakdown for one last verse, dominated the last minute of the song, and winded its way into my subconscious to the point where I would randomly sing it around my apartment during early 1991 or randomly scribble it in my journal.
“Golden Blunders” was a minor hit as these things go, making it all the way to #17 on the Modern Rock chart, though I don’t really remember it as anything but an album cut, but it did have one weird bit of afterlife: it was covered by a Beatle. That’s right: this song with the cheeky Beatles reference actually caught the ear of a Beatle. Well, the lyrics did, at least, and so Ringo Starr did a not half-bad cover of “Golden Blunders” on his 1992 album, Time Takes Time.
“Golden Blunders” official video
“Golden Blunders” live in England, 1994
“Golden Blunders” live acoustic, Boise, 2019
Ringo Starr’s cover of “Golden Blunders”
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