This was written by the guitarist Dave Alvin, who had recently replaced Billy Zoom in X. Alvin still had ties with his former band, the Blasters, when he wrote the song, and in early 1986 he recorded the song with the group, with Nick Lowe producing. These sessions deteriorated when Lowe decided that Dave should sing the song, not the group's lead singer, his older brother Phil Alvin. The Blasters album was never released, and it ended up being an X song, with their vocalist John Doe
As for Dave, he got some life-changing advice from Lowe in those sessions. "I can't sing either, but I've somehow made a living doing it," Lowe told him.