Sunday Spin: Tom Petty


First off, a very happy birthday to keyboard champ Benmont Tench, who turns 55 today. A Tom Petty running partner since the beginning, Tench's accents and Nashville sharp chops are perhaps the most subtle and under-sung part of the Heartbreakers' sound, but remove them and you quickly see the difference this gifted musician makes. Secondly, this month marks the 30th anniversary of the Heartbreakers' sophomore album, You're Gonna Get It!. Often overlooked for the far better known bookends around it - their critically adored eponymous 1976 debut and 1979's commercial breakthrough, Damn The Torpedoes - Get It! is full of dented grace and muscular, chick friendly rock like "Listen To Her Heart," which showed the first signs of Petty's knack for connecting with non-testicular audiences – one of the keys to Petty and the Heartbreakers unusually long run near the top of their craft.

She's gonna listen to her heart
It's gonna tell her what to do
She might need a lot of loving
But she don't need you

Tom Carson's great 1978 review of the album in Rolling Stone states, "You can't exactly dance to the album, but it's still great highway music. And for a restless mystery man like Petty, who's always impatient for the next step, there's no doubt which matters more." It's true, the band's second helping has hips and forward motion but it's not something you're likely to take your sweetie by the hand and move to, especially if you pry inside the often dark, unsatisfied mind at work in the lyrics. Running like a hidden stream beneath these ten tracks is reality sinking in for a working rock 'n' roll band, the glimmering prize not everything it seems once you're out on the road for months on end and you still have all of three nickels in your unholy filthy jean pockets.

While perhaps shorter on bonafide hits that later albums, You're Gonna Get It! comes on with the attitude the title suggests. This is tough stuff, but like the Tin Man, it's only the surface that's hard. The heart inside beats loud and true, flinching at the same things that make us all clasp hands over our chest as if we could block the hurt life brings. The "hands" in this instance are big, mean guitars and a positively cantankerous rhythm section. Petty (vocals, guitars, piano), Mike Campbell (guitars, accordion), Tench (piano, organ, vocals ), Ron Blair (bass, acoustic guitar, sound effects) and Stan Lynch (drums, vocals) play like men who believe in every fiber of them that rock is a cause worth fighting for. It's not always clear who the target of their fury is but you do know YOU don't want to be on the receiving end. One of the pleasures of finding this album now is discovering how much good music there is besides the familiar singles. At this point, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were still making a name for themselves, and there's always something appealing about a hungry band. On this one, they're positively salivating.

Track List

Side One
1. When the Time Comes
2. You're Gonna Get It
3. Hurt (Petty/Campbell)
4. Magnolia
5. Too Much Ain't Enough

Side Two
1. I Need to Know
2. Listen to Her Heart
3. No Second Thoughts
4. Restless
5. Baby's a Rock 'n' Roller" (Petty/Campbell)

All tracks written by Tom Petty unless otherwise noted.

Here's one of the jewels of the Petty catalog, "Too Much Ain't Enough," performed on French TV in 1980.

"Listen To Her Heart" on England's Old Gray Whistle Test in 1977, when the band was test driving the new material overseas.

We conclude with "I Need To Know" played with vigor on the Midnight Special.

[Published on: 9/7/08]

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Tpetty starstarstarstarstar Sun 9/7/2008 12:49PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Yay! Tom Petty on JamBase! I am Tpetty, and Tom Petty rocks! This album definitly isnt theyre best piece of work, but its up there. 100% pure american rock n rollers....

HoodooVoodoo starstarstarstarstar Sun 9/7/2008 04:30PM
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He is lying. I am actually Tpetty. One more time to kill the pain.

HoodooVoodoo starstarstarstarstar Sun 9/7/2008 07:17PM
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I met a girl out there with a tattoo too.

mmmFriedFrogLegs starstarstarstarstar Sun 9/7/2008 08:51PM
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nice sunday spin, thank you jambase, this is one tasty album, not my personal favorite(i kinda like the less poppy, deeper feeling, more emotional, even darker ones like wildflowers and echo ) but definatly an essential Heartbreakers album because it shows an earlier stage in Petty's master songwriting craft evolution and the heartbreakers ability to keep churning out top notch music.

This stage of their career represented to me youthful energy/eagarness, in a good way tho , a whole lot of effort and work put into the songs in order to prove themselves as musicians but still remain very palatable to the pop-loving radio audience. the combo is prolly why i cant think of ANYONE who dislikes Tom Petty and the heartbreakers and why they are a success in all facets of their craft( i've only seen 'em live a couple of times but they do not disappoint) .

later in their career these sort of songs almost seemed(to me atleast, but dont get me wrong i love them ,but damn you clearchannel) themesongs , top 40 institutions ,unnatural and too upbeat (maybe they were satisfied with quite a plethora of huge radio hits, to me the later laid back stuff seemed so natural and deep,- they got really good at making songs ) .

The thing about Tom Petty is almost his whole entire catalog is really high quality music where each album has a distinct mood and idiosyncrasy about it where the band assures you they are still the same ol' tom petty and the heartbreakers we know and love but that they can manage to reinvent themselves - without trying too hard (kind of reminds me of radiohead's catalog progression) and sort of display a different concept and vibe to every album (with exception to the album "Let Me Up(I've had Enough)" which i blame on lack of experience with synth's, trust me its a really miserable album)

If you can't tell by the rant/tangeant here , i've heard this album sooooo many times and although it hasnt been in rotation for awhile its still very close to me. sunday spin (great feature) has provided some great nostagia for me.

futhepharmer starstarstarstarstar Sun 9/7/2008 09:06PM
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^once again mmmfriedfroglegs is on point. grew up with this album and it forebearer, but for me the one that really kicked it in was Refugee. Petty is the most consistant American artist around. Get the DVD of the movie by Peter Bogdonavich, "Runnin' Down a Dream". The bonus Cd is awesome!

futhepharmer starstarstarstarstar Sun 9/7/2008 09:10PM
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Oh good is here that I have to admit that....I liked "Let me Up (I've had Enough)....really, I did. "You Wrecked Me" is on that album. It's Ok frog...I'll take care of the one you didn't like. Everybody, needs somebody to Love and all, ya know.

Tpetty Sun 9/7/2008 09:30PM
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Hoodoo Voodoo: and the sky was the limit!

mmmfriedfroglegs: well said

Futhepharmer: "You Wreck Me" was on Wildflowers, not LMU(IHE)...

Hoo-ray for the Heartbreakers!

mmmFriedFrogLegs starstarstarstarstar Sun 9/7/2008 11:41PM
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ok here's the thing with thw album "Let me Up(I've had Enough)" the lyrical content is good basically because tom petty couldnt write bad lyrics even if he was on mad L and charles manson and the dude of life were trying to brainwash him to write free credit report dot com jingles, it just comes so naturally to him hell would freeze over before petty could lyrically jump the shark.

futhepharmer the song you may have confused with "you wreck me" is "Jammin' Me" which like i said is lyrically good especially because if i remember correctly Bob dylan co wrote this with him. lyrically i like a couple others like "Runaway Trains" and "My Life/Your World" but that cheesy early synth stuff... no dice homeskillet, it was an interesting experiment to speak highly of it, it just went up in smoke

when i said this album was miserable i mean musically, it is full of cheesy very limited synth effects and even worse drum machine loops(yuck)

There's another perfect example that may explain what i mean exactly, if you are familiar with Neil Youngs catalog you may have heard a cd called "landing on water" which is terrible as well MUSICALLY due to lack of experience with early synth stuff and furthermore i think singer/songwriters and cheesy synth mix about as well as forks and electrical outlets

ScottieOnLocation Mon 9/8/2008 01:23AM
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Gadiel, put this frog legs kid on the payroll.

ramblintrav Mon 9/8/2008 09:05AM
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Jambase has deleted one bad seed (bluntsnbisco) and now should delete the other (rootorothtoacl). And for Tom Petty, keep on rockin'. I have never been at a show with so many age groups that know all of the lyrics.

Jeff Kash Mon 9/8/2008 10:46AM
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Jeff Kash

Tom Petty sucks, in my opinion, because you can predict the songs he's going to play every night and he doesn't jam. That is just my opinion...

futhepharmer starstarstarstarstar Mon 9/8/2008 10:52AM
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^Juvenile, your name says it all. Sure, it's just your opinion. But how bout people just comment in the positive? I see plenty of articles about bands I don't care for, but I don't feel the need to drop in and leave a "sucks" comment just to piss people off. It's Juvenile...oh yeah...that's your name

Jeff Kash Mon 9/8/2008 11:23AM
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Jeff Kash

OK futhepharmer, wookster. I'll keep it positive. You are positively the biggest wook on this website.

achalsey Mon 9/8/2008 02:07PM
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I gotta say I hate Tom Petty. I didn't mind him in high school but for personal reasons due to a poorly selected Petty song as our graduation song I vowed to hate him. He's a hit maker, not really much substance to the music.

gmoo Mon 9/8/2008 02:28PM
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Tom Petty was my first rock concert. Dude knows how to write a hit song.

futhepharmer starstarstarstarstar Mon 9/8/2008 04:58PM
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Wow even changed your name for me. I'm positively impressed!and I don't have dreads, so what's up with caaling me a wook? let's use the slang for the right reasons yo

timmytucker34 Tue 9/9/2008 02:55PM
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gmoo...the heartbreakers were my first concert too. 2000, Hershey PA. House lights go down, joints are lit, and the opening riff to runnin' down a dream...

timmyp Tue 9/9/2008 03:35PM
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Heartbreakers were my first as well. '94 Pine Knob, Clarkston, MI. Makes me feel old...

mcLovin1 starstarstarstarstar Thu 9/11/2008 11:25PM
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I LOVE the songs "I need to know" and "Listen to her heart" !! These are two of the greatest songs EVER! Tom is so sexy too. This band will forever in eternity be my all time fav! Keep it up guys! They never fail to impress, especially on tour! They ROCK!!!