OUR WEEKLY CELEBRATION OF GREAT ALBUMS
GIVES IT UP FOR SOME REAL HEARTBREAKERS
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.
1. When the Time Comes
2. You're Gonna Get It
3. Hurt (Petty/Campbell)
5. Too Much Ain't Enough
1. I Need to Know
2. Listen to Her Heart
3. No Second Thoughts
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.