TOM PETTY and the HEARTBREAKERS – ” Echo “

Posted: June 12, 2016 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
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Tom Petty Echo.jpg

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers define classic guitar rock better than just about any working band. The straw-haired singer obsessively revisits the same territory in album after album, with the same cast of backing musicians; guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench have been with him since the Heart-breakers’ debut, in 1976,

Echo the tenth studio album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. First released in April 1999, the album reached number 10 on the Billboard 200 aided by the singles “Free Girl Now”, “Swingin'” and “Room at the Top”, The album was the band’s last collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, and was also the last to feature contributions from longtime bassist/vocalist Howie Epstein, who died of a heroin overdose in 2003. Echo was certified Gold only three months after it was released. Echo is the only Heartbreakers’ album to contain a lead vocal from another member of the band: Mike Campbell on “I Don’t Wanna Fight”. An outtake entitled “Sweet William” appeared as the B-side (or second song) on the “Room at the Top” CD single.

Only certain songs were played on the band’s tour that year. The record was largely written during a period when Petty was going through a painful divorce (influencing the lyrics of songs such as “Lonesome Sundown” and the title track), and Petty has cited that as the reason for his preference not to play any songs from the album in concert. However, “Room at the Top”, “Free Girl Now” and “I Don’t Wanna Fight” all appear in the concert film High Grass Dogs: Live at the Fillmore and a version of “Billy the Kid” appears on The Live Anthology.

“Swingin'” takes that won’t-back-down stance with its heavy descending chords and craggy guitar solo, its howling-wind harmonica and elegiac background harmonies. It’s Petty’s salute to a young woman who dared to get the hell out of town instead of sticking around to meekly meet her fate.

Released April 13th, 1999

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