Posts Tagged ‘Tom Petty’

It’s about an hour before Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers play Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre for what may be the last time. Backstage, Petty is in his dressing room putting on a frontier rebel’s headdress to fight the chill. Keyboardist Benmont Tench is tweeting about the sad state of our country under Donald Trump. Bassist Ron Blair has battled stage fright for years since rejoining the Heartbreakers in 2002, after a 20-year sanity break. He wanders into Tom Petty’s dressing room and cops to something you’re not likely to admit to your bandleader unless you’ve known him for 40 years. “I’m kinda nervous, you know,” says Blair in a quiet voice.

Petty rarely describes himself as the leader of his band, but as “the older brother they sometimes have to listen to.” Tonight, he gives Blair some fatherly assurance and a toothy Southern smile: “Let me be nervous for you.”

The band takes the stage and blows through “Rockin’ Around (With You),” the first song on its self-titled first album, from 1976. Petty ends the next few songs strumming in front of the drum set, trading man-crush smiles with drummer Steve Ferrone (Tench jokes, “They should get a room”). Petty even grins through a joyous version of “Walls,” from 1996’s She’s the Onean album he’s complained about for nearly 20 years.

And then there’s a flash of lightning. Rain pours down. The Heartbreakers are shooed into the catacombs of Red Rocks, and 9,000 fans head for cover.

As the bandmates wait out the rain, Petty asks if they want to add their 1999 song “Swingin'” to the second half of the set. Everyone agrees: They do. The Heartbreakers aren’t a democracy, but more of a benevolent dictatorship. This is true when it comes to the set list. “We can make suggestions,” says Tench with a wry smile. “Sometimes they’re even accepted.”

After 20 minutes, the Heartbreakers retake the stage. They play “Swingin’,” which has a chorus where Petty lists icons who “went down swinging,” including Sonny Liston and Sammy Davis. Tench, who sings with Petty on the song, switches it up. Epstein provided the beautiful high harmonies on the record, so Tench sneaks in a tribute to his departed friend: “He went down swingin’/Just like Howie Epstein.”

Petty is supposed to do some acoustic numbers from Wildflowers, his 1994 solo album. There’s just one problem: His guitar is dead, soaked by the rain. There’s confusion and uncertainty on the band mates’ faces for a moment, like it’s a 1975 show at a honky-tonk in Gainesville. Then Petty and Campbell shout across the stage, “Ben, play something!”

Tench, the best keyboardist in American rock, breaks into a pastiche of boogie-woogie, a homage to pianist Pete Johnson. The group chimes in, not quite in sync, until Petty switches to Chuck Berry’s “Carol.” The Heartbreakers fall in line, sounding like the best bar band you don’t want to tell your friends about.

They encore with “American Girl.” The bandmates take a bow, wiping sweat and rain off their faces. Everyone exits, but Petty seems reluctant to leave. He takes a few steps toward the front of the stage and gives a last wave.

One word Petty and the band never mention: retirement. Petty still goes into his Malibu home office to write songs  right across from his home studio. He’s mostly a homebody, rarely even venturing the 45 minutes into Los Angeles unless it’s to see his two daughters and his young granddaughter. There was a Mudcrutch tour last year and a turn producing a record for former Byrds bassist Chris Hillman. The Heartbreakers will record again and play live in some capacity. After 40 years, it would be surprising if there weren’t a few regrets. “Howie should’ve gotten some lead on a record,” Tench says of Epstein. “He should’ve produced a record for the Heartbreakers. I would’ve loved that.” Then he shrugs. “But I’m not in charge.”

There’s been a valedictory feel to the Heartbreakers‘ 40th-anniversary tour, which Petty says is the band’s final country-spanning run – the “last big one.” Everyone else is a bit skeptical. “I’ve been hearing that for 15 years,” says guitarist and original Heartbreaker Mike Campbell. “We’ll see.”

The crowds are still there, something Petty is clearly proud of when we sit down in a hotel room on an off day. To be honest, he looks more jittery offstage than on. This may be because he is chain-smoking, alternating between Marlboros and vaping, perhaps as a concession to the Denver Ritz-Carlton’s smoking policy.

Petty says sleep is now his friend. “I need a new Netflix show, does anyone have any suggestions?” he asks just before his assistant ducks out of the room. Someone suggests Bloodlinea noirish series set in his native Florida.

Petty is defiant about the hyper pace of the tour, which hits 30 cities this spring and summer. “Unless you’ve done it, you can’t understand what it is,” says Petty, brushing his scarecrow hair out of his face. “And if you’re not really experienced, you will fall.”

What keeps the Heartbreakers together is simple: The band has been their life since 1976.  Benjamin Montmorency Tench III, was a prep-school kid and piano prodigy. Tench wears suits and went to Exeter, but he’s the fiery one. In the Peter Bogdanovich documentary on the Heartbreakers, 2007’s Runnin’ Down a Dream, Tench can be heard screaming at his bandmates to take things seriously. His nickname is Mad Dog. When Tench used to go on one of his tirades, a roadie would slide a dog bowl of water under his piano.

Petty, Campbell and 
Tench formed the nucleus of the band Mudcrutch,
which morphed into the
 Heartbreakers in 1976,
 after adding San Diego native Blair on bass and 
Stan Lynch on drums.
 Blair fried out and
 bailed in 1982. He opened a bikini shop in the Valley and was replaced by Howie Epstein, but the band loomed in his subconscious. “I’d dream I’d be walking to the stage, and be like, ‘I don’t know “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,”‘ recalls Blair. “I had half a dozen of those nightmares, so I started learning those songs so I could get a night’s sleep.”

This proved fortuitous when Epstein died of heroin-related complications in 2003. “I don’t think the band continues without Ron,” Tench tells me. “Bringing in someone new wouldn’t have worked.”

“About 20 years ago, we stopped doing soundchecks,” says Petty. “It eats up the whole day and we’d argue, and then you’d come back and the sound would be completely different with a crowd.”

The other game-changer was Dylan. By 1986, the band had toured relentlessly for a decade. Off the road, everyone was a mess – some members dealing with substance issues, some just dealing with real life. “The road and the studio are the only places I’ve ever felt completely OK,” says Petty, lighting another Marlboro. “In any other life situation I’m terribly retarded.” Petty got a call from Dylan asking if the band would back him on a tour. Petty raced out a “hell, yes.” Watching footage, you can see him smiling his head off, ecstatic to not be leading the show. The experience taught him how to be in the Heartbreakers, not just lead them. “That’s when we learned how to really be a band,” says Petty.

 

One word Petty and the band never mention: retirement. Petty still goes into his Malibu home office to write songs  right across from his home studio. He’s mostly a homebody, rarely even venturing the 45 minutes into Los Angeles unless it’s to see his two daughters and his young granddaughter. There was a Mudcrutch tour last year and a turn producing a record for former Byrds bassist Chris Hillman. The Heartbreakers will record again and play live in some capacity. After 40 years, it would be surprising if there weren’t a few regrets. “Howie should’ve gotten some lead on a record,” Tench says of Epstein. “He should’ve produced a record for the Heartbreakers. I would’ve loved that.” Then he shrugs. “But I’m not in charge.”

I cannot really say too much as I was a huge Petty admirer Really extremely Sad News, As LAPD issues a new statement saying they are now unable to confirm the death of Tom Petty I cross my fingers. He was found not breathing after a full cardiac arrest and placed on life support. It would be nice to think that he got to the gates of hell and they sent him back because he was better off with us.

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The song “Gloria” is built on just three chords that any garage band can play and that almost every garage band has. Yet the list of artists who have covered this tune include many bands Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Patti Smith, Tom Petty, David Bowie, R.E.M., Iggy Pop, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello..even. Bill Murray strapped on a guitar and played it at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival, the Grateful Dead used to jam on it, and it might be the only song that Jon Bon Jovi and Johnny Thunders have in common.

How has such a minimal song have had such a huge impact? Why does it still reverberate today, in arenas, at festivals, in bars and studios? And how did Gloria become such a resilient classic rock tune. Written more than fifty years ago by Van Morrison for his band Them , the story the song tells couldn’t be more archetypal: the singer (usually but not always male) knows this girl and he’s eager to tell us about her, but he doesn’t share much in the way of detail. She comes down the street, up to a room, knocks on a door, enters, makes the singer extremely happy.

She is, nearly all the time, about five feet, four inches tall (on the original demo, she was five feet). As physical descriptions go, that’s at once very specific and very incomplete. Dark-haired or light, curvy or slender, who knows? At just about midnight, she appears. There is, we can assume, something sensual about the way she moves, because the song itself slithers with an air of hypnotic mystery, those three chords (E-D-A) setting the scene.

The Shadows of Knight, version clocked in at a tidy two and a half minutes, but that was too constricting for other groups like the Hangmen, the Blues Magoos, and the Amboy Dukes, all of whom easily exceeded the five-minute mark and turned it into early psychedelic-rock classic.

On the debut studio recording by Them, Van Morrison takes the listener into his confidence, and it’s a little like bragging, He wants to tell us about his baby (on the demo, she’s his “gal”), but aside from her head-to-the-ground measurement, he doesn’t tell us much more. She makes him feel good. Also for some reason, he feels compelled to spell out her name before he says it, “G-L-O-R-I-A,” as though it were something exotic or complicated. so she does whatever she does with Van, and instead of describing what that might be, he spells her name out again. He wants to make sure we get that name right, This woman who’s about five feet, four inches, and her name is G-L-O-R-I-A.

“Gloria” was cut at Decca’s studio in West Hempstead in the summer of 1964, the first Them session. Them had been doing the song live for a while in Ireland clubs, but from all reports, they were not the most adept musicians in the studio, so the producer brought in some ringers, and here’s where the saga of “Gloria” gets a little fuzzy. It’s pretty clear from the audio evidence—compare the demo’s sluggish drumming to the finished studio version—that London’s top session drummer Bobby Graham was recruited. Graham told an interviewer for the Independent that Morrison “was really hostile as he didn’t want session men at his recordings. He calmed down but he didn’t like it.” In addition to Graham, The guitar playing was none other than Jimmy Page , Page: “It was very embarrassing on the Them sessions. With each song, another member of the band would be replaced by a session player…Talk about daggers! You’d be sitting there, wishing you hadn’t been booked.”

There’s something so compelling about the record, the rawness, the sudden startling instrumental leap midway through, Morrison’s intensity, the erotic momentum, the flurry of drums at the end. It was the sexiest thing. And it was stuck on a B-side, It was the flip side of Them’s second U.K. single “Baby Please Don’t Go In England, “Baby Please Don’t Go” charted at numer 10. In America, it was released on Parrot Records, But it was  “Gloria” that got a bit of attention, it was like that with “Gloria” it wasn’t a hit, but all around the world, local bands who discovered it found a Holy Grail. How many group rehearsals everywhere began with “Let’s try ‘Gloria’?” If you hadn’t been playing guitar for very long, this was an instant entry-level classic, and if you were playing gigs and didn’t have many songs in your live arsenal, you could stretch out on “Gloria” for a while, just keep that going. If you had a kid on Vox organ in your combo, it sounded even better.

 

Part of the brilliance of “Gloria” is in its vagueness and ambiguity. It feels explicit, but that’s a trick. The whole song is an ellipsis. Gloria the object of desire, someone who makes it all so easy: she comes up to your room, raps at your door (at a Bottom Line gig years ago, T Bone Burnett compared her knock to the drum beat of Al Jackson Jr. from the M.G.’s), no pining, no scheming. we don’t know if Gloria’s night ends satisfactorily.) The narrative is a sketch, but over the years, some of its interpreters have felt compelled to flesh it out. Leave it to Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix to make the goings-on considerably more graphic. It was a part of the Doors’s set since their early days on the L.A. club circuit (you can hear how the dynamics of “Gloria” got appropriated for the “Light My Fire” climax, the American Morrison went much further in his on-stage embellishments, some of which came out officially on posthumous Doors releases. He addresses Gloria directly, and sometimes there’s a predatory creepiness: “Meet me at the graveyard, meet me after school.” On one released version, he yells, “Here she is in my room, oh boy!” and for nine minutes it’s like a cautionary after-school special: her dad is at work, her mom is out shopping, and he’s giving her instruction: “Wrap your legs around my neck/Wrap your arms around my feet/Wrap your hair around my skin.” He continues  “Hey, what’s your name, how old are you, where’d you go to school?” What’s her name? Is he missing the whole point of this song? here.

Not to be outdone, Jimi Hendrix, on a slamming off the cuff version with the Experience from October 1968, also asks her name she replies (he says), “It don’t make no difference anyway…You can call me Gloria.” Is she a call girl? (That would explain the midnight knocking.) A groupie? More likely. Hendrix mentions that Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding also have “Gloria”s, and there is some kind of “scene” going on that involves the arrival of a pot dealer and, subsequently, the police. “Gloria, get off my chest,” Jimi says. “We gotta get out of here.” Meanwhile, he’s playing some amazing guitar, and Mitchell is just on fire, and the song is a long way from its beginnings with Them.

The song still belonged to Van Morrison, who has had a notoriously ambivalent relationship with some of his earlier hits, but he has almost always stuck with “Gloria” it’s on his landmark live album “Its Too Late To Stop Now”, and he’s revisited it over and over through the years, on record with John Lee Hooker, live with U2 (who not only have done Morrison’s version, but wrote their own song called “Gloria”) and Elvis Costello, on TV with Jools Holland’s big band. But in 1975, Patti Smith found a way to radically reinterpret it by incorporating it into the lead track from her debut album “Horses”. The cut is in two parts, the first part “In Excelsis Deo” starts off with a stark statement of intent  “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” and keeps building and building until Smith through a window, sees a “sweet young thing,” and she’s transfixed. It’s almost unbearably tense, the way Patti’s group coils around the melody, the rising excitement in her voice. It’s midnight (naturally: that’s when this always happens), and the woman comes up the stairs in “a pretty red dress” and knocks on the door, and you don’t even realize it, but the song is sneakily turning into Van Morrison’s: Patti asks the girl’s name. “And her name is…and her name is…and her name is…G…” you know the rest. With this performance, Patti’s done two things. She’s made a breathtaking breakthrough that’s completely new, and connected it with rock tradition (her guitarist Lenny Kaye is steeped in the era of “Gloria,” and compiled the essential garage-rock collection Nuggets). It was a tremendous cultural moment.

Nothing has been able to stop “Gloria” because the song is whatever it needs to be. It’s remained a rock staple. Iggy Pop  has done it live  (and singing “I-G-G-Y-P-O-P”), Joe Strummer’s pre-Clash band the 101’ers had it in their repertoire and so did Bon Scott’s group the Spektors,  On his 1978 tour, Bruce Springsteen often would include it as part of a medley with “She’s The One” and sometimes “Not Fade Away.” R.E.M. was performing it in the eighties, and so was David Bowie, in conjunction with his own “The Jean Genie” .

Some more recent live interpretations stand out. Rickie Lee Jones starts to play it, and after about a minute and a half, it turns into a reminiscence. The band keeps on riffing on those three chords, those chords that give the singer all the freedom in the world to amplify, to comment, to reflect. “I was twelve when this song came out,” she says, “and I have never forgotten, I would never forget, that’s why I will never get old, what it felt like to me as he described this [and here she pauses] girl.” “I’m gonna shout it all night, gonna shout it every day,” the song goes, and if you were around twelve years old when it came out, as Rickie Lee was, or you were more like fifteen or sixteen, as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty were, that shout of ecstasy was something that made possibilities open up for you. And that’s why Springsteen (who introduced it at a 2008 show by saying “Bring it back to where it all started! Follow me boys!”) and Petty can’t stop going back to it. It probably was where it all started, in their nascent rocking days.

Tom Petty makes it almost like a prequel. It became a set-piece for him and his band the Heartbreakers in the late nineties, played the song several times on his Highway Companion Tour in 2006, and he closed most of the shows with it during his twenty-night run at The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco in 1997.  Up to this century, and there are versions floating around, from German TV, from Bonnaroo, where he unspools a story about walking on an uptown street and approaching this woman: “Don’t walk so fast,” he tells her. “I’m a true believer and I loved you at first sight.” She spurns him, she bolts (in one version, she tells him he smells like marijuana), and he’s getting nowhere.

Like Springsteen in the song “Rosalita”  he plays the only card he has. “I got this little rock and roll band,” he says. “Things are going good.” We don’t know what happens, ultimately, except this: all he wants to know is her name, this tiny shred of information. And suddenly, he hears it. Not from her, but from the wind. The wind began to sing her name. At this point, Petty’s audience knows what its part is, and the band has been patiently waiting for this eruptive moment, and like a huge gust of wind, the name rises up from the crowd, louder and louder: “Gloria!” Because even five decades after she first appeared, there’s no one anywhere who doesn’t know who she is, and the power she has.

belladonna

Rhino released Stevie Nicks‘ first two solo albums as multi-disc deluxe editions in November 2016. Bella Donna (1981) and The Wild Heart (1983)  both feature newly remastered audio and previously unreleased studio and live recordings…

Stevie Nicks herself has been very involved in the reissues: “I’ve had so much fun reliving the making of Bella Donna and The Wild Heart while working on the liner notes and listening to all of the alternate versions and demo takes,” she said. “The liner notes are so much more than liner notes. They are like a little novel. I tried to make whoever reads this feel like they were there. I think…I succeeded….”

Produced by Jimmy Iovine and Tom Petty, Bella Donna was a massive success and features the songs “Edge Of Seventeen”, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and “Leather And Lace” (with Don Henley). The 2016 deluxe edition is a three-CD set with the unreleased material (plus two cuts from soundtracks) on disc 2. The third CD focuses on live material.

Back in 1981, Stevie Nicks took a risk and released her first solo album titled Bella Donna. Although the album was a her first work outside of Fleetwood Mac, and many questioned if she could hold her own as a solo artist, the album ended up being well perceived and achieved massive success.

The opening title track of the album, “Bella Donna,” was one of the proudest moments of the album. After a long search, we have dug up, and uncovered an alternative version of the song! This version is more of a studio outtake and demo, but there are some slight differences from the original. The most noticeable difference being, this version is a little more stripped back. It contains less guitars and more synths, therefore you can hear Stevie’s voice a lot clearer. There are other slight differences you may notice throughout the song as well!

“‘Bella Donna’ is a term of endearment I use and the title is about making a lot of decisions in my life, making a change based on the turmoil in my soul. You get to a certain age where you want to slow down, be quieter. The title song was basically a warning to myself and a question to others. I’m thirty-three years old, and my life has been very up and down in the last six years.”– Stevie Nicks, 1981.

The Wild Heart couldn’t quite repeat the chart-topping success of its predecessor, but it still did very well, peaking at number five on the US album chart. The deluxe is a two-CD set and features unreleased versions of All The Beautiful Worlds and Dial The Number amongst the bonus material.

The Bella Donna and The Wild Heart deluxe editions released on 4th November 2016. The remastered albums (without bonus tracks) will be reissued on vinyl too.

Bella Donna deluxe edition

CD 1
1. Bella Donna (Remastered)
2. Kind of Woman (Remastered)
3. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) [Remastered]
4. Think About It (Remastered)
5. After The Glitter Fades (Remastered)
6. Edge of Seventeen (Remastered)
7. How Still My Love (Remastered)
8. Leather And Lace (Remastered) – Stevie Nicks & Don Henley
9. Outside The Rain (Remastered)
10. The Highwayman (Remastered)

CD 2
1. Edge of Seventeen (Early Take)
2. Think About It (Alternate Version)
3. How Still My Love (Alternate Version)
4. Leather And Lace (Alternate Version)
5. Bella Donna (Demo)
6. Gold And Braid (Unreleased Version)
7. Sleeping Angel (Alternate Version)
8. If You Were My Love (Unreleased Version)
9. The Dealer (Unreleased Version)
10. Blue Lamp (From “Heavy Metal”) [Remastered]
11. Sleeping Angel (From “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”) [Remastered]

CD 3
1. Gold Dust Woman (Live 1982) [Remastered]
2. Gold And Braid (Live 1982) [Remastered]
3. I Need To Know (Live 1982) [Remastered]
4. Outside The Rain (Live 1982) [Remastered]
5. Dreams (Live 1982) [Remastered]
6. Angel (Live 1982)
7. After The Glitter Fades (Live 1982) [Remastered]
8. Leather And Lace (Live 1982)
9. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (Live 1982) [Remastered]
10. Bella Donna (Live 1982)
11. Sara (Live 1982) [Remastered]
12. How Still My Love (Live)
13. Edge Of Seventeen (Live 1982) [Remastered]
14. Rhiannon (Live 1982) [Remastered]

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T Rex  –  Taverne De L’ Olympia Paris 1971

Limited Edition of 300 – Pressed on Purple Vinyl, The Earliest recorded Live performance by T.Rex whilst still a 3 piece band – Features the single Ride A White Swan All royalties go to Light Of Love foundation for The Marc Bolan School Of Music.

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Lou Reed –  American Poet (Deluxe Edition)

Recorded live at Alice Tully Hall, NYC, January 27, 1973. Re- Packaged with completely new design photos and liner notes housed in deluxe card gatefold sleeve – Re mastered audio. CD Contains additional bonus disc of Unreleased U.S broadcast of the very first ‘proper’ Lou Reed solo show before the global Hit Walk On The Wild Side’. Contains classic Velvet Underground tracks’ I’m Waiting for the Man, Heroin, Sister Ray, Sweet Jane, and White Light White heat.

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Woods  –  Live At Third Man Records

There are certain bands in this supersaturated, hyper-fragmented, temperamental internet era that rise above ephemeral popularity not because they perpetually reinvent themselves or stay ahead of trends or make headlines with crazy antics or write a mega hit or have a super dreamy frontperson… there are certain bands that rise above because of one characteristic that trumps all others: consistency. Woods is one of those bands, and their wheelhouse is a decidedly mellow blend of folk, psych, soul, and funk that’s wise beyond its years in timbre and lyric. It’s a comforting kind of music Woods makes. It doesn’t take you anywhere you don’t want to go, even if they world they depict is less and less hospitable with every passing day. It’s a soundscape reflective of the world it was created in, and its lack of call-it-action and angst makes it endlessly listenable for those of us with regrettably overactive minds. With over ten years and nine studio records under their belt, this Brooklyn band also runs their own label and 2-day festival at Big Sur, and has carved out a loyal legion of appreciators who extol their steadfast artistry and work ethic. We got to see the Nashville Chapter of this legion, as well as a whole slew of new members, at their live taping in our Nashville Blue room, Monday May 2nd. All captured on their Live at Third Man Records LP.

Neil young peace trail

Neil Young  –  Peace Trail

Neil Young releases the brand new studio album Peace Trail on Reprise Records. Peace Trail features all new songs that Young wrote since the release of his album Earth in June. This new album is primarily acoustic and reflects an intimate, sparse approach to each of the ten songs within. The album was recorded at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Studios and features Young on vocals and guitar, Jim Keltner on drums, and Paul Bushnell on bass. It was produced by Young and John Hanlon .

Live at urchin studios

Lucy Rose – Live At Urchin Studios

Live at Urchin Studios is Lucy Rose’s latest record, recorded in just one hour in front of a live audience at Urchin Studios, London. Rose has spent the last year touring mostly acoustically, not just in the UK and Europe but India, Turkey and for 8 weeks in Latin America where she lived with fans and played gigs every night for free. It was during this experience that she decided to record an acoustic live record with fellow bandmate Alex Eichenberger as many fans wanted to be able to listen to the songs again in this stripped down fashion. The record consists of six songs from Rose’s first LP, Like I Used To, and four from her second, Work It Out. The album is stripped back, raw, real, full of emotion and made entirely for the fans. Each song finds a new home in this intimate setting and highlights the stunning songwriting and vocals of an evolving artist.

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Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – The Complete Studio Albums Volume 1 (1976-1991)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers commemorate the 40th anniversary of their self-titled debut album by releasing two companion vinyl box sets featuring their entire studio album repertoire. Several of these albums have been out of print on vinyl for years and all albums have been remastered for this release except where noted. All LP’s in each of the limited-edition box sets are pressed on 180-gram vinyl with replica artwork.

The Complete Studio Albums Volume 1 (1976-1991) features nine vinyl albums and features:

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
You’re Gonna Get It!
Damn The Torpedoes
Hard Promises
Long After Dark
Southern Accents
Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough)
Full Moon Fever
Into The Great Wide Open

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Most Tom Petty fans thought they would never see one Mudcrutch album, let alone two. Tom Petty has reconvened his early band MudcrutchPetty, Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell, Tom Leadon and Randall Marsh – for a second set of rootsy country-rockers.  The album includes seven originals written by Tom Petty, with his bandmates each composing one track.

To catch everyone up on Heartbreakers’ trivia, the backstory goes that in 1974, a scraggly Florida outfit with the unwieldy name of Mudcrutch —bassist/singer/songwriter Petty along with keyboardist Benmont Tench, Tom Leadon and Mike Campbell on guitars and drummer Randall Marsh — headed to L.A. to find fame and fortune. They recorded a few tunes and soon disbanded. But since Petty was signed to the Shelter label, he kept Tench and Campbell added new members and the Heartbreakers was born.

In 2008, Petty unexpectedly revived the name, brought back Leadon and Marsh from obscurity and released what became Mudcrutch’s belated debut. That disc’s loose-limbed yet winning mix of covers and originals was a little looser and more rootsy than Petty’s typical fare and even though he was clearly the frontman, Tench and Leaden took a few lead vocals.

Eight years and two Heartbreakers albums later, Petty gives the venture another go-round, now booking a tour to support it. This one ups the energy a few notches, especially on the pounding garage pulsing “Hope” which, with its cheesy Farfisa organ sounds like a pretty good Standells B-side. Tench takes another vocal turn on the dryly humorous boogie-woogie “Welcome to Hell” and guitarist Campbell gets a rare chance to sing on his lone writing contribution, the chugging “Victim of Circumstance,” finding ground somewhere between Petty and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Even drummer Marsh takes a frontman status on his perfectly acceptable “Beautiful World,” proving himself both a respectable singer and capable of churning out at least one solid pop-rocker.

Not surprisingly Petty contributes the bulk of the material — this disc is all originals — with seven new tunes (out of 11), all of them up to the high standards he has set for himself throughout his stellar 40-and-counting year career. Even Tom Petty experts would have trouble telling the first three tracks aren’t new Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers tunes since they ride that well established sweet spot between chiming Byrds-influenced rocking and impossible to resist choruses. That’s particularly true of “Dreams of Flying,” a mid-tempo nugget every bit as good as his best work.

The closing six minute “Hungry No More” is this album’s epic answer to the debut’s sprawling 9 minute “Crystal River,” giving Campbell and Leadon room to weave their guitars around a strummy, emotionally laced Petty ballad that incorporates a bit of a psychedelic vibe, not something you’d likely hear in a set from his full time ensemble.

As usual, Petty makes it seem easy. And with help from his fellow Mudcrutchers, the unassumingly titled 2 is proof that even Tom Petty’s modest side projects are better and more compelling than many acts at their best.

Mudcrutch.

(Photo by Brantley Gutierrez)

After resurrecting his old band, Mudcrutch, a couple of years back, Tom Petty has set a course to make them a viable side act for his own work with the Heartbreakers.

Along with the recent release of their second album Mudcrutch 2, Petty has brought in actor/director Sean Penn along with Samuel Bayer to helm the video for the track I Forgive It All and, to add icing to the cake, award winning actor Anthony Hopkins to star in the piece.

The track appears on the band’s second album, Mudcrutch 2.

The band – who consist of Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Tom Leadon and Randall Marsh – formed in Gainesville, Florida in 1970. They broke up in 1975. Petty reformed the band in 2007, and they finally released their self-titled debut the following year.

Official Music Video for “I Forgive It All” From Mudcrutch
Directed by Sean Penn & Samuel Bayer
Starring Anthony Hopkins

“I Forgive It All” – Written By Tom Petty

Tom Petty changed the lyrics to the Dylan classic “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando last weekend. You can see it at about the four-minute mark in the fan-filmed clip above.

Petty, performing with his revived pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch, played a version of Dylan’s 1973 song midway through his set last night at the House of Blues in Boston. In the third verse, he notably altered Dylan’s original line of “Ma’, take my guns and put them in the ground.” In the new version, Petty replaced “guns” with “automatic weapons,” a clear reference to the tragic events that unfolded at a gay nightclub in Petty’s home state of Florida.

At least 49 people were killed in the killing rampage, with many others still clinging to life. The incident has sparked a wave of responses from musicians everywhere.

Tom Petty has often a place for the song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” in his concert sets, including recent Mudcrutch stops at New York’s Webster Hall and Philadelphia’s Fillmore – though there have not been reports of any lyrical updates at those shows. Mudcrutch, whose members also include Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench .

Petty and his Heartbreakers memorably toured with Bob Dylan in 1986 as Dylan backing band , just before they co-founded the Travelling Wilburys with George Harrison Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.

Mudcrutch“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” (Dylan Cover) Live in Boston 15th June 2016 With Orlando Shooting Lyrics, Tom Petty Changes The 3rd Verse In Tribute To The Victims Of The Orlando Nightclub Shooting. at the Boston House Of Blues.

 

tom petty

If you are a Tom Petty fan you will know that his 1994 album Wildflowers is among his greatest works. Spawning hits like “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” “You Wreck Me and “It’s Good To Be King” . Wildflowers began Tom Petty’s fruitful relationship with producer Rick Rubin, who would also go on to helm the Heartbreakers’ soundtrack to “She’s the One” and their underrated 1999 album Echo.

In exciting news for fans of that particular era, Petty is readying the release of Wildflowers – All The Rest, a new collection of songs written between 1992-94 but left off the original album. Tom Petty shared the first of those songs the gliding, gorgeous “Somewhere Under Heaven.”

The new song was co-written by Heartbreaker guitarist Mike Campbell and it certainly hearkens back to the golden era of Petty’s sound. It speaks to his genius that a song as amazing as “Somewhere Under Heaven” could be abandoned and completely forgotten, but apparently that’s exactly what happened. Speaking to Rolling Stone last year, Petty said “I did not remember writing it, recording it, anything,” adding that when the song was rediscovered, he found it to be “really good – uptempo but very unusual, in some strange time signature.”

While there’s still no release date for Wildflowers – All The Rest (which Rolling Stone says will include 10 unreleased songs), “Somewhere Under Heaven” will appear over the closing credits of the new “Entourage” movie opening today.

Tom Petty and his early, pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch have a new album “Mudcrutch 2″ now available. The band — which features Petty on bass and is comprised of Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, along with rhythm guitarist Tom Leadon and drummer Randall Marsh — released their self-titled debut in 2008 nearly 40 years after originally forming in Gainesville, Florida.

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Writing a great song is tricky enough, but writing a standout duet is an even more difficult bit of business than that. After all, you have to make room for two contrasting perspectives without pulling the song apart at the seams in the process. And, since the majority of duets are inter-gender, you have to be able to write believably for the opposite sex.

Most people would agree that Tom Petty pulled off one of the great duets in rock history when he penned “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and joined Stevie Nicks on the justly celebrated recording. The only problem with that story is that the song wasn’t meant to be a duet at all.

As Petty recalled to author Paul Zollo in the book Conversations With Tom Petty, the Fleetwood Mac chanteuse was enamored with his music and wanted him to write a song for her. “Stevie came to me around ’78,” he said. “And she was this absolutely stoned-gone, huge fan. And it was her mission in life that I should write her a song. And we were a little wary of Stevie. We didn’t quite know whether to like Stevie or not, because we kind of saw this big corporate rock band, Fleetwood Mac, which was wrong, they were actually artistic people. But in those days, nobody trusted that sort of thing and we just kept thinking, ‘What does she want from us?’”

Nicks was persistent and Petty eventually attempted a song for Nicks to be included on her first solo album. He wrote a ballad called “Insider,” but when the two sang it together, Petty liked it so much he decided to keep it for himself. He included it on The Heartbreakers’ 1981 album Hard Promises, even using a line from the song to give the album its name.

At the time that this was occurring, Jimmy Iovine, who was Petty’s producer and also was lined up to produce Nicks’ album Bella Donna, asked Tom about another song from the Hard Promises sessions with lyrics by Petty and music by Heartbreaker guitarist Mike Campbell. The Heartbreakers (with Donald “Duck” Dunn filling in for the band’s usual bassist Ron Blair) had finished “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” right down to Petty’s lead vocal, but Iovine persuaded him to give this track to Nicks after he had taken “Insider” back.

As a result, what you hear in the recording that became a #3 Billboard hit in 1981 is Nicks singing on top of the Heartbreakers recording. In the verses, Petty’s vocals, with the exception of a couple lines, were wiped away to make room for Nicks. To keep up the appearance of a duet, Nicks sang with Petty’s vocal in the refrain, actually taking the high harmony part since Petty already had the main vocal line covered.

The funny thing is that the song works better as a duet. It’s got a typically sturdy Heartbreakers foundation, featuring Campbell’s moaning guitar and Benmont Tench’s creeping keyboard. Nicks is right at home in this bluesy backdrop, imbuing Petty’s conversational lyrics with oodles of fiery attitude and a tinge of genuine hurt. “This doesn’t have to be the big get even,” she warns the guy who comes “knocking on my front door” with the “same old line.” “It doesn’t have to be anything at all.”

Having Nicks take the lead puts an interesting spin on the cautionary lines from the final verses (“Make a meal of some bright-eyed kid/ You need someone looking after you.”) Normally this would be the thing that the older guy would say to the young girl, maybe even in condescending fashion. Since it’s the woman making that statement, it levels the playing field. The guy is reduced to telling her that he’s onto the fact that, though she might be protesting at the moment, she’s the one who’s making the decision to leave: “I know you really want to tell me goodbye/ I know you really want to be your own girl.”

Petty’s lyrics are stinging and evocative in the run up to the refrain: “Baby you could never look me in the eye/ Yeah you buckle with the weight of the words.” The play on the phrase “weight of the world” is telling, because that’s the kind of pressure this fading relationship seems to be exerting on the principals. It all leads up to the title’s desperate plea for mercy, Petty and Nicks both going to the top of their registers to highlight the urgency, “Stop draggin’ my/ Stop draggin’ my/ Stop draggin’ my heart around.”

There are so many tantalizing hypothetical scenarios here. Would Petty’s solo vocal take have become quite as big a hit? Would Nicks have taken the intensely personal “Insider” and made it universal as well? As always, fate has the final answer. And the answer is that, to reach its full potential, “Stop Draggin My Heart Around” simply needed two to tango.