Articles by Jim Connelly

Jim Connelly has been eye-deep in media of all kinds ever since he can remember, and probably prior to that. Over the past quarter-century he has worked in the radio, film, music, and internet industries, and has been writing about popular culture and technology the entire time. Prior to co-founding Medialoper, Jim's work appeared both online and off in publications such as Wired, The Village Voice, Neumu and Websight Magazine . . . Jim at Facebook . . . Jim on Twitter . . .

Certain Songs #1017: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – “Dogs on the Run”

Album: Southern Accents
Year: 1985

For an album that was originally conceived — and sometimes reviewed as — Tom Petty’s big concept album about his heritage, Southern Accents was a bit of a mess.

Stylistically, it was their most diverse album since the debut, and so even beyond the ground-breaking “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” there were anthemic statements like “Rebels,” forgettable white-boy soul workouts like “It Ain’t Nothing to Me,” heartfelt ballads like the title track, and character sketches like “Mary’s New Car.”

(more…)

Certain Songs #1016: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – “Don’t Come Around Here No More”

Album: Southern Accents
Year: 1985

“Hey!”

Unlike the pedestrian “You Got Lucky,” which wed unconvincing synths on the verses to an admittedly anthemic (and yeah, OK, catchy) chorus, the genre-busting “Don’t Come Around Here No More” somehow wed synth-pop, psychedelia, soul and garage rock into something that none of us had ever heard before.

Well, maybe Prince, who was riding high on the cross-pollination of Purple Rain and was just about to release two consecutive albums adding psychedelia to his stew. In fact, Petty even defended “Don’t Come Around Here No More” to his record company by citing “When Doves Cry” as something weird but popular.

Of course, unlike Prince, who made his reputation genre-busting, Tom Petty was savvy enough to do it just this one time, kinda like somebody who dropped acid, had a great time and figured he’d quit while he was ahead.

(more…)

Certain Songs #1015: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – “Cracking Up”

Album: Playback
Year: 1984

The third time I saw Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers in concert, I didn’t have to drive for hours in the late-summer California heat. Nope, the third time, they came to me.

Well, not me specifically, but Fresno. On April 15, 1983, they played an outdoor show at the CSUF Amphitheater, about a thirty-second walk from the KFSR studios.

(more…)

Certain Songs #1014: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – “Between Two Worlds”

Album: Long After Dark
Year: 1982

Despite — or maybe because of — the fact that they’d become one of the biggest bands on the planet, there was no rest for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in the early 1980s. So after the Hard Promises tour they went back into the studio to record their fifth album in 6 years, Long After Dark.

But for at least one Heartbreaker, bassist Ron Blair, the pace was too much, and he left the band, to be replaced by Howie Epstein, who had just come off of a successful run on Welcome Back, Kotter.

But before he left, he got to play bass on one last great TP song, maybe my favorite Tom Petty deep cut: the aching, piano-driven mid-tempo stomp “Between Two Worlds.”

(more…)

Certain Songs #1013: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – “One Story Town”

Album: Long After Dark
Year: 1982

The second time I saw Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was on September 4, 1982, the second night of the first US Festival.

Tim and I and a guy named Mike made the five-hour drive from Fresno, slept two nights in sleeping bags in the dirt parking lot, and endured temperatures as high as 108 in order to see a whole slew of amazing bands — Talking Heads, Police, Fleetwood Mac, Ramones, Kinks — because at 19, I could endure just about anything for rock ‘n’ roll.

(more…)