Category: Certain Songs

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Certain Songs #1012: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – “You Can Still Change Your Mind”

Album: Hard Promises
Year: 1981

$9.98.

That’s $27.92 in 2017 dollars. And more importantly, it’s what MCA — at that point the worst record company in the world (IMHO for how they treated their reissues of the early Who albums) — wanted to charge for the follow-up to the massively successful Damn The Torpedoes. They’d already done it with the most recent Steely Dan album as well as the Xanadu soundtrack, so why not with one of the most anticipated albums of the year?

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