Articles Tagged: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Certain Songs #1038: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Forgotten Man”

Album: Hypnotic Eye
Year: 2014

I’ve been stalling on writing this last Tom Petty post, even though it won’t be the last Tom Petty post ever — not with Mudcrutch, Traveling Wilburys and even Stevie Nicks in the alphabetical future, not to mention a couple of the songs that I skipped, like “The Wild One, Forever” or “You Wreck Me,” — it’s definitely the last Tom Petty post for now.

That said: I started immersing myself in his music the day he died — at home, at work, in the car — at first for solace and research, but now for comfort and joy. Turning up the volume of “When The Time Comes” while stuck in LA traffic. Watching YouTube streams of Live From Soundstage or 400 Days on YouTube while working the elliptical in the pre-sunrise morning. Apologizing to Rox that all we’ve been listening to while doing chores or running errands is Tom Petty (“I don’t mind; I love Tom Petty,” she always says).

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Certain Songs #1037: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “I Should Have Known It”

Album: Mojo
Year: 2010

You could see it in the album cover.

There were very few Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers albums that even attempted to feature the entire band on the cover, and only two that truly succeeded. But if you looked closely enough, you could see the entire story of the band in those covers.

The first cover to feature the entire band was their second album, 1978’s You’re Gonna Get It! That cover depicted the band as bunch of serious young dudes — with their calm and confident leader right in the middle who were were clearly focused on a single thing: conquering the entire world.

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Certain Songs #1035: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Have Love Will Travel”

Album: The Last DJ
Year: 2002

For two decades, the Tom Petty Theory — that he’d never make an album that I wouldn’t like — that I came up with way back in 1981 held true and strong.

Until The Last DJ that is, a record that completely repelled me from almost the first listen, and a record that I wrote off after trying to find a way in. I mean, I was never going to care about what zillion-selling Tom Petty felt about the record industry as it tumbled into the new millennium , but what struck me was that I didn’t really like any of the songs musically, either. For the most part, they felt like song fragments looking for a way to cohere.

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Certain Songs #1034: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Swingin'”

Album: Echo
Year: 1999

Poor Howie Epstein.

He joined the Hearbreakers in 1982 after Ron Blair decided to leave the music business, and he probably would still have been with the band when Tom Petty died except for one tiny little fact: he ended up being a junkie.

If you’ve ever been in a band with an addict, then you probably can empathize with what the Heartbreakers went through as heroin took over Epstein’s life. And by the time they recorded Echo, it was clearly a huge fact in the day-to-day operations of the Heartbreakers to the point where Epstein isn’t on the album cover, having missed the photo shoot.

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Certain Songs #1033: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Free Girl Now”

Album: Echo
Year: 1999

All these years later, it’s a footnote, but “Free Girl Now” created a minor controversy when Tom Petty decided to allow it to be downloaded for free from mp3.com for a couple of days, presumably just to see what would happen.

As a publicity stunt for Echo — his first real album with The Heartbreakers since 1991 — it was probably pretty successful: I’m sure that I was one of the people who downloaded it, and there was no way that free download was going to keep me from purchasing the whole album, especially after hearing the song.

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