Album: Long After Dark
. . .
While Long After Dark was definitely weaker than the two albums that preceded it — and the beginning of a three-album slump that Petty only pulled out of by improbably teaming up with Jeff Lynne — it didn’t mean that there weren’t a few great songs. Of course there were. I mean, we’re talking about Tom Petty here.
Back in 2017, I wrote about “One Story Town” and my beloved deep cut “Between Two Worlds,” but not the joyous-sounding rocker that closed the first side, “Finding Out,” quite possibly because it wasn’t so different from “One Story Town.”
Like “Century City” on Damn The Torpedoes and “King’s Road” from Hard Promises, “Finding Out” was the Big Rock Song To Close Out Side One, and it sounds like it was basically cut live in the studio, as you even hear Petty say an off-mike “alright” to the rest of the band just before Mike Campbell kicks in to his utterly glorious opening lead over Petty’s sustained chords and Stan Lynch & new bassist Howie Epstein’s reliable forward momentum.
As often was the case, Lynch’s drums were augmented by highly audible percussion — producer Jimmy Iovine really didn’t like Lynch’s drumming in the studio — from Phil Jones, all of which gives a big thick bed of sound for Petty to nasal all over.
There’s something wrong, I can’t get my finger on it
I must be looking over something
Sometimes at night, I’ve had to fight with this emptiness
It’s been so hard to see there’s something more than this
As is often the case, it’s the chorus where “Finding Out” finds another gear, in this case a call-and-response between Petty and Lynch, Epstein and keyboardist Benmont Tench, introduced by an utterly guttural “I-I-I-I-I” from Petty and the backing vocalists.
I’m finding out
(I’m finding ouuttttttttttttttttttt)
Yeah it look a little time to get what love was about
But honey, I’m coming around
I’m finding out
It’s a great vocal arrangement, as the backing vocalists go from the call-and-response on “I’m finding out” to harmonies on “But honey, I’m coming round / I’m finding out.” Meanwhile, Mike Campbell squeezes leads on both sides of the bridge, which also features some great harmonies.
I have to thank you, baby, honey I must confess
You have pulled me from this river of loneliness
After that, it’s near chaos–I mean as near to chaos as Petty ever let it get, as Campbell solos into the fade while the occasional “I’m finding out” echos over everything. “Finding Out” wasn’t released as a single — after “I Need to Know,” he didn’t release a straightforward rocker as a single until “Jammin’ Me” — but an unabashed slightly brain-dead rocker might have been a nice change of pace given the moodier songs (“You Got Lucky,” “Straight into Darkness” “Change of Heart”) from Long After Dark he did release.
“Finding Out” live in France, 1982
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