Album: Into The Great Wide Open
. . .
Back in 2017, in the entry for “Learning to Fly,” I wrote about the slippery Into The Great Wide Open album that I think I underrated it at the time, overrated it later, and in 2017, was back to underrating it.
Well, now I’m back to overrating it. I contain multitudes.
Given its slow beat and soaring 12-string guitar, I think you can excuse me if I’ve always secretly referred to “All The Wrong Reasons” as “Re Fallin’,” because it’s a pretty obvious rewrite of Petty’s biggest hit, musically, if not lyrically.
Trouble blew in on a cold, dark wind
It came without no warning
And that big ol’ house went up for sale
They were on the road by morning
Oh, the days went slow into the changing season
Oh, out in the cold for all the wrong reasons
Which I think works both for it and against it: the Mike Campbell guitar hook that introduces and recurs occasionally is beyond gorgeous, but at the same time, it’s all so blatant, you could be excused if you just wanted to put on “Free Fallin’” again, given that it’s clearly a superior song.
On the other hand, that’s hardly fair: 99% of all songs ever are inferior to “Free Fallin’,” and we’re not grading on a curve here anyways, so on its own merits — and you gotta remember that somebody, somewhere heard “All The Wrong Reasons” before they heard “Free Fallin’,” — it’s pretty fucking great, sporting a massive hook at the end of each verse where some combination of Jeff Lynne, Howie Epstein and Roger McGuinn sing “oooh-whooooa-ooooohhhhh-oohhhhhh” a couple of times.
I said “some combination” because while Lynne & Epstein are credited with backing vocals for the entire album, McGuinn is credited specifically for this song, so he’s gotta be a least one of the vocalists. That said, while Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers put out more than half of the album as singles, looking for a hit that never came — including, famously, a longer version of the title track so they could have a concept video w/ Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway — they didn’t put out this song.
Because they knew if they did, it would be for all the wrong reasons.
“All The Wrong Reasons”
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