But here’s the thing: even with everything in complete chaos — by this time, Stan Lynch had moved back to Florida, meaning that he had to fly back to the West Coast for any sessions or rehearals — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were still capable of complete and utter magic when inspiration struck.
A case in point was “You Get Me High,” which was recorded in 1992 before the official Wildflowers sessions commenced in 1993. I haven’t really read why these sessions happened, maybe they wanted to record as just a band with no outside producer for the first time since 1987, or maybe something else was going on. All I know is that “You Get Me High” is one of the great lost Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers songs.
Opening with the sound of a tape coming to speed and featuring a swirling tangle of 12-string guitars from Petty and Mike Campbell, “You Get Me High” gets to the point instantly.
Let’s have another joint on me
Let’s get as gone as we can be
And we’ll float around the ceiling
Cause baby you get me high
There is so much going on here, though: during the third line of the verse there are some ridiculously gorgeous “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” backing vocals from (I assume) Stan Lynch and Howie Epstein while Petty slows down is lead vocals to “float . . . around . . . the ceiling” and then on the line of the verse, Stan Lynch double-times his snare and the “ahhs” continue.
Let’s have a six pack of beer
Sit and watch the walls disappear
And we’ll laugh and talk for hours
Oh baby you get me high
After the second verse, there’s an absolutely tremendous 12-string guitar solo by Mike Campbell, as he enters the psychedelic Byrds mode as befitting a song about using various substances to alternate your consciousness, even if those substances get less mind-altering as the song goes on.
Let’s smoke a pack of cigarettes
Hey how ’bout a menthol?
You haven’t had one of those yet
Yeah we’ll laugh, and cough for hours
In the book Conversations With Tom Petty, the genesis of “You Get Me High” is traced to an onstage improv during their 1992 European tour that they all enjoyed so much, they kept refining it until they were able to record it. And while it didn’t make Wildflowers — it wasn’t part of those songs — you can see how “You Get Me High” is a forbearer to both “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and its b-side, “Girl on LSD.”
Weirdly enough, on the final Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, 2014’s Hypnotic Eye, there’s a song called “U Get Me High,” which before I heard it, I thought might be a remake of this song, but it’s a completely different song, which is probably why Tom used the Prince “U” in the title.
“You Get Me High”
“You Get Me High” live in Germany, 1992
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