Jason’s Jukebox: Tom Petty

tom petty

Tom Petty died in 2017, so I made a New Year’s Resolution to write a Jukebox post for him. Although I’m a huge fan of his music, I’ve never gone through all his albums. Time to fix that, I guess.

debutom Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1976) ****

Singles: “American Girl”, “Breakdown”

This is a pretty solid debut, despite it being so short (about half an hour). We get the excellent anthem “Breakdown” , which became so popular that at one concert, the whole crowd sang the first verse and the chorus before Tom could even start.

Best Tracks: “Breakdown”, “Anything That’s Rock n Roll”, “Strangered in the Night”, “American Girl”

you'regonna You’re Gonna Get It (1978) **1/2

Singles: “I Need to Know”, “Here Comes to Girl”

Not quite as good as the debut. Once again, it’s so short and it’s also pretty weak.

Best Tracks: “I Need to Know”, “When the Time Comes”, “Restless”

damn Damn the Torpedoes (1979) ****1/2

Singles: “Refugee”, “Here Comes My Girl”, “Even the Losers”, “Don’t Do Me Like That”

If you ask me, this is the album that belongs in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, not the debut album.  It has Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at their best. Benmont Tench became the band’s “secret weapon” with his multi-talented prowess as a keyboardist and other instruments. The album has many of his best-loved tunes. This is their first totally solid album.

Best tracks: “Refugee”, “Even the Losers”, “Shadow of a Doubt”, “Louisiana Rain”

hardpromisesHard Promises *** (1981)

Single: “The Waiting”

This album came around the time Tom Petty recorded his duet with Stevie Nicks, “Stop Dragging My Heart Around”, on her Bella Donna album. In fact, Stevie Nicks even has a guest appearance on “Insider”. It’s a great follow-up to the previous big-seller.

Best tracks: “King’s Road”, “A Thing About You”, “Insider”

longafter Long After Dark (1982) ***

Singles: “You Got Lucky”, “Change of Heart”

This was the first album to feature Howie Epstein on bass and backing vocals. It was also their MTV debut, with the Mad Max-inspired video for “You Got Lucky”. Epstein has an impressive debut.

Best Tracks: “You Got Lucky”, “We Stand a Chance”, “The Same Old You”

southern Southern Accents (1985) ***

Single: “Don’t Come Around Here No More”

This album was going to be a concept album, but it never panned out. The songs don’t really seem to fit together as concept albums normally do. But it’s not too bad otherwise.

Best Tracks: “Rebels”, “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, “Spike”

letmeupLet Me Up, I’ve Had Enough ** (1987)

Single: “Jamming Me”

This album’s pretty much buried these days. In fact, it’s the only album that doesn’t get a spotlight on the Heartbreakers’ first Greatest Hits compilation.  I think this one of the worst albums, so maybe we didn’t miss anything.

fullmoon Full Moon Fever (1989) ***1/2

Singles: “Free Fallin”, “I Won’t Back Down”, “Running Down a Dream”

This is Tom Petty’s first “solo” album (although technically, some of the Heartbreakers do guest star). It’s a great album, and it even has his fellow Travelling Wilbury Roy Orbison making his final recording on it.

Best Tracks: “Free Falling”, “I Won’t Back Down”, “Yer So Bad”, “Zombie Zoo”

into Into the Great Wide Open **** (1989)

Singles: “Learning to Fly”, “Into the Great Wide Open”

The band comes back and gives us a great return. This is probably one of his most beautiful albums, sound wise.

Best Tracks: “Learning to Fly” ,”King’s Highway”, “Into the Great Wide Open”, “Two Gunslingers”

wildflowers Wildflowers (1994)

Singles: “You Don’t Know How It Feels”, “It’s Good To Be King”, “You Wreck Me”

Of the three “solo” albums, this is the best. It starts Petty’s relationship with Rick Rubin. And you know any time Rick Rubin is producer, you’re guaranteed a great album. This is no exception.

Best Tracks: “You Wreck Me”, “It’s Good to Be King”, “You Don’t Know How It Feels”, “Honey Bee”, “Cabin Down Below”, “Crawling Back to You”

shes She’s the One Soundtrack (1996) *

I’ve seen the movie, but neither the movie nor the soundtrack are great. I’d say skip this.

Best: “Walls”, “Change the Locks”
echo Echo (1999) **

Single: “Free Girl Now”

This isn’t as bad as the last one, but I didn’t enjoy it either.

Best tracks: “Swinging”, “I Don’t Wanna Fight”

lastdj The Last DJ ***1/2 (2002)

Single: “The Last DJ”

This album is basically Tom Petty’s Wish You Were Here, a scathing critique of the music industry.

Best: “The Last DJ”, “Money Becomes King” , “Joe”, “When a Kid Goes Bad”, “Can’t Stop the Sun”

mojo Mojo **1/2 (2010)

Single: “I Should’ve Known It”

Best Tracks: “I Should’ve Known It”, “Let Yourself Go” “Lover’s Touch”

hypnoticHypnotic Eye (2014) ***

I get the feeling this was never intended to be the final album for the band, especially because it was recorded years before Tom Petty’s death. It’s their only album to debut at #1.

Best Tracks: “American Plan B”, “All You Can Carry”, “Power Drunk”




Author: rocklobsterjwt

I am a Christian and an anime fan. My blog will cover anime reviews and maybe an occasional story

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