Aug 242010

The first thing that strikes me about the Classic Albums series’ making-of documentary of Tom Petty & The HeartbreakersDamn the Torpedoes is the British Invasion-era guitar porn that was on display in the early days of the band. There are all varieties of Rickenbackers, including the relatively cheapo one that Tom holds on the album cover and that John Lennon played in early Beatles’ shots. I came real close to buying one of those in high school, but I didn’t like the way it played. There are the classic Ricks, both 6- and 12-string variety. There’s Tom playing a Flying V and a Firebird. Mike Campbell plays some cool guitars, too, mostly along the classic Fender and Gibson lines, but nothing beats a shot of Tom playing a 12-string Vox! Now, that’s cool!

Early on Petty and his mates speak of the band’s mix of British Invasion and southern rock and soul. As Petty, Campbell, and producer Jimmy Iovine, the latter looking like a modern-day James Caan character in the best-preserved Members’ Only jacket on the planet, sit at the mixing board and breakdown the smash hits from this album it all seems so simple – too simple. You might find yourself thinking, “Gee, Petty’s whole bag is so simple why don’t more people make records this solid? Shoot, why didn’t I make this album?” It’s part of the magic of Tom Petty and his band that such a straightforward, traditional sound backing such straightforward, down-to-earth lyrics can work so well, especially on Damn the Torpedoes, which for me has always been the one Petty album (Greatest Hits excluded) worth spinning more or less from start to finish.

Iovine, we learn, was recruited to produce the band’s third album, after two albums with early champion Denny Cordell. The band loved his work on Patti Smith Group‘s “Because the Night, ” especially the big drum sound, which was engineered by Shelly Yakus, who for my money is one of the stars of this video. Despite the band’s emphasis on getting a big drum sound – or maybe because of it – there were doubts about the abilities of drummer Stan Lynch, who would be let go from or leave the band a few albums later. Petty and Iovine do not comment on Lynch, but Yakus and the other band members discuss Lynch’s penchant for playing way behind the beat as well as his renegade spirit, which seemed out of character with the rest of the wholly focused, support members of Petty’s band. Ron Blair and Benmont Tench suggest that Petty and Iovine were behind efforts to replace Lynch, which included a couple of weeks of auditioning other possible drummers. Weird! One of the things that’s always attracted me to Damn the Torpedoes is Lynch’s drumming and the way the record presents the drum sound. Lynch is interviewed as well, and he seems like a reasonable guy about the whole affair, which is pretty cool. The band members seem so reasonable you may find yourself thinking, “Why didn’t I make this album with my reasonable bandmates?”

The confidence and competence of Petty and his bandmates are impressive. Benmont Tench is as clear-headed and articulate as you would expect a guy named Benmont to be. Man, who wouldn’t want Tench and Campbell in their band? There’s a clear sense of hierarchy and lack of ego among the band members, and you can tell they sincerely rally behind their leader, who comes off like the smartest dude who’s smokin’ in the boys’ room.

A few quibbles with this documentary compared with previous Classic Albums episodes: The synchronization/sound from board when isolating tracks is sloppy. Campbell and the person rolling tape off camera aren’t always on the same page. Individual tracks aren’t given much time, and too often the band members’ voices, as they talk about a part, are much louder than the track I want to hear. Compare the mixing board scenes with the spirited, clearly audible segments from the Who’s Next episode as an example of what’s lacking. Of course, The Who documentary involved a much more animated, pushing-at-the-boundaries group of musicians. In terms of overall tone, a better comparison with the Damn the Torpedoes doc might be the Classic Albums episode of Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon, which soberly captured the work of another band of focused craftsmen.

Also most likely a function of the musicians being featured and their working practices, this doc seemed a little thin on stories behind the songwriting and arrangements. Sometimes I’d hear Petty talk about how he wrote some incredibly catchy song in 10 minutes and think to myself, “Why didn’t I use my 10 minutes of inspiration to such effect?”


  46 Responses to “VIDEO INSTA-REVIEW: Classic Albums: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ Damn the Torpedoes

  1. Tom Petty does absolutely nothing for me. If he’s so enthralled with the sound of the 60s, why would he allow the members of his band, specifically the drummer and bassist, to play with chops more geared to someone like Bryan Adams or Eddie Money.

    Honestly, I don’t hear much of a difference between Bryan Adams or Tom Petty. A turd is a turd.

    And one more thing, any time Jeff Lynne gets involved in a project, the whole thing goes down the shitter. Whether any Lynne produced band wants it or not, Lynne tells the engineer to flip on the “Bruce Springsteen gun shot snare” during all recording sessions, and when the band leaves, bad synthlike sounds are added for some sort of texture.

    And Petty thinks he’s the second coming of Christ.

    E. Pluribus

  2. I like Tom Petty. And his band is beyond reproach.

    He’s not a genius by any stretch of the imagination. He’s a solid, workman-like,”B curve” rocker (not damning with faint praise here, I mean it in a good way).

    No albums are solid through and through but that’s fine with me because I’ve always like songs better than albums anyway.

    Jeff Lynne, on the other hand, is horrendous.

  3. misterioso

    epluribusgergely wrote:

    “Honestly, I don’t hear much of a difference between Bryan Adams or Tom Petty.”

    Fair enough, as long as one understands that not HEARING the difference and there not BEING a difference are two different things.

    “Petty thinks he’s the second coming of Christ.”

    Hmm, could be. No more relevant, really, than a discussion of Peter Noone’s teeth, though.

    And setting aside the virtues or not of Jeff Lynne’s production, he had nothing to do with Petty until the late 80s.

  4. CDM,

    His band is beyond reproach. They’re an Econobuy rock band, and they’ve been getting away with it for years. More ado has been made out of that combo’s chops for the last 20 years or so, and they’ve done nothing that a pick up band for Chuck Berry couldn’t do in a two hour practice.

    E, Pluribus

  5. Mr. Moderator

    I’ll take Petty’s Greatest Hits over The Byrds’ Greatest Hits any day!

    I agree with a lot of what KingEd’s getting at. You think about the total stoner dudes in your high school. One of those dudes was secretly ambitious and, today, is the manager of a successful car dealership or something like that. That’s Petty.

    E. Pluribus complains that there’s no difference between Petty and Bryan Adams. I disagree. Petty has mastered the art of mediocrity! He’s consistently turned out really catchy, kind-of meaninful rock ‘n roll for the somewhat inarticulate. If all mediocre and sub-mediocre artists who are trying to communicate with the somewhat inarticulate could reach the level of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers the music world would be a much better place.

    As others have mentioned, the Jeff Lynne factor has nothing to do with early Petty albums (or later ones, for that matter). And I’ve never gotten the sense that Petty thinks he’s God. He just seems ultra-confident. More musicians should feel ultra-confident, whether you dig their music or not.

  6. Mod, as far as your specific points on Petty, I agree with all that you have said. Your taking Petty’s hits over those of the Byrds, however, is a matter you need to work through with your spiritual advisor.

    E. Pluribus

  7. The important questions always go unanswered.

    What did the caterer serve?

  8. mockcarr

    I don’t know if I’ve seen bits of what’s in this documentary, but I think Petty’s aware of what his limitations are. He’s not writing rock operas and seven-part elaborate songs, that’s not where his ambition lies. He doesn’t write lyrics festooned with heavy philosophical, portentous content, he remains pretty straightforward. I agree with cdm’s B curve grade, he misses the honor roll, because he has too many C’s but plenty of A’s to make it even out.

  9. alexmagic


    We all know that Tom Petty has occassionally dabbled in the world of acting – his TV voice work, his highly-acclaimed work in the field of music videos, the way he stole Kevin Costner’s The Postman out right from under the actor/director.

    What if Petty had decided to devote himself more evenly to the acting portion of his career post Damn The Torpedoes? I am asking you to name five film (or substantial starring/co-starring television) roles post-1979 that Tom Petty could have stepped into and performed as well, if not better, than the actor he would have replaced.

    *Completely unrelated to anything in this thread.

  10. Mr. Moderator

    GREAT side-thread, alexmagic. Thanks! Three roles immediately come to mind:

    For starters, Tom could have played the Dwight Yoakam role in Slingblade, which Yoakam obviously modeled after Petty. As good as Yoakam did in that role, imagine how much better Petty would have occupied it, all the while skirting the distractions a hatless Yoakam caused viewers.

    Dazed and Confused would have benefitted from Petty playing the local car dealership owner and uncle of the Wiley Wiggins character. We would learn that Petty’s character was an earlier version of Matthew McConaughey’s Wooderson.

    Petty’s sly sense of humor and quiet confidence would work well as a slightly downtrodden detective-out-of-water in a bustling Boston police station on a new USA series entitled Won’t Back Down.

  11. To be more specific, your typical mediocre high school music fan had a little bit of everything (“I like all kinds of music”) including Journey, Eddie Money, Bryan Adams, etc. In other words, the fan’s taste is terrible.

    Your typical “just a notch above mediocre” high school music fan had a little bit of everything (“I like all kinds of music, but I can get a little crazy too”) including Journey, Eddie Money, Bryan Adams, Tom Petty, and the first two LPs by the Cars. In other words the fan’s taste is generally terrible.

    Petty may be a little bit better than garbage, but to me, there’s no reason to take him out of the garbage bag.

    Maybe it’s me, but I don’t get all this “well, since this sample beer doesn’t taste like pea, I’m going to flop down my money for another one.”

    Okay, he’s a little bit better than mediocre. That’s worth opening the wallet?

    E. Pluribus

  12. I don’t know if such a thing is possible, but Petty would be a passable Kung Fu Mach II on the USA network if the budget was somewhere around 500 bucks per episode.

    E. Pluribus

  13. I like Petty in his short comedy cameos like when he was a member of Gary Shandling’s barber shop quartet on the original Gary Shandling show, or in the following:

  14. As for the contention that Petty is mediocre, I completely disagree. Sure he’s put out his fair share of mediocre tracks but there have been a number of much-better-than-average to near-great tracks as well, and a few unmitigated classics like One Horse Town, American Girl, Even the Losers, etc.

    I like his B curve reliability. That’s was why I voted for him in the Who Would You Hire poll from a while back:

    Are only A plus artists worth a listen? That’s fine if that is the line that you are drawing for yourself. Life is short so why waste time listening to crap. But I personally cast the net a bit wider to include the B curve groups and a few select C’s and D’s as well.

  15. CDM,

    I think we need to define “classic” track. “One Horse Town” is a “classic” track? “One Horse Town” is in the same classsics category as something like “Manic Depression”?

    Heaven help us all.

    E. Pluribus

  16. For me? Yes.

  17. Mr. Moderator

    cdm asks:

    Are only A plus artists worth a listen?

    That’s not what I’m getting at at all! I know “mediocre” has harsh connotations. “Pedestrian” wouldn’t sound any better, would it? I don’t know what the right word is, although I’ll accept your “B curve” terminology. What I’m getting at is that Petty has, at least on the surface, not a lot to offer in terms of the journey toward spiritual realization, at least not for me. I listen to his GH album and Damn the Torpedoes a lot more than you might think. The craftmanship is outstanding. The commitment that Tom and his band give to their music is inspiring. It’s the songs and the playing that I find coming up a bit short in terms of giving me goosebumps/making me tear up in the presence of a higher power/what have you. I’m not sure if there’s an artist who comes closer to making me reach that point of spiritual realization without EVER taking me over the bridge. Does that make sense?

    Take a song like “Here Comes My Girl” (from my perspective, if you will). That’s a killer song, if you ask me! He sings the hell out of it. The band is right where it needs to be. The production excites me. HOWEVER…I’ve never been the kind of guy who feels “my girl” about anyone, not even my actual and beloved wife. I don’t feel whatever it is he feels. I can’t be sure if he really feels anything, but he and his band project as if they do. Because they do it so well I usually can imagine what it is someone might feel, but the sentiments of his songs – as well as the conceptually outstanding arrangements – don’t hit me in some way that touches my soul. I think Mike Campbell is an excellent guitarist and does just what’s needed for those songs, but he’s never played a solo or lick that’s made me feel the presence of a higher power. I know talk of a “higher power” makes some of you uncomfortable, but for me that’s what separates the “A” artists from the “B” artists. Some B artists, like The Hollies, occasionally bear witness to the presence of the spirit, or whatever you want to call it, but for all Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ commitment to the sacraments, as I’ll call the musical characteristics of Dylan, The Stones, The Beatles, The Band, and even the best of The Byrds, I don’t FEEL the spirit. Believe me, this is one of my A-level criticisms. We should all get so close to the spirit with our own music. For a major artist who’s conducted himself admirably and displayed almost nothing but good taste, I’m simply find it amazing that Petty’s music doesn’t get over the hump for me. It totally pleases me, but – rarely – gives me goosebumps. I just thought of on goosebump-inducing moment in a Petty song: that one with the chorus that talks about rolling another joint. That’s the most heartfelt and identifiable – for me – thing I’ve ever heard come out of his mouth.

    So the term I should have used was not “mediocre” or “pedestrian” but whatever you would call something having absolutely nothing to do with spiritual matters. I’m so NOT religious in a formal way that the language of religion is foreign to me. Am I looking for the opposite of “sacred?”

    My feelings on this matter are highly personal and, unlike EPG, perhaps, I won’t hold you to them. Just want make sure you know where I’m coming from. Thanks.

  18. Mr. Moderator

    SECULAR! That’s the word I wish could be used to describe Petty’s music, if that term didn’t carry around such positive baggage when we talk about the arts.

    “White bread” is too negative a term. If you can accept that music pretty much IS my spiritual center (as opposed to “spiritual music”) then my use of the term secular may make more sense than “mediocre” or “pedestrian.”

  19. 2000 Man

    I always thought Petty was a great second tier kind of act. Yeah, he should headline. But he should headline House of Blues, not 20,000 seaters. Obviously in every town there’s 19,999 people that disagree with me, but that’s my cross to bear. Petty had a good start. His first album had some songs that set him a little apart from the pack, the second had that one really good side (I hear it has a first side, but I don’t think anyone has ever played it), and Damn the Torpedoes was swell through and through.

    That was really all he had to say, though. He just keeps saying it over and over. I don’t understand the longevity of his career at all. I mean, I don’t think you should turn on a radio station and hear Roxy Music more than hardly ever these days, but I also don’t think you should hear Tom Petty listened to or discussed by anything other than rock music nerdo’s like us. The Tom Petty footnote should have already been written.

  20. I can only agree with most folks feelings that Petty is solid possession receiver or seven-hole hitter. You can’t program rock n roll to be one high point after another. Listen to only the 5 star songs on your iPod and see how fast listening fatigue sets in.

    Petty has a lot of albums, a lot of average material and only 3 songs really hit the height for me: The Waiting (live version where he plays solo until the chorus), Won’t Back Down (he means it, maaaan) and an off track from Wildflowers called Hard on Me.

  21. BigSteve

    I’m going to suggest that Petty’s and his band’s Southernness is an obstacle in the way of some people being able to fully embrace them.

  22. BigSteve, I think maybe you’ve hit on it. Mod, I get your “mediocre” remark and do not take offense to it. Petty doesn’t elevate the way Bob Dylan does.

    I like Tom Petty. I think he’s very sincere. He knows how to write decent and honest songs. His records are well recorded. He’s worked with some fine engineers and producers. I would include Jeff Lynne in this list, but I understand why he’s not for everyone. I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for “shotgun” snare and phased vocals.

    Mod, you hit on something concerning Mike Campbell’s guitar playing, but this is one of the reasons I like him. He’s an unsung hero and a total guitar god to me. He doesn’t mow you down with a million notes and his playing is in the pocket. Ditto for the rest of the Heartbreakers. They are a GREAT support band for the things they DON’T play as much as the things they do. I love to hear a band play in the pocket. At least my pocket, which may be different from yours. This is what keeps me going back to Dylan shows, too.

    It’s a laid back attitude that may be directly (or indirectly) attributed to their “Southern accent” (Ha!). They’re not in-your-face and “watch us play our asses off” as other bands. It’s far more relaxed and indirect. I don’t think Petty strives for any sort of spiritual awakening because he doesn’t want to impose. He’d rather gripe about the demise of traditional DJs and corporation of Rock than talk about more worldly issues. He’s going to tell you about the drunk guy on Cops rather than Tibet.

    If that makes any sense.

    Even if you dismiss the Lynne tunes from his catalogue, you’ve still got some killer tunes with some awesome playing.


  23. And chickenfrank’s pissed off about the 90 or so posts concerning Herman’s Hermits? Jesus, while we’re at it, let’s give Neil Peart’s travelogue another look!

    E. Pluribus

  24. Mr. Moderator

    BigSteve wrote:

    I’m going to suggest that Petty’s and his band’s Southernness is an obstacle in the way of some people being able to fully embrace them.

    I’ve long sensed that you tune into their Southernness, BigSteve, but honestly, as I like to think I’m one of the most honest people about his hang-ups around here I’ve never tuned into the band’s Southernness, positively or negatively. I know they’re from the South, but any baggage I might have with that part of their make up has never applied, as far as I can remember. They seem as Californian as they are Floridian, or wherever they started.

  25. Mod,
    That’s the difference between the B and A curve folks though, isn’t it? Some kind of intangible spark. But there’s a big difference between mediocre/pedestrian and really-good-but-not-quite-great, although I think you acknowledged that in your post.

    Only part of my post was directed at you, by the way. The other part of it was directed at the kind of person who will call into question the 30 year career of someone who has enough highs for a Great greatest hits collection (as if anyone can sustain momentum for that long), while defending a flash in the pan pop trifle from over 40 years ago by citing their position on the charts (as if that is a reasonable barometer of quality).

  26. Mr. Moderator

    TB, my remarks about Campbell’s guitar playing didn’t mean to suggest that he didn’t play fancy enough or anything like that, just that I don’t get that electricity from his playing that I get from a lot of the guitarists on whom I would would suspect he modeled his style. I agree that he’s an excellent guitarist and one of the keys to my enjoyment of Petty’s music.

    It’s interesting that you and BigSteve ARE tuned into their Southernness. I know you’re Southerners, but my near incomprehension of what it means to be “Southern” was helped by the way you describe Petty as being laid back and not wanting to impose, if those are Southern characteristics you pick up.

    Interesting stuff, and I’m really enjoying the torment that E. Pluribus is undergoing. Until today I had no idea how much Petty annoys him. We’ve spent many a late night discussion Big Rock Issues, but this one never came up before.

  27. And I certainly do not want to imply that laid back attidues and slower pacing is exclusive to the South. I can only speak as a Southerner (The Allmans are more “Southern” than Petty), but I think there are some sensibilities that inform Tom’s music and general attitude.


  28. Please contact me if a reevaluation of Kansas is in the works as well.

    E. Pluribus

  29. 2000 Man

    I don’t ever notice the South in Tom Petty’s music. He seems like he’s from anywhere, or nowhere. Except Detroit. He doesn’t seem gritty enough for that. But I’d believe anywhere else.

  30. BigSteve

    Petty has lived in L.A. for decades, but his vocal style is unthinkable without his Southern accent, and as TB says there are aspects of his lyric sensibility that are unmistakably Southern. I’m not saying anyone is prejudiced for not recognizing this or for not digging his music, but it may contribute to the fact that his songs may not resonate with some people. I think the overall sound of the Heartbreakers is less distinctively regional.

  31. Mr. Moderator

    BigSteve wrote:

    I’m not saying anyone is prejudiced for not recognizing this or for not digging his music, but it may contribute to the fact that his songs may not resonate with some people.

    I’m still shocked that I’m not prejudiced enough to have ever thought of Petty as a Southerner:)


  32. 2000 Man

    I’ll have to pay more attention to Petty’s lyrics, BigSteve. I never noticed a Southern sensibility in his lyrics, and I’ve been finding I really like how a lot of bands from the South that I like can look at things in ways that had never occurred to me. Tommy Womack is clever, Ben Nichols seems to look at things in a way I never thought of, like about girls in New Orleans ignoring him by saying, “All the girls down there knew better than to mess around with me.”

    I’ll have to pay more attention.

  33. I’ve been ofline for a while, but glad to see little has changed.

    I went to see Tom Petty last week (my 8th Tom Petty Show by the way) and there were 16,000 people there, even at $85 – $145 per ticket, by far the most he has ever charged. The show was greatest hits plus FIVE songs from the new CD. At 8 shows, I was more interested in the new song mini-set which was amazing. The hits? he does ALL of them every show, so it was more of the same. Audience was on their feet for the ENTIRE show (only ac/dc have been able to do this at an arena show I’ve attended)

    His songs are deceptively simple. I rarely love them the 1st few spins – Like Steve Miller, they are so basic, so simple so obvious that I can’t come down off of my “I’m into Zappa and Flaming Lips” high horse to really connect. Give that same song (or CD) a few days in the car and things change, his songs get BETTER over time. I think that’s why he has been on a consistant upswing as time goes by. He (and the Hearbreakers) have also become the poster boys for REAL rock and roll (previously held by The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith) no bullshit, no politics, no synths, no hip-hop beat or guest MC.

    Petty’s new record is very good. Not his best, but very listenable (so was Mudcrutch from 2008) Wildflowers is his tour de force post 1980(holds up better than Full Moon Fever)

    Petty moved from the b-list to the A-list for me just about the same time that John Melencamp and REM moved from the A-List to the B-list (of course many of you HATE my A-list choices)

  34. Welcome back, Jungleland. I was wondering what happened to you. And yes, you have the most befuddling A list choices of anyone on this board.

  35. Mr. Moderator

    I second cdm’s “welcome back!”

  36. CDM and jungleland,

    Later on today, I’ve gotta go look at a record collection. Most of it is late 70s, early 80s. I’ve gotta feeling there’s a lot of stuff in there that I should give a second chance. Here’s a few things I need to know should I want to spend money:

    1) Does Cougar’s magic end at “Scarecrow” or are there other gems to be found post “Scarecrow”?

    2) Are there any deep cutz on the Don Henley solo LPs?

    3) I’ve often heard that “The Hold Out” by Jackson Browne is just a bunch of left overs from “Running on Empty”. Hence, the title “Hold Out”. That served the Stones well when they reworked some of the left overs from “Sticky Fingers” for “Exile on Main Street”. Can I expect the same from “The Hold Out”?

    I hope to hear from you soon,
    E. Pluribus

  37. 1) Does Cougar’s magic end at “Scarecrow” or are there other gems to be found post “Scarecrow”?

    Definitely gems to be found. If anything, he sound MORE like he’s from Indiana than ever, if you can imagine that.

    2) Are there any deep cutz on the Don Henley solo LPs?

    Not sure about Henley but Glen Frey put out an album in 1981 called Doodlin’. It’s been long out of print but if you can find it, grab it. Very collectible and a true lost masterpiece.

    3) I’ve often heard that “The Hold Out” by Jackson Browne is just a bunch of left overs from “Running on Empty”. Hence, the title “Hold Out”. That served the Stones well when they reworked some of the left overs from “Sticky Fingers” for “Exile on Main Street”. Can I expect the same from “The Hold Out”?

    I would say that more like his Dirty Work: mostly filler but with a few notable exceptions: the sublime, poignant “Peterbilt Blues”, the raucous “Red Eye Gravy and a Cup of Joe” and the hilarious “Oversized Load”

  38. 2000 Man

    2) Are there any deep cutz on the Don Henley solo LPs?

    Uhh….Don Henley is the devil.

  39. trigmogigmo

    Don Henley may be the devil, but… but… but… in light of this thread’s topic, I will admit there are three moments on “Building the Perfect Beast” that I like quite a bit. The rest of it, no.

    “The Boys of Summer”. Not “deep cutz” of course, being the single. But the coincidence for THIS VERY THREAD: this song is cowritten by Mike Campbell. Oddly, it reeks (in a good way) of having been conceived in Campbell’s home studio with his drum machine pattern making it all the way to the final mix on a supposed drummer’s record. The song is loaded with heartbreak that I cannot resist. Nice Campbell guitar work. (The “Mike Campbell’s demo drum machine composition in the final mix” thing is something I also suspect occurs on “Runaway Trains” and “My Life/Your World” on Petty’s Let Me Up album, and I kinda like it.)

    “Sunset Grill”. Cowritten by … Benmont Tench. The production is very “80’s” (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but I like the ping-ponging synthesizers, soaring fretless bass, a weirdly lovely guitar tone, and perhaps the best part of all, a solo that is clearly a Roland GR-300 guitar synth, reprised at the very long fade-out jam played opposite an actual horn section. Odd. Sonic. Love it.

    “Drivin’ With Your Eyes Closed”. And here we have … cowritten by Stan Lynch, who does not play on the song.

  40. I’ve always thought that “Boys of Summer” was a heartbreaking (Ha!) song. I never knew it was written with Mike Campbell. I might need to get this record.

    Little Johnny Cougar are waters I fear to tread. I might have to break down and go there. Does he have a double greatest hits? That may be all I need. Or do I break down and get the essential records like Scarecrow ? More on this later…

    I’ve never seen Tom, but would like to. I’m sure it’s a GREAT show. I liked the Mudcrutch record, too. I’m also digging Mojo. But I like Tom and the Heartbreakers.


  41. misterioso

    Having loathed John Cougar in his initial iteration(s), it took a lot to admit that there were a few songs that eventually I thought were not bad around Scarecrow and Lonesome Jubilee. But I could never really get around to caring, after that, only got as far as not hating. As for Henley, only got as far as hating.

  42. Mellencamp’s best records were Lonesome Jubilee and Big Daddy..both Post Scarecrow. Also his self titled one from 1998 or 1999 is very good

    Not a fan of Henley or Jackson Brown

  43. BigSteve

    I know it goes against hipster orthodoxy to like anything Don Henley, but I really like that song Last Worthless Evening, also a Stan Lynch co-write.

  44. Henley really strikes me as a douche but I like Boys of Summer and one other song that I can’t think of right now.

    I really like Running On Empty by Jackson Brown. I know it’s flawed but It gets grandfathered in from my youth.

  45. junkintheyard

    Brand me what you will but I find “Doctor My Eyes” to be a toe tapper. Can’t say I gave much else of Jackson Brown’s thought, except maybe running on empty.

  46. I like pretty much all of Jackson Browne: from his first record to The Pretender (killer title track).

    And I like some of Henley’s songs; overall he’s a cut above the usual LA pop confectioners.

    But I do get creeped out by what I would call John Cougar Mellencamp’s fascist tendencies: the jackboot-thud of the snare drum, the “blood and soil” lyrical themes, the unquestioning nationalism.

    Randy Newman’s send-up of JCM in “Piece of the Pie” is pretty funny.

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