In anticipation of what I’m sure will be a rockin’ Super Bowl Half-Time show, here’s a look back at Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, circa 1990. You can argue this was Petty at his peak in popularity. He was riding the wave from his very popular first solo album, Jeff Lynne-produced Full Moon Fever, which was released in 1989.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
May 18th, 1990
It’s Super Bowl weekend, folks. Who else out there thinks that either Monday should be a national “recovery” holiday, or the big game should be moved to Saturday to allow for one day of rest before returning to work. More people would show up to work on Monday, productivity would increase, yada yada…
So it’ll be a surprise to no one that, for the second year running, I’m more looking forward to the Half Time Show than the game itself. Last year, Prince bathed in the Purple Rain at Dolphin Stadium to rave reviews, and this year, Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers will get their chance to wow the millions upon millions of viewers right across town from me in Glendale, Arizona. I’ve seen TP about a half dozen times over the years, and have never been disappointed. I’m glad he’ll have his moment in the spotlight, he deserves it.
Predictions: “Free Falling” opener, “American Girl”, “Shout”, and “Running Down a Dream”.
And look for a Benmont Tench nip-slip at 2:23 of “Running Down a Dream”.
To get us psyched up for Super Bowl weekend, let’s take a trip back to last year’s amazing half-time show, courtesy of our purple friend…..
I guess it was a year ago about this time when I professed my love for The Missing Years album. Another track popped up tonight while I was holding my youngest daughter, getting ready to give her a bath. I immediately stopped in my tracks, and we spent the next four and a half minutes dancing and spinning. What a look of joy on her face. Goosebump moments.
Non-parents have already moved on to the next web site, but you parents know how it is – those spontaneous moments out of nowhere where your child can somehow convince you – just with an expression or a gleam in her eye – that all is right with this world. Escapism in its purest, most innocent (not to mention healthiest) form.
So it’s this song that I’ve absolutely loved since the record came out back in 1991. It’s the joyful, reeling melody, combined with Prine’s witty and beautiful lyrics. I mean look at this verse:
Life is a blessing, it’s a delicatessen
Of all the little favors you do.
All wrapped up together no matter the weather,
Baby you always come through.
It’s a measure of treasure that gives me the pleasure
Of loving you the way I do
And you know I would gladly say I need your love badly
And bring these little things to you.
Who else but John Prine could craft that?
So listen up, and if you have a spare few moments with your kid, give him or her a whirl with this one…
John Prine – You Got Gold (mp3) – from The Missing Years (Boss fans – Bruce and Prine duet on “Take a Look at My Heart”, reason enough to pick up the album – and so do Tom Petty and Bonnie Raitt)
John’s most recent album is a collection of old school country & western standards with bluegrass legend Mac Wiseman. It’s a great ride, and definitely puts me in a great place each time I hear it. Here’s a taste of what you’re in store for….
I ask you, what better way to kick off a weekend than with vintage Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers? Here’s a nice little set from early 1980 during a two night stand at the Hammersmith-Odeon in London town.
It’s nice to hear such great quality footage of a young and vibrant Tom Petty. He and the Heartbreakers still put on an amazing show, mind you, and every music lover should make it a point to see them live at least once – but this Tom Petty: the young, angry smartass – this is the live Tom Petty to behold.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
March 7th, 1980
FM Broadcast (KBFH)
Anything that’s Rock n Roll
Even The Losers
I Need to Know
Don’t do me Like That
Cry To Me
Too Much Ain’t Enough
Whether you’re familiar with John Prine or not, you should at least make yourself familiar with The Missing Years. Produced by the late Howie Epstein of the Heartbreakers, and including such special guests as Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt, and the Boss himself, the album is full of warm melodies, and funny & insightful lyrics. You can end the weekend just right by listening to this tune…
The Ickmusic Hero of the Month is Arthur, who hooked me up in a trade with the Feb. 14 and Feb. 15, 2004 Prince aftershows at the Fillmore in San Francisco. The quality is superb, the set lists are amazing, and I’ve been one happy Prince fan the last few days. The parts that really hit me are hearing Prince reach back into his catalog for the old favorites. “The Beautiful Ones”, “Adore”, “Sign o the Times”, “Let’s Work”, “The Question of U”, “D.M.S.R.”, “I Feel For You”, and so many more (even the Time’s “777-9311” – which of course was a Jamie Starr production).
It brought me around again to wondering what is happening today. How 3121 was released back in March, and beyond the publicity blitz around that time with him and his latest protege Tamar, we have yet to see a tour. Meanwhile, his official site closed down due to a trademark issue, and Tamar’s CD has apparently been scrapped. See this 8/31 article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press for a look at the current state of affairs…
Secrets shroud Prince more than purple ever did
by Ross Raihala
Last week, Rhino Records quietly slipped the double-CD compilation “Ultimate Prince” into stores, five months after its original street date. Fans of the Purple One might remember back in March, when “Ultimate Prince,” which features one disc with his biggest hits and a second with hard-to-find remixes, was scheduled for release a week before his latest studio album, “3121.”
But at the last minute, Prince coerced Rhino (which is owned by his old nemesis, Warner Bros.) into delaying the compilation, lest it compete with “3121.” And it truly was an eleventh-hour decision, as “Ultimate Prince” appeared in that Sunday’s circulars for the big-box stores, and promotional copies of the set had already shipped to the media. (At the time, those rare promos were selling for up to $180 on eBay.)
– read the entire article
So suffice to say I hope everything steadies its course in Prince’s world, and he gets back to what he does best: making and performing his music, and please, more aftershows like these!
I thought I’d post this video since there are a good number of folks who have not seen Prince tear up the stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2004 ceremony (the year Prince was inducted). Prince’s guitar solo during “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, the all star tribute to George Harrison, was a show stealer to say the least. This performance won praise from Prince fans and non-Prince fans alike. Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are showcased during the first half of the song. Then, Prince takes over. Watch……
Prince, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Dani Harrison, and Others: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
Did you make it this far? Good. Are you anxious to hear the full aftershows? Well, a lucky winner will receive both nights, Feb. 14th and Feb. 15th. It’s as simple as leaving a comment below. One winner will be selected in a couple of days. Good luck….
Update – Related: Silence is a Rhythm Too has a couple of tunes posted from the new ‘Ultimate’ release. Check out the post here.
Who wants a brand spanking new copy of Tom Petty’s ‘Highway Companion?’
Leave a comment below with your best description of Tom Petty in 5 words or less (the man or his music). The most original, creative, and/or humorous wins a free copy. Make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you. Nobody will see it but me.
I’ll pick the winner on Monday evening. Good luck! (U.S. and Canada only, sorry world)…
POT SWEETENER: I’ll also throw in Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ set from this year’s Bonnaroo Festival.
Well, I’m excited. ‘Highway Companion’, the new Tom Petty solo album – produced by Jeff Lynne, along with Petty and Heatbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell – will be released on July 25th. I’m enjoying the first single, “Saving Grace”, but hearing “Big Weekend”, another track off the album, has really got me fired up.
“Big Weekend” has that Jeff Lynne production signature sound that made ‘Full Moon Fever’ and the Traveling Wilburies albums such great guitar strummin’, carefree and loose records. “Big Weekend” certainly brings me back to ‘Full Moon Fever’, which came out in 1989 (anyone else hear a little “Yer So Bad” in there?). That was the year that my high school sweetheart and I split, and I hit the road on a long road trip with a friend (Graceland, South Carolina, Virginia, Philly, Ohio, back up to the thriving metropolis of Racine, Wisconsin). ‘Full Moon Fever’ accompanied me through both of those very different adventures. I don’t know how many times I sang “and I’ll probably be feelin’ a whole lot better when you’re goooone.” Ah, to be 19 with a broken heart.
I’m thinking that ‘Highway Companion’ is going to play that role in many people’s lives this summer. “Big Weekend” is definitely one of my top candidates for song of the summer. I’ll be jamming it on my 8 hour road trip in a few weeks, where I’ll really find out if ‘Highway Companion’ lives up to its name. I have a feeling it will.
Let’s talk about the Grade ‘A’ Live American Rock & Roll experience. If you’ve seen Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers live, you know what I mean. Tom is the quintessential frontman: energetic, upbeat, and engaging. He immediately endears himself to any audience you put in front of him. I’ve seen them a number of times over the years: Milwaukee, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix; and my favorite one: front and center at The Joint inside Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in 2000 (the day after he got married).
This past weekend, TP and the Heartbreakers headlined the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. I was happy to hear this, because it exposes the Heartbreakers to a whole new demographic. There are tons of younger people out there who now understand the genius of Petty. A big part of the greatness of his live show is his "give the people what they want" philosophy. He has an extensive catalog of hits to choose from, and he definitely delivers them, blow after blow. Artists I admire like Springsteen and Prince, both amazing live performers, are much more selective in unearthing their past ‘hits’ to live audiences. They’re interested in their latest material, and focus on the here and now, many times overlooking crowd favorites of the past. Not to mention that Bruce completely reconfigures his live show; his last two tours have been solo acoustic (behind ‘Devils & Dust’) and the folk hootenanny juggernaut that is his current tour with the Seeger Sessions Band.
Maybe I’m comparing apples to oranges, but Tom Petty delivers his hits, and the audience responds every time. His music is comfort food. It’s familiar, uplifting, and brings back good memories.
On July 25th, Petty will release ‘Highway Companion‘, another Jeff Lynne production. Lynne (formerly of Electric Light Orchestra and the Travelling Wilburys) also produced ‘Full Moon Fever’ and ‘Into the Great Wide Open’. I, for one, like the vibe Jeff Lynne puts forth. ‘Full Moon Fever’ and the two Travelling Wilburys albums are some of my favorites. So I’m looking forward to this release. The first single, “Saving Grace”, is streaming on his web site as we speak (he also played it at Bonnaroo).
Back to Bonnaroo. One of these years I’m going to make it out there. This seems like the festival for me (along with New Orleans Jazz Fest). So for those who weren’t lucky enough to be hanging out in the Tennessee countryside watching Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, we’ll just have to settle with this… oh, and did I mention that Stevie Nicks joined in on a few tunes? Yep, including a great version of “Insider”, from my favorite Petty album, ‘Hard Promises‘.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Bonnaroo Music Festival
June 16, 2006