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Rank your favorite Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers albums in order of preference!!!

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1 hour ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I think that is a common perception of the record; while for me it wasn't as good as FMF I still really like it quite a bit. Returning to Drew's point about a lot of different styles or feelings to the songs, I think that really holds true with ITGWO, even with the numbers I don't care for (All The Wrong Reasons, Kings Highway, ITGWO etc.) there's a wide range of emotion to the record.

All or Nothin', Makin' Some Noise and Built To Last all have such different approaches in music, tempo and feeling and are a lot of fun to listen to.

It does feel of a piece. If you didn't know, I guess after hearing FMF and listening to it nonstop, Rubin wanted to work with Petty and that's why they ended up doing Wildflowers together; very simplified version. But I guess he loved FMF.

 For me, Echo is too long and a lot of the songs just don't connect. I think Accused of Love could be the nadir of the record and one of the worst things Tom ever wrote.

Oddly enough though, when I think about it now, Rhino Skin and the line about "elephant balls" shows his stubborness and dedication to his creativity; I guess some wanted him to change it but it's an effective and funny lyric.

Full Moon Fever. Just a great run of songs, perfectly placed on the record. Side A is just fantastic, it's so good but then Side B is equally good yet different. I think Mike Campbell played his best solo ever in the outro to Runnin' Down A Dream. A Face in the Crowd is moody and evocative, Zombie Zoo a carnivalesque stomp and then you've got Alright For Now, a simple, powerful lullaby right towards the end. It's one of those records you could just play front to back over and over.

I feel the same about Hypnotic Eye, a really good run of songs at nearly forty years into being a band! Tom could've gone a more singer-songwriter approach, or kept with the blues or "blues" of Mojo but instead went for a rockin' album. The first three songs alone are these really good rock songs, yet each are so different, the heaviness of American Dream Plan B (yet with that amazing acoustic moment), the thrilling groove of Fault Lines and then boom! Red River, that opening sounds so heavy, yet kinda makes me feel like I'm hearing a big band play that first note/chord. I think they perfectly balanced faster moving or heavier tracks with lighter ones. The album has a couple different songs that could serve as the emotional core of the album, from All You Can Carry's defiance in the face of adversity to the celebration of the imagination in U Get Me High. The record ends on an epic song for them, from Benmont's piano intro, the heavy groove and then the optimistic finish with just Tom and a guitar.

Well, anyway, those are my top two TPATH records (I just ignore that FMF is a solo album when I mention my favorite) and while I won't say it's impossible for them to be knocked down, I doubt it. I think, aside from the singles that a lot of TPATH records are a mix of filler songs (from my perspective not the band's) or weaker tracks and others that are good, but not too many albums of theirs I can listen to from beginning to end, so it's a combination of the songwriting, performances and the tracklisting.

cheers

FMF is deserving of it's popularity and is a great listen, agreed. I even don't mind Face in the Crowd these days, which I thought was very dull as a young man. Nobody compiling anthologies likes it, however.
In regards to Great Wide Open; It's funny, I tear up often within the first few seconds of All the wrong reasons, it's just so beautiful, but hey, that's me!

Clearly somebody (other than just me) likes Accused of Love, as it ended up on "American Treasure." For me, it's a really catchy brother to the equally likable "This one's for me."

I ranked Hypnotic Eye second last. but it's still got some nice songs. I don't like the opener much, I find it a tad unpleasantly heavy, and it has has the unnecessary swear word which makes it less family friendly. Fault lines is okay, and I like Red River. All you can Carry is certainly the highlight and a real return to form. None of the other up-tempo tracks are as good as "Dreams of Flying" on Mudcrutch 2 however, and none of the ballads are anywhere near as good as "Beautiful Blue," a Wildflowers/ HC hybrid triumph. "Full grown boy" is boring to me, and I can't recall "U get me high," but I do remember it being boring. I'll have to give it another listen, though :). The album could still be growing on me.
 

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1 hour ago, Zargo said:

Oddly enough though, when I think about it now, Rhino Skin and the line about "elephant balls" shows his stubborness and dedication to his creativity; I guess some wanted him to change it but it's an effective and funny lyric.

It is one of the most important songs of the album. Room at the top, Echo, One more night... Devastating songs, they put you down... But Rhino Skin is just like, hey, I'm down but I have elephant balls to keep running through this world.

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3 hours ago, Zargo said:

I even don't mind Face in the Crowd these days, which I thought was very dull as a young man. Nobody compiling anthologies likes it, however.

Interesting angle. I guess you are right. It just strikes me that FMF has no less than 4 big single hits and at least one or two crowd favorites. Which is, arguebly, a lot for one single album to carry. Perhaps even a few songs too many for your average Anthology Compiler to bypass and start digging for more stuff. This is also why so many of their songs never got played live. They had what they needed to fill the 18 slots, basically. I wouldn't judge anything based on this though, or on any sort of anhologies. But that's me.

 

3 hours ago, Zargo said:

I ranked Hypnotic Eye second last. but it's still got some nice songs. I don't like the opener much, I find it a tad unpleasantly heavy, and it has has the unnecessary swear word which makes it less family friendly. Fault lines is okay, and I like Red River.

Yes, what with the electric guitars right? It's not Megadeth, but I see what you're saying. And Red River, yeah.. funny you should mention it. That to me is no-no for the family. I like to protect them from the hellish voodoo imagery. 

 

3 hours ago, Zargo said:

All you can Carry is certainly the highlight and a real return to form. None of the other up-tempo tracks are as good as "Dreams of Flying" on Mudcrutch 2 however

Yeah.. I don't remember the story in detail right now, but wasn't DOF an older song that Tom found in an old notebook and took to Mudcrutch. Don't recall from what era it origined (if that's actually mentioned) but it really seems to be one of the most genially "generic" Tom Petty compositions in terms of vibe, hook and mellow catchiness, the way he started to deliver them a few years into his career. It's very much a Flirting With Time or Depending On You or Keeping Me Alive or you name it kinda song. By the book. How such a typical and catchy TP song could've been left at the side of the road for so many years is quite remarkable. And it ended up with Mudcrutch. Go figure.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Zargo said:

Oddly enough though, when I think about it now, Rhino Skin and the line about "elephant balls" shows his stubborness and dedication to his creativity; I guess some wanted him to change it but it's an effective and funny lyric.

It is one of the most important songs of the album. Room at the top, Echo, One more night... Devastating songs, they put you down... But Rhino Skin is just like, hey, I'm down but I have elephant balls to keep running through this world.

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11 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Ok maybe I'm just winging It at this point; there's variety within each of the albums to some degree.

 

9 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

It's a good point, maybe something that might seem obvious now but was left unsaid, maybe never really discussed on here before. A good observation to make!

 

Yes, preaching to the choir here, but a certain variety seems to me to be quite the corner stone of what an album is, or should be, right? At least in order to be succesful. Very few artists and albums go far if all their songs are the same or in the same style, beat, groove, mood to a too large degree. Wouldn't you say.

Further, if Tom was more varied than other great album artists is debatable. I guess there are a few arguments that he was and a few that he really wasn't. I think he knew how to build a record, an album, with a certain "arch" of moods and flows to it. For the most part, as we've talked about elsewere, he was a master at this art, as I see it. He knew how to create dynamics with a groove or a change in tempo or a sligth difference in beat. Of course. All great artists and all great albums have that.

That said - I think Tom operated mainly in one main classic rock field, with a rather limited number of sub-styles, and perhaps one or two more unusual efforts over the course of his 45 years with Mudcrutch & Heartbreakers. He visited and revisited the same general area of the map almost exlusively*, even if he was aware of the outside world of course (that he ocassionaly had influences from other people than Elvis, Beatles and JJ Cale too.) Other than a change in drum/rhytm preferenses and a slight mellowing out on average, leaning towards more mature themes lyrically perhaps - all of which follow a development curve of sorts - it's not like his music changed that dramatically in core character or genre, though. Not that he peppered his albums with different styles. Not really. Not like he tried that many radically different or wild and experimental styles or genres** He had a diverse understanding and great passion for the rock tradition (as did his band) and you can generally tell as much - no need to stick to Anything That's Rockn'roll on every song or every album, when you have the talent of Tom Petty. So to speak.

After all, Tom worked great wonders within his field, in terms of how he tweeked stuff, developed them, how he had a very unique and oftentimes fresh way with words, and how he produced and arranged his songs to quite a few different flavors over the years. I don't think he ever stagnated. But I don't think he changed his game that much either, or was that incredibly ecclectic really. It's more like he kept exploring the core he loved and knew. And I for one loved most nuances of what came out.

I know we've touched upon this before, it's the same old radical-change-at-core or not discussion, the same old stoner issue perhaps or the same question of whether or not TPATH were ever psycedelic or experimental. Either way. It's my take that yes, of course their records were varied to a degree. That's what great albums are. That a similar type of blend can be traced throughout the cataloge - as per your arguments - seems, ironically enough, to confirm my view that midst all the variation in Tom's music creativity, a core musical identity stayed much the same over time. Also the frequent use of "Ain't", "Don't" and "Won't" incidentally. Defiance at core? Well..

 

 

-----

*Sweet William vs Burned Out Town, Yer So Bad vs Big Weekend, For Real vs No More...... just for the sake of the argument. This is not a problem to me. This is art.

**Other than very none-experimental and none-wild dabbling with Ska or Reggea moods for a few songs (You Don't Care, Don't Pull Me Over), or cutting what to me seem more like a joke-turned-studio-product-turned-groovy-hit-under-the-influence-of-cocaine-Dave-Stewart (DCAHNM), implementing Las Vegas sentiments or delicate jazz swagger (It Ain't Nothing To Me or Full Grown Boy), unusual pulsating minimalist spook sensations (Peace in LA or Looking For Daddy) he was rarely THAT far out there. I'd say he stuck pretty well to the punch rock, the jangly groove and mellow introspects mentioned. (Especially the latter allows for leaning towards a few traditional pillars within the wider rock tradition in which he worked - as in "blues", "country", "southern", "stoner" type of spicing - without becoming overly adventurous at that, or unusually diverse, doesn't it. To me it seem only natural, really.) It's a simplified trinity, I get it. But it makes sense and I agree with what you say about Tom's music at large being categorized by the three of them. But again.. those three modes, or tempers, hardly makes him THAT incredibly diverse compared to his peers, is all I'm saying.

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9 hours ago, Zargo said:

"Dreams of Flying" on Mudcrutch 2

Dreams of Flying is a great song!

9 hours ago, Zargo said:

"Beautiful Blue," a Wildflowers/ HC hybrid triumph. "Full grown boy" is boring to me, and I can't recall "U get me high," but I do remember it being boring. I'll have to give it another listen, though :). The album could still be growing on me.

I like Beautiful Blue though I have to be in the mood for it as it goes on for quite a while. Full Grown Boy took just a couple listens for me to like it. U Get Me High is driven by Tom's bass playing I think, definitely one of my faves on HE but you like what you like. Maybe some time in the future these songs will grow on you, maybe not.

cheers

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9 hours ago, Zargo said:

Clearly somebody (other than just me) likes Accused of Love, as it ended up on "American Treasure." For me, it's a really catchy brother to the equally likable "This one's for me."

I just tried giving it another listen but it's the same feeling, the marching tempo music, the way Tom sings, the tightness of the drums, all of it rubs me the wrong way and then the terrible chorus kicks in, it just comes across so self-pitying to me. But you're right about others like it, otherwise it wouldn't have ended up on that box set. I do like This One's For Me though, "catchy brother" is a good way of putting it too.

cheers

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8 hours ago, Mr Timba said:

It is one of the most important songs of the album. Room at the top, Echo, One more night... Devastating songs, they put you down... But Rhino Skin is just like, hey, I'm down but I have elephant balls to keep running through this world.

Interesting; never thought of it that way before as some kind of big note of defiance within the album and as you say, "devastating songs." I always thought of it as more of a fun heck with it track like I Don't Wanna Fight but I like your take on it.

cheers

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9 hours ago, Zargo said:

I even don't mind Face in the Crowd these days, which I thought was very dull as a young man. Nobody compiling anthologies likes it, however.

 

8 hours ago, Shelter said:

Which is, arguebly, a lot for one single album to carry. Perhaps even a few songs too many for your average Anthology Compiler to bypass and start digging for more stuff.

Aside from Greatest Hits I would think they'd look to other albums besides DTT, FMF and WF for tracks since (and I could be wrong) those are the three most popular or well known records, odds are if people are going to put some money down besides GH it'll be on one of those. 

cheers

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9 hours ago, Shelter said:

Tom worked great wonders within his field, in terms of how he tweeked stuff, developed them, how he had a very unique and oftentimes fresh way with words, and how he produced and arranged his songs to quite a few different flavors over the years. I don't think he ever stagnated. But I don't think he changed his game that much either, or was that incredibly ecclectic really. It's more like he kept exploring the core he loved and knew. And I for one loved most nuances of what came out.

I recall a point - I think it was after Hard Promises was released - the music critics liked TPATH music but also knocked it as "derivative", as if you have to be a complete musical pioneer in order to get their respect.  The "derivative" label never really stuck and was never heard  again about Tom and the band after the mid-80's.  But so what?  99.9% of artists/bands are "derivative" of other music styles.  And frankly, who before TPATH was successfully combining The Byrds and Rolling Stones as essentially their signature sound?    Though they moved well beyond that; they were always well beyond that.

Professional music critics always seem to love weird stuff that pushes the musical envelope; actual music fans not so much.  So TPATH never did something like "Tomorrow Never Knows" or "Revolution number 9".  They did great sounding albums, and Petty often contributed unique and straightforward insight with his lyrics, to which a large part of his audience could relate - unlike the oblique and overly complex lyrics of some professional critics favorites, on topics to which few listeners could personally relate.       

I agree with you on the nuances TP and the band brought out, but I disagree somewhat about the level of eclecticism.  Sure they didn't get into rap, or opera, but they did include a lot of styles, while remaining cohesive and producing songs which generally could be played live (with the exception of occasional enhancements such as the horns on the SA tour, or the Webb sisters as backing vocalists - who might have been perfect for "Waiting For Tonight" or "Magnolia" but that's another topic).   

Although TPATH didn't delve as deeply into psychedelic music as The Beatles (other than "Don't Come Around Here No More", or possibly "It Ain't Nothin' To Me"), The Beatles didn't really produce jazz or blues style songs the way TPATH did on HE and Mojo.  Overall I think TPATH covered about as much musical ground as The Beatles, and probably most would view their output as eclectic.  Which is not to say that TPATH did the same pioneering as The Beatles or produced as much music within the same number of years as The Beatles.  And clearly The Beatles influenced TPATH, not the other way around.  But if you can ignore the pioneering aspect, or the fact that The Beatles produced their output in about 1/4th the time as TP/TPATH, I think the TP/TPATH catalog is roughly equal to The Beatles catalog in terms of sheer number of good/great songs, quality and consistency, and eclecticism of styles.  For whatever that is worth.     

 

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13 hours ago, Zargo said:

Clearly somebody (other than just me) likes Accused of Love, as it ended up on "American Treasure." For me, it's a really catchy brother to the equally likable "This one's for me."

I'd put Accused of Love as one of the 3 top songs on that album.  Room at the Top is good sounding and heartfelt, but it is such a lyrical contrast to "King's Highway" from just 8 years prior.  I suppose the other of my top 3 on that album would be Billy The Kid, mainly because I like TP taking a defiant tone even in the face of presumed defeat (the same might go for Room at the Top, depending on your interpretation).      

 

13 hours ago, Zargo said:

I like Red River. All you can Carry is certainly the highlight and a real return to form.

Those are my two favorite tracks on HE, though I like many others on that album as well. 

 

13 hours ago, Zargo said:

I don't like the opener much, I find it a tad unpleasantly heavy, and it has has the unnecessary swear word which makes it less family friendly.

I love the opener, American Dream Plan B.  Yes it's got a family-unfriendly word, but it fits that song.  Same word is part of "One Story Town" on LAD; I'm not for that on most albums, but it doesn't kill either song for me.  Plus the use of the 4-letter word on American Dream Plan B helps set up the song Forgotten Man, where TP sings "I feel like a four-letter word" and the listener might already be thinking of the word in the first song, but then later TP sings "I feel like a for-gotten man", which is a clever follow up - tricking the listener into thinking he's going to say "four-letter word" again, but he goes in a different direction.  Which makes the "family unfriendly" word on the first song more essential to the album overall. 

12 hours ago, Shelter said:

And Red River, yeah.. funny you should mention it. That to me is no-no for the family. I like to protect them from the hellish voodoo imagery

I realize you are kidding on that one, due to Zargo's earlier comment on "family friendly".   But my interpretation of Red River is that TP (or "the narrator") is merely remarking that the woman has filled her life with supernatural/voodoo practices.  He's not embracing it himself and in fact he seems to be deriding it (i. e. "still it don't do the trick") much in the same way he derides the strange practices/beliefs of Casa Dega.  I think when he sings of washing away the mud and clay from her body in the Red River, he's also suggesting she should wash away the supernatural beliefs and get back to reality.   

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I enjoy seeing your lists here. These albums and songs speak to us in different ways, at different times. And they mean so much to us personally, I think it's great. Tom's music (and music in general) has that special power. No wrong ranking choices (except if you put LMU first, ha ha). It's fun to see how some rankings are almost exactly flipped from mine.

Hmmmmm....I wonder what a Tom Petty ranking of his own work would look like? What do you think.

From what we know, he considered Wildflowers to be at the top, his personal best.

From here, we also know that he spoke VERY HIGHLY of the Unchained album, and those fun, pressure-free, instrument-swapping sessions.

We know he loved the immediacy of the first Mudcrutch album, how that album was cut live, in 14 days.

And that he loved the material on Discs 5 & 6 of Playback.

And he said that the Live Anthology was an accurate statement/testament of them as a superior live act.

Probably looked back in fondness to FMF (aka Songs From the Garage) and Traveling Wilburys vol. 1, those being happy times filled with great friendships and collaboration.

I bet Mojo ranked up there on his list.

He was probably proud of Hypnotic Eye, a late in the game guitar album that said the Heartbreaks didn't need to go quietly into the sunset or rest on past achievements. He called out Fault Lines and being as good as anything from the past.

DDT probably had a special place in his heart, since it was breakthrough album.

We know he was critical of albums like Southern Accents and not too much a fan of Echo. What about LMU, HP, LAD?

Probably looked at She's the One as a mixed bag (not properly promoted or toured), yet containing one his favorite tunes - Walls. How can we assume this? Because he personally requested it during the final 40th Anniversary Tour :)

What do you think?

 

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9 minutes ago, RedfordCowboy said:

 

What do you think?

 

hmmm... Interesting! 

  • Mike Campbell recently spoke highly of their 1976 debut album. 💘 Quirky, I think he called it. 

I know it's not great to claim something & not be able to back it up... So I'll check this when I have time. 

Also, "Face In A Crowd" & their music video for this song really gets to me. Every time.

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20 minutes ago, RedfordCowboy said:

I wonder what a Tom Petty ranking of his own work would look like? What do you think.

I've read a lot of TP interviews, and it always seemed to me that his "favorites" would be their 1st album plus their newest album.  That was pretty consistent throughout his career.  Which is great, because how would it be if someone thought "my latest album isn't very good".  So when he was last alive, he might have thought his two favorites were Hypnotic Eye and the 1st album.  But who knows. 

I haven't seen where TP thought Wildflowers was his best, but he certainly favored it for songs performed in concert, ever since it was released.  Plus his follow-up albums seemed to be oriented toward WF, so that's another suggestion that he was very happy with it.   As I've mentioned though, from a fan perspective it's polarizing. WF gets by far the most "best album" votes from fans, and yet a large number of fans who don't rate it #1 consider it to be one of the lesser albums.  You love it or you don't, not a lot of middle ground on it.          

The only album I recall TP not liking in recent times was She's The One, which is interesting since it rates only slightly below the middle of the pack in the fan consensus.  For a long time TP also didn't like Long After Dark, he said it reminded him of a "dark period" and fights breaking out at concerts in Germany (I later read that this was something that happened in Germany in the early 80's regardless of the performer, but TP associated it with the LAD tour and album).  He also didn't like that he felt "forced" by the record company to make LAD  like DTT, and he didn't like repeating himself.  Although if I recall correctly, TP was very proud of LAD at the time it came out. Toward the end of his career, TP seemed to embrace LAD more strongly and even said something like "I don't know why I was against it, because it sounds good to me now".     

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37 minutes ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

I haven't seen where TP thought Wildflowers was his best, but he certainly favored it for songs performed in concert, ever since it was released.

I think it was in Paul Zollo's Conversations with Petty book.

Granted his taste may have changed but I could see why he liked it so much, having a big hit album after putting in so much work, weathering Stan's departure and moving in another direction from ITGWO, and I think, he was proud of the songs he'd come up with, and the mix, from the harder edged You Wreck Me and Honey Bee to Wake Up Time and Only A Broken Heart etc. what he viewed as the diversity of the album. 

ciao

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47 minutes ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

I've read a lot of TP interviews, and it always seemed to me that his "favorites" would be their 1st album plus their newest album. 

I think that every artist says that their new/current album is great...and/or their best work. They usually say something along the lines of, "We're really proud of this album. It might be our best album yet. Certainly as good as....." So yeah, it would make sense that they like their new album are excited about releasing it to the world. It would be pretty bad if they didn't like it. I'd never heard or read of TP saying his first album was his favorite. I know he's remarked how they were very green in the studio, and were basically trying to absorb and learn as much as they could. By the second album, he was taking a producing credit...

...then time passes and you get to look back on your albums with some perspective. And you say things like, "Dang, why did we put horns all over that?"

54 minutes ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

I haven't seen where TP thought Wildflowers was his best,

Yes, MJ2LD is correct. He stated this is the Zollo book, circa 2005. Tom said that WF became "the one he was always competing against." Things might've changed with his outlook, but I doubt it. Rubin said that Tom was "scared of Wildflowers".* That he didn't know where those songs came from. And I think I understand why. I watched a great John Mellencamp documentary called Plain Spoken. If it's still on Netflix, check it out. He talks a lot about the record busine$$ and the creative process. In the film, John says that "All great art should surprise you." That's one indicator to know if it's any good. Meaning, you should be surprised where it came from, asking yourself, "Did I really just write/paint/record/sculpt/direct/make/create that?? Did that come from me? How did that just happen? This idea of something coming from outside you, beyond you... JM says that if the art doesn't surprise you, then most likely it won't surprise anybody else.

I'm pretty sure WF surprised Tom (scared him).

Artists are notoriously bad at being a good judge of their own/best material (in the moment). Or what songs might "be a hit". Thus all the stories we hear of artists leaving pretty great songs off albums. Springsteen and the Promise come to mind. 3 of Tom's that come to mind are Surrender, Casa Dega and Trailer. Shoot most of the stuff on Playback Discs 5 & 6!! However, with WF, I believe Tom knew that he was creating something special. That he was tapping into some deep, rich well. I think he knew that the material was particularly, uncannily, especially strong. That is why I'm so stoked to hear All the Rest. What else is there to discover? Lonesome Dave was a wonderful surprise. As a WF-era outtake, it delivered for me.

* He said this around 2015, when he was revisiting WF and showing songs to Rick. (listen here: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/broken-record/e/57883752) You get the idea he was almost reluctant to mess with WF, to tread carefully with the unreleased material. Surely he was gonna make sure any deluxe reissue/box set was done right, since he was dealing with such special material.

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19 hours ago, Shelter said:

but a certain variety seems to me to be quite the corner stone of what an album is, or should be, right? At least in order to be succesful. Very few artists and albums go far if all their songs are the same or in the same style, beat, groove, mood to a too large degree.

Of course yes. I'd put the Ramones as a band that succeeded by largely hewing to an ideal, but even within their more or less rigid guidelines they varied it a bit. But yes to your point but I guess I wasn't clear enough with mine. Any time I discuss TPATH as experimental, it's relative to themselves as a band, not in comparison to Radiohead, or Neutral Milk Hotel or whomever. People discuss songs they like or don't like, or attempt at concept records (SA and The Last DJ) but I don't recall anyone really getting into the whole variety of each song within each record. Maybe they did and I missed it. Maybe it's just too much minutiae. When Drew mentioned variety within the albums it seemed like another avenue for conversation, who knows maybe a cul-de-sac.

19 hours ago, Shelter said:

That said - I think Tom operated mainly in one main classic rock field, with a rather limited number of sub-styles, and perhaps one or two more unusual efforts over the course of his 45 years with Mudcrutch & Heartbreakers.

I agree. Probably a huge reason for his appeal, let alone his often succinct yet poignant lyrics.

19 hours ago, Shelter said:

After all, Tom worked great wonders within his field, in terms of how he tweeked stuff, developed them, how he had a very unique and oftentimes fresh way with words, and how he produced and arranged his songs to quite a few different flavors over the years. I don't think he ever stagnated. But I don't think he changed his game that much either, or was that incredibly ecclectic really. It's more like he kept exploring the core he loved and knew.

I think that sums it up well.

19 hours ago, Shelter said:

Also the frequent use of "Ain't", "Don't" and "Won't" incidentally.

Ha!

19 hours ago, Shelter said:

(You Don't Care, Don't Pull Me Over), or cutting what to me seem more like a joke-turned-studio-product-turned-groovy-hit-under-the-influence-of-cocaine-Dave-Stewart (DCAHNM), implementing Las Vegas sentiments or delicate jazz swagger (It Ain't Nothing To Me or Full Grown Boy), unusual pulsating minimalist spook sensations (Peace in LA or Looking For Daddy) he was rarely THAT far out there. I'd say he stuck pretty well to the punch rock, the jangly groove and mellow introspects mentioned. (Especially the latter allows for leaning towards a few traditional pillars within the wider rock tradition in which he worked - as in "blues", "country", "southern", "stoner" type of spicing - without becoming overly adventurous at that, or unusually diverse, doesn't it. To me it seem only natural, really.

Yes. For me, it's how far they pushed things from time to time within their own context, hence DCAHNM, Lookin, etc.

19 hours ago, Shelter said:

But again.. those three modes, or tempers, hardly makes him THAT incredibly diverse compared to his peers, is all I'm saying.

It's odd but I think the popular perception is ex-angry corporate defying, laid back hippy guy of rock-n-roll with some super catchy hits and one more or less mellow classic in WF. I think most would balk at the word "experimental" being used anywhere near TPATH, especially when contrasted with rock music over the years, that's why I've usually qualified it. At the same time, most people on this forum are aware of the wider range of songwriting, even within the TPATH context you and Drew mention above and it's not something that really gets discussed much. Then again, perhaps there isn't much to say about it. Take Money Becomes King. There's no chorus, or not in the traditional sense, just verse after verse. The only time (I think) where he's done that. Second song on the album too. But I don't recall anyone else mentioning it. But then, once mentioned what to add to it? Could someone pull out some meaning as to why? Is it ironic perhaps? A band that was all about Don't bore us get to the chorus releasing a song discussing the sell out of a musician lacking a chorus? Or perhaps showing how once Johnny went down that road he lost that magic, to create a chorus. My guess is neither, but just that it felt right and the song came to Tom that way.

So maybe, much like this digression away from ranking is the same thing you said about the band, that there's only so far to take this type of conversation before losing peoples's patience or perhaps warping topic and meaning beyond recognition.

But anyway yeah, I agree with you, crazy experimental band they weren't, but I generally like anytime they ventured off their own beaten path.

8 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

I recall a point - I think it was after Hard Promises was released - the music critics liked TPATH music but also knocked it as "derivative", as if you have to be a complete musical pioneer in order to get their respect. 

I think eventually respect came with time, after a couple decades of new listeners just took in Tom's music as the quote soundtrack to their lives. Greatest Hits became ubiquitous and people appreciated how he and the band did so much with so little. But I agree, and I think I stumbled on the explanation for it from a movie critic who said something like after watching so many movies they were eager for films who didn't follow a traditional structure. TPATH were all about tradition, from the verse-chorus-verse of their songs to playing covers from the early days of rock and blues. If one is listening to nonstop verse-chorus-verse "heartland rock" I could see why they'd get fed up with it and want something different in addition to wanting artists to progress. That doesn't mean they should dismiss bands like TPATH who deliver rock-n-roll. Perhaps there's an underestimation of that style of music because there's so much of it. 

8 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

The "derivative" label never really stuck

I'd prefer traditional to derivative really but I could see TPATH having a collective laugh over the whole discussion of what critics think.

8 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

They did great sounding albums, and Petty often contributed unique and straightforward insight with his lyrics, to which a large part of his audience could relate - unlike the oblique and overly complex lyrics of some professional critics favorites, on topics to which few listeners could personally relate.       

Yes, but oblique lyrics have their place too. But Tom's way with words, as you say, really connected. As far as we know, they never did TPATH's Magical Swamp Tour but I'd have been curious to hear them go completely weird for one album, to whatever degree.

8 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Overall I think TPATH covered about as much musical ground as The Beatles, and probably most would view their output as eclectic. 

I don't know if I agree but I respect you putting forth the argument! I've not listened to the Beatles in a long time aside from the occasional song and a lot of their music was either too teeny-bopper or ballady and maudlin for my taste. I'd rather listen to Blue Jay Way or Octopus's Garden to something like The long and Winding Road. But if people engage with you on this, I see a lot of disbelief at your statement if not outright fury. All right, maybe not fury but certainly some disagreement. If I listened to them more I'd have an opinion on this, certainly by reputation alone it seems they covered more musical ground than TPATH, just with some of that album, Abbey Road  with the song snippets thrown together and that long dirge that goes and on and on and suddenly cuts off; or the ending of A Day in the Life, or putting two versions of a title song on one album, Sgt. Pepper or the sonic stupidity of Revolution or is it Revolution 9 which is both funny and annoying at once. They went from short quick ditties of pop perfection like Paperback Writer and Help and Hold your Hand to things like Within You, and Mr. Kite. And Penny Lane. Geez, I feel like I'm already offering a rebuttal. And here I approved of you making such a bold statement.

No, I think the Beatles, not even based on having listened to a third if that of their output were more experimental and diverse and thus covered more ground musically in their songwriting than TPATH.

This went in an unexpected direction.

But it doesn't matter, TPATH stayed true to Tom's creativity, that's what counts. And I think, in their own way, especially around DTT through, I don't know, maybe LAD they'd come up with as Benmont called it, their chamber music approach which really was unique, as soon as certain TPATH songs start there's an instant recognition, those intros with the different instruments joining in at different points before unifying, well...is there another band from that period of time that sounded like that? That feeling, vibe, Tom's songwriting and a bit of weirdness running through the band helped differentiate them from their peers.

8 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

and eclecticism of styles. 

 I'd say that the Beatles were more eclectic for sure than TPATH. As to the weighing of whose songs are better, well, that's just subjective. And again, I don't want TPATH to be the Beatles, very wisely neither did they. Just like I don't want some future band to be TPATH or Pearl Jam or Pixies, influenced sure, but following their own unique creativity, whether it's all out experimental rock, more traditional or some point between.

cheers

 

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10 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

I realize you are kidding on that one

Yes, thank you for noticing! Much appreciated.

 

9 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

it's not great to claim something & not be able to back it up

You realize you are questioning my whole standard operating method here, right? 

 

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1 hour ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I'd put the Ramones as a band that succeeded by largely hewing to an ideal

Good one. Certainly many acts are less "varied" or "eclectic" than was Tom. No doubt. I just don't think that from this we should conclude that he needs to be made the spokesperson of variation. I basically just think you both are taking that angle too far, is all. Just my opinion. I truely appreciate what Tom did, how he rarely cut corner and how he occasionally bended the definitions a little or stepped outside the box once or twice. I just don't think that is what defines him - not as a songwriter, and not as an album making artist. Certainly not as a live performer. I don't see this as a problem, mind you.  

Again - I think his way of balancing albums and throwing in falovors, trying a few different beats over the years, is all quite genius for the most parts. But as I see it, It's just something that most great acts with longevity careers do. Unlike many he didn't get stuck, and that.. if I may be so bold.. is good enough.  Perhaps within that longevite frame... acts who went past the 40 year mark... TP actually DO deserve an extra credit for pushing new angles with his compositions and his sounds all the way. I can give you guys that. For keep on going places, as it were. Still, unlike Rolling Stones he never dabble in disco.. and why should he. Oh.. he DID though.. I just remembered.. on that 12" of Make It Better. Horrid, utterly horrid. :D In short: yes, he was a varied and clever artist. Probably unsually clever in many ways. Lots of integrity. I just don't think he is that far ahead of the competition when it comes to put variation with the frame of an album. He did a great job with it, but he didn't invent the concept (pioneering is really beside the point of this discussion anyway, isn't it?) and what's important here, he didn't take it THAT much further than anyone else this side of the Ramones. But then again - that is me. 

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11 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

or the Webb sisters as backing vocalists - who might have been perfect for "Waiting For Tonight" or "Magnolia" but that's another topic

Yes! I think it has been mentioned, somewhere in the corn maze - it should! - that the Webbs were a real interesting and great addition to the last tour. An addition that they largely failed to make use of, though. There are so many cool songs/arrangements to ponder here. So much more they could've done with them on stage.  

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9 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

No, I think the Beatles, not even based on having listened to a third if that of their output were more experimental and diverse and thus covered more ground musically in their songwriting than TPATH.

I was saying that while The Beatles were pioneering those types of music at that time (unlike TPATH, which were not style pioneers), in comparing their resultant overall styles, TPATH was about as varied as The Beatles.  I used The Beatles as the example because they are essentially the gold standard for eclectic output, and I also assumed that most TPATH fans were quite familiar with their catalog. 

I did note that the output of The Beatles was compressed into about 1/4 the time of TPATH, and that The Beatles did more with psychedelic music, which itself was the most experimental music of its day.  And yes, the Abbey Road album has that long stitched-together track near the end, which is experimental in format and it works really well, but in terms of musical style it wasn't new ground for them.    

Again, in no way am I suggesting that TPATH were the pioneers that The Beatles were, or even remotely as influential, or as prolific in such a short period of time.    But I am pushing back on the idea that TP/TPATH should be singled out vs. others for an untypically limited number of musical styles (if that was the case being made).  Because when I compare his/their song catalog to the widely-regarded-as-eclectic Beatles catalog, I feel that both catalogs cover numerous styles, nearly equal in terms of style variety, and far more varied than most popular artists/bands.   But if people want to disagree with me and say TP hewed to a narrow number of styles, well - it ain't nothin to me!   

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1 hour ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

I feel that both catalogs cover numerous styles, nearly equal in terms of style variety, and far more varied than most popular artists/bands.   But if people want to disagree with me and say TP hewed to a narrow number of styles, well - it ain't nothin to me! 

I thought maybe others would engage on this with you. I don't want to break it down to percentages and I couldn't anyway but my impression is the Beatles covered more ground than TPATH. But within their format, TPATH were more than just an average rock band from the 70s and there's a lot of little flourishes and touches within a lot of their songs that helped make them different, aside from the more obviously "experimental" like DCAHNM, Money Becomes King, Its Rainin' Again, Looking for Daddy etc.

It ain't nothin indeed.

cheers

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On ‎9‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 12:19 PM, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I don't want to break it down to percentages and I couldn't anyway but my impression is the Beatles covered more ground than TPATH. But within their format, TPATH were more than just an average rock band from the 70s

Yes, on further review - I'd say The Beatles covered somewhat more ground musically than TPATH.  So TPATH doesn't quite meet that standard, but who does?   Most bands seem to have just 2 or 3 styles of music, and TPATH had more than 3.  I'm just not thinking of TPATH as particularly limited.  Even on their 1st album they had a variety of styles.   

Realize also that TPATH generally had it in mind that they'd be able to play these songs in concert, unlike The Beatles who knew that much of their latter song production was for studio recordings only.       

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