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How was Full Moon Fever initially received by fans?

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I've read several interviews where Tom has said that everyone in the Heartbreakers, except for Mike, wasn't initially a fan of Full Moon Fever and that TP's record company actually rejected the record the first time he submitted it to them. In retrospect, I'm absolutely flabbergasted that the other Heartbreakers and label executives didn't immediately recognize that this album was a masterpiece. I'm curious what reception it got with fans right after it's release; was it universally beloved? Was it maligned and deemed "too poppy" by some fans? 

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I'm also curious what the state of the band's fan base was at this time. I've heard that Petty's popularity was starting to wane in the late 80s, that concert attendance was down, and that FMF was a "career saving record." Is this true?

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I wasn't alive for FMF, but I will add my two cents on the album. 

It has a lot of great tracks, but as a whole album, I'm not a huge fan of it. (Obviously it's great because it's TP), but there are a lot of albums I like better. 
I've always found FMF to be a little too upbeat for me. There are a lot of great singles and radio songs, but I don't care for it as a complete "album."
There are a lot of songs on FMF that I absolutely love (Love is a Long Road, Apartment Song, Feel a Whole Lot Better, etc).
I think as whole albums (thinking of 'making an album' as an art form, my favorites are Long After Dark, Mojo, Wildflowers, and Echo). They each have a really distinct sound to me. 

 

Full Moon Fever was really interesting, though. As a process and analyzing how it came to be. 
It was originally Tom just messing around. "Songs from the Garage," it was called. Who was it that suggested it was better than just songs from the garage? Jeff Lynne? I think he said it should be renamed. I love a lot of the Jeff Lynne stuff. I feel like he has a very distinct sound that you can hear on a lot of his records (namely the guitar parts), like Cloud Nine, Full Moon Fever, and even the more recent Bryan Adams record. The melodic guitar of the work Lynne produces is almost instantly recognizable to me. And I think that's great, really. Because artists (like Tom and Byran) both wanted to work with Jeff because they liked that sound, reaching back to Cloud Nine and even further back to the ELO stuff. 
 

I'm interested to see what other's on here have to say about how FMF was initially received. (Especially since there's always going to be a hint of something different considering it was the first solo album). Good topic. 
 

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FMF was commercially successful and was a massive hit out of the gate, with "Free Fallin'", "I Won't Back Down" and "Runnin' Down a Dream" all being smash hit singles. It was the first album I've ever listened to in my life so I love it on a personal level, but I can go on forever about that so I'll stop there. I love it from a technical (and production) standpoint, but I don't think I can ever fully detach myself from my nostalgic bias for it.

In terms of the Heartbreakers hating it, that was largely because it was Tom's first solo effort and minimized all the HBs other than Campbell. Benmont hated his experience with it, he only played some piano on The Apartment Song. Stan was left off completely, don't think Howie had much of a role either. They seemed to resent his Wilburys/FMF period since it was the first time he stepped out to do his own thing without them. I'm SURE they recognized it was a masterpiece, just hated it anyway for their own reasons. Which I get; I probably would feel the same way in their spot.

In terms of the poppy nature of it... I didn't get to experience the firsthand reaction, but we know the casuals loved it and it brought in new fans for him. It's always had a steady stream of diehards who are staunchly opposed to Lynne's sleek feel being too mainstream a diversion for Tom. Given that this was my intro to him, I never found myself on that page.

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Rather than flat out "rejecting" the album, I suppose what happened at MCA was "the A&R man said 'I don't hear a single' ". Literally, they did see no hits on FMF as Tom presented it to them! That is almost as absurd as Decca passing on Beatles, imo. However, when he added the decided light weight cover of "Feel a Whole Lot Better" and a few people changed chairs at MCA, then suddenly they DID feel a whole lot better about the prospect. That is actually as weird as it is funny. Not a bad song at all, but seriously...

I'm not positive if this is correct, but could it, possibly, be that be while hanging, unsure if the album was gonna be released or not, that he searched for something to push it over the edge, so to speak, that he recorded Waiting For Tonight with The Bangles?? Did I dream this? Then again, the latter track featured a more complete line up of The Heartbreakers, if I'm not mistaken, and then when FMF suddenly got an ok, with the inclusion of FAWLB, there was no time or need to figure out how or if that new song fitted anyway... Also, I always thought Waiting For Tonight originally was penned for a planned TPATH Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) follow up album that got scrapped or put on hold, when Tom steered in the arms of the Traveling Wilburys, a context and an experience I guess you could say FMF was born out of. Not sure if any of this has anything to do with The Heartbreaker's recenting Tom's solo album. Perhaps to some extent it did.

To me what makes FMF a solo album is not only the arrangements. As for Wildflowers and to some extent also Highway Companion, I can imagine TPATH versions of the material, that is with a slightly different arrangement and production they could both have been full blown and great band albums. With FMF, I really think there is something intrinsically solo about the whole thing, about the very material. (I mean, in no small ways are the cover shot of FMF a sorta half body remake of the first album, which was, btw, originally labeled as "Tom Petty" rather than "Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers" since the deal was originally his alone). In my mind, Love Is A Long Road is the only song on the album that could be reimagined as a band song, in the traditional Heartbreakers sense.

That goes to say that while I can understand what people say about The Heartbreakers (sans Mike) supposedly feeling let down with some of Tom's choices in 1988-1989, leaving them on the outside as it were, I really think that Stan and Ben truly felt the music - both many of the songs and much of how they were realized by Tom and Jeff - was less band oriented and interesting from their perspective. Perhaps this goes for Howie too (although, admittedly, he was per se as much of a session player/singer as a band guy). They probably could appreciate the stunning parade of pop hits that was the album, but they might not have seen much of their own music identity in it. I can imagine they initially - before they all had to play many of the songs every night for the rest of their lives, making them TPATH anyway in a way - did not actually like FMF that much. Not only because they basically weren't on it or because they felt Tom left them hanging, but because it was not really the type of material or production style that they were into. Especially Stan, I'd say. Don't get me wrong, but in terms of his personal musical integrity he was probably quite happy not to be on FMF, as he seemed a bit frustrated about what he had to "act up", as it were, on ITGWO.

In short, I think FMF promised to mean a bigger artistic change in Tom than it ended up becoming and I think that put a little bit of a scare on everybody. Save for Mike, for some reason. Perhaps his love for the Running Down A Dream riff made him look past everything else, perhaps he just had trust enough in Tom to stick with it, to ride it out and see what happened, perhaps he really was the only one Tom trusted enough to stay a core part of it. I don't know. But it must have been tricky times for The Heartbreakers. Until the tour went underway, anyway. As a sidenote: It is funny to me, how they - in various ways - seem to mock the whole situation shamelessly in the few video skits they filmed for extra material to the "A Bunch Of Videos and Some Other Stuff" release around this same time. It's hard to be quite sure if Stan was just acting when he butchered that drum machine, or if Howie was perhaps grumpy and bitter for real when he storms off on his bike. Either way, it's fabulous stuff.

All that aside, I think there can be no question that a vast majority of the fans REALLY fell in love with this album and this collection of songs, from the start. I think the success speaks for itself, really. There may have been fans recognizing the same dimensional shift that Stan saw, seeing that it was a bit different, perhaps not being totally thrilled about how it seemed to steer away from rock'n'roll a bit. But I think very few of them could dismiss the charm of it all together. Moreover FMF did pull in tons of new fans, and also.. let's not forget.. The combination of that laid back pop style of Tom's songs, Jeff's ideas on sound (like commented on above!), the recent success of Traveling Wilburys, the peak of MTV, all line up like that, with a whiff of skateboards, palm trees, sunshines and boulevards, south Cal and LA style, in 1989 this created the perfect storm in terms of success for Tom. Never before and never since has a Tom Petty album been more fashionable, commercially right-in-time for the big league, and straight out hip. ITGWO did ride the tail on that same wave, so to speak, and Wildflowers was prefect and right in time too, in a slightly different, less sunny way.. But I'd say that 88-95 era was when Tom was the most in-tune with mainstream fashion, most full blown "adult pop" he ever was, and obviously recognized as much himself, keeping the landmarks of this era close to his heart and to his live act all to the very end. 

We can say whatever we like (and I do) and we can disect other "deeper" or "technical" or even "social" aspects of the music Tom made on FMF, but in short: what's not to like??

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3 hours ago, Shelter said:

Rather than flat out "rejecting" the album, I suppose what happened at MCA was "the A&R man said 'I don't hear a single' ". Literally, they did see no hits on FMF as Tom presented it to them! That is almost as absurd as Decca passing on Beatles, imo. However, when he added the decided light weight cover of "Feel a Whole Lot Better" and a few people changed chairs at MCA, then suddenly they DID feel a whole lot better about the prospect. That is actually as weird as it is funny. Not a bad song at all, but seriously...

I'm not positive if this is correct, but could it, possibly, be that be while hanging, unsure if the album was gonna be released or not, that he searched for something to push it over the edge, so to speak, that he recorded Waiting For Tonight with The Bangles?? Did I dream this? Then again, the latter track featured a more complete line up of The Heartbreakers, if I'm not mistaken, and then when FMF suddenly got an ok, with the inclusion of FAWLB, there was no time or need to figure out how or if that new song fitted anyway... Also, I always thought Waiting For Tonight originally was penned for a planned TPATH Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) follow up album that got scrapped or put on hold, when Tom steered in the arms of the Traveling Wilburys, a context and an experience I guess you could say FMF was born out of. Not sure if any of this has anything to do with The Heartbreaker's recenting Tom's solo album. Perhaps to some extent it did.

To me what makes FMF a solo album is not only the arrangements. As for Wildflowers and to some extent also Highway Companion, I can imagine TPATH versions of the material, that is with a slightly different arrangement and production they could both have been full blown and great band albums. With FMF, I really think there is something intrinsically solo about the whole thing, about the very material. (I mean, in no small ways are the cover shot of FMF a sorta half body remake of the first album, which was, btw, originally labeled as "Tom Petty" rather than "Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers" since the deal was originally his alone). In my mind, Love Is A Long Road is the only song on the album that could be reimagined as a band song, in the traditional Heartbreakers sense.

That goes to say that while I can understand what people say about The Heartbreakers (sans Mike) supposedly feeling let down with some of Tom's choices in 1988-1989, leaving them on the outside as it were, I really think that Stan and Ben truly felt the music - both many of the songs and much of how they were realized by Tom and Jeff - was less band oriented and interesting from their perspective. Perhaps this goes for Howie too (although, admittedly, he was per se as much of a session player/singer as a band guy). They probably could appreciate the stunning parade of pop hits that was the album, but they might not have seen much of their own music identity in it. I can imagine they initially - before they all had to play many of the songs every night for the rest of their lives, making them TPATH anyway in a way - did not actually like FMF that much. Not only because they basically weren't on it or because they felt Tom left them hanging, but because it was not really the type of material or production style that they were into. Especially Stan, I'd say. Don't get me wrong, but in terms of his personal musical integrity he was probably quite happy not to be on FMF, as he seemed a bit frustrated about what he had to "act up", as it were, on ITGWO.

In short, I think FMF promised to mean a bigger artistic change in Tom than it ended up becoming and I think that put a little bit of a scare on everybody. Save for Mike, for some reason. Perhaps his love for the Running Down A Dream riff made him look past everything else, perhaps he just had trust enough in Tom to stick with it, to ride it out and see what happened, perhaps he really was the only one Tom trusted enough to stay a core part of it. I don't know. But it must have been tricky times for The Heartbreakers. Until the tour went underway, anyway. As a sidenote: It is funny to me, how they - in various ways - seem to mock the whole situation shamelessly in the few video skits they filmed for extra material to the "A Bunch Of Videos and Some Other Stuff" release around this same time. It's hard to be quite sure if Stan was just acting when he butchered that drum machine, or if Howie was perhaps grumpy and bitter for real when he storms off on his bike. Either way, it's fabulous stuff.

All that aside, I think there can be no question that a vast majority of the fans REALLY fell in love with this album and this collection of songs, from the start. I think the success speaks for itself, really. There may have been fans recognizing the same dimensional shift that Stan saw, seeing that it was a bit different, perhaps not being totally thrilled about how it seemed to steer away from rock'n'roll a bit. But I think very few of them could dismiss the charm of it all together. Moreover FMF did pull in tons of new fans, and also.. let's not forget.. The combination of that laid back pop style of Tom's songs, Jeff's ideas on sound (like commented on above!), the recent success of Traveling Wilburys, the peak of MTV, all line up like that, with a whiff of skateboards, palm trees, sunshines and boulevards, south Cal and LA style, in 1989 this created the perfect storm in terms of success for Tom. Never before and never since has a Tom Petty album been more fashionable, commercially right-in-time for the big league, and straight out hip. ITGWO did ride the tail on that same wave, so to speak, and Wildflowers was prefect and right in time too, in a slightly different, less sunny way.. But I'd say that 88-95 era was when Tom was the most in-tune with mainstream fashion, most full blown "adult pop" he ever was, and obviously recognized as much himself, keeping the landmarks of this era close to his heart and to his live act all to the very end. 

We can say whatever we like (and I do) and we can disect other "deeper" or "technical" or even "social" aspects of the music Tom made on FMF, but in short: what's not to like??

:D:P

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It's a great album, period. One the rejuvenated Tom and brought him a much broader mass appeal.

Perhaps FMF was the start of the unraveling of Stan with the band. FMF probably put the Heartbreakers on shaky ground.

Think about the song "Traveling". Tom says he wrote it on the way to a studio session with the HB, around 1988 I believe. He wrote it in the car, cause he didn't have any material ready for the session(s) and this song quickly emerged in his mind, maybe deep down from his subconscious. Maybe it was a foreshadowing. Was there a quickly scrapped HB album? I think so....

Remember....after Let Me Up, Tom was in free fall (pun intended), and maybe he needed a break. He'd had enough! Where to go next? Was he burnt out? Looking for something new and different? Wasn't he stoked when Dylan called and asked him go on tour...which perfectly provided another creative outlet and option? I thought I read recently that around this time that he called up Mike and was like, "Hey man, maybe it's time to hang it up." And Mike was like, "What, are you kidding me? Wait a few days and call me back when you feel better..."....This was the start of one of many of Tom's pivots and detours. Starting with "Songs in the Garage..." and then the accidental formation of the Wilburys. Surely he was traveling on....he continued this pattern with Wildflowers, the Unchained sessions, Highway Companion, and my favorite of all of Tom's detours...the REFORMATION OF MUDCRUTCH.

Of course the Heartbreakers were pissed and/or concerned in 1988-89. How could they not be? They were content and doing fine. Tom's moves moved their future, their career, their BAND...into the realm of uncertainty. Do you think that maybe they thought it was actually over??

Then, perhaps, Tom knew all along the HB would reunite. I bet they all breathed a collective sigh of relief when they started Into the Great Wide Open. We're back, baby! But the damage was done...for Stan...because he had to play all these new Tom Petty Solo Hits on tour!! Bore...snooze...! :)

Either way, FMF was a unique chapter in Tom and the Heartbreakers history. And an amazing album all around.

It would be appropriate to note here the ever faithful service of Mike Campbell. Always by Tom's side, never straying. Quietly, consistently, steadily lending his guitar magic and collaboration to all of Tom's projects. More than a Heartbreaker. The ultra humble and always available and king of cool Co-Captain. They say Keef is the heart and soul of the Stones. I would say the same for Mike with the Heartbreaks. I love this man.

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27 minutes ago, RedfordCowboy said:

They say Keef is the heart and soul of the Stones.

You mean he's the liver?

The heart and soul would be Brian Jones. And by now we all know just how far and wide some could go without neither.  ;)

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On 10/26/2017 at 9:36 AM, RedfordCowboy said:

Perhaps FMF was the start of the unraveling of Stan with the band. FMF probably put the Heartbreakers on shaky ground.

From the Warren Zanes book one gets the sense that there was tension as far back as Damn The Torpedoes and Long After Dark when they tried other drummers, but the unraveling began in earnest with Stan and Mike's fight during the Europe '87 tour with Bob Dylan. 

The two of them hardly ever spoke again.

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On 10/29/2017 at 5:49 AM, Jay said:

It's hard to imagine Mike fighting with anyone, but we don't really know him.

that said Stan comes off as an arrogant d*ck in the Running Down a Dream interviews.  Ever since watching that I have taken a dislike to the guy.  

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9 hours ago, Hoodoo Man said:

that said Stan comes off as an arrogant d*ck in the Running Down a Dream interviews.  Ever since watching that I have taken a dislike to the guy.  

To be fair to Stan, they did have the opportunity to cherry-pick the (very old) footage they used of him to frame him that way, since he wouldn't talk to Bogdanovich's interview crew. That said, I do agree that he was not a team player. If he didn't like the direction Tom was steering the ship, he should've done the respectful thing and walked away sooner. 

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12 hours ago, CrescentMoonFever said:

To be fair to Stan, they did have the opportunity to cherry-pick the (very old) footage they used of him to frame him that way, since he wouldn't talk to Bogdanovich's interview crew. That said, I do agree that he was not a team player. If he didn't like the direction Tom was steering the ship, he should've done the respectful thing and walked away sooner. 

Yeah they did cherry pick stuff from the old Behind the Music from 99 so there isn't much in the way of Stan which is a shame because I would really like to hear an updated opinion and view he has on the whole experience. But I gotta disagree with him not being a team player. If I was probably in his position, I too would probably be putting up a fight and trying to have some input on the material that's being worked on. Sure it's Tom's vision but they were a band, a cohesive unit, not just session musicians. They are the Heartbreakers, not the Wrecking Crew. One of the things that makes this band so great is the fact there was basically no lineup changes for 40 years. There aren't many bands that can say they were able to stay together as a unit for that long.

Also, the way you hear how Iovine and others talk about Stan, you can tell it's overly critical. The man is the most underrated member of the band. He was the engine that set the beat for nearly 20 years and helped drive those songs. So Stan may have been volatile and pissy at times, but Tom was as well. That's why they butt heads, both have strong personalities. I don't blame him for that. And I don't blame him for being mad on being asked to tour and play the songs off FMF after being told you weren't good enough and wanted for the actual making of the album. I'm glad the HBs did back him on that tour because who knows what would have become of the band and if they would still be a thing after 94 but still, I get where Stan was coming from.

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My interest in the band started to wane about the time that Stan left, not for that reason alone but something changed.

I also admired Stan for not just taking the money (which I suspect others did) and speaking out.

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11 hours ago, Jay said:

My interest in the band started to wane about the time that Stan left, not for that reason alone but something changed.

I also admired Stan for not just taking the money (which I suspect others did) and speaking out.

Must say, there something to be said for this. Agreed. Oftentimes you hear fans say how what happened was mostly Stan's fault, how he treated Tom badly, how what went down was Stan's loss. (Well.. d'uh. His loss, financially, I bet.)  But, personally I find it hard, if not pointless, to point blame, who was wrong and who was right. Musical visions change, as do people. I really think long time personal differences from.. well, the start?...  should not be underestimated, in this case.  Bottom line, for me, is that we are ALL on the losing end of Stan jumping ship, in some ways!

As long as we strictly talk about the music aspect at least. I think the Stan dimension of the music had a lot of merit. What he added to the TPATH sound and what visions he may have had for moving on, did have  a lot of credit. If nothing else, I think history has proven him right, the way lots of Mojo and HE is written. It's not that Tom ever regretted the switch from a sonically "equal" rhythm section (with temper and soul) to what is essentially more of a "backdrop" (a "time keeping machine" as it were). It's not that he ever doubted that he found his "favorite drummer in the world" in Steve. No, God bless Tom for sticking to his visions, follwing his muse and for keeping on releasing fantastic music. But there is more to this, as I see it. Stuff that goes beyond personal issues that may have been at the core, and beyond how the music was produced that may have been used as a "reason" for falling out, stuff that has to do with the very music itself, the inner qualities in Tom's songwriting.

The way I hear Tom's music, I would suggest that while the certain streak in Tom's songwriting that did rub Stan the wrong way, was gonna be there to stay from FMF on, it had in fact, been there a long time already by then. Perhaps it can be traced to a desire or a calling to write things with more of a polished and/or easy going pop sentiment, around the Southern Accents era? Perhaps even further back? More importantly: in hindsight it's plain to see that there wasn't a universal and irreversible shift from rock to mellow, from band to solo, the way Stan perhaps perceived it. If he perhaps felt the experiences with FMF, ITGWO and WF were substantially a logical end station for Tom, a new level at which Tom had arrived with his music, one that very rarely required the Heartbreakers as a band anymore, let alone in the original rock'n'roll sense, that is quite understandable. But if he did so, he was wrong! Not only did those very albums have stuff that was essentially Heartbreakers in character still - if at times masked by production beyond recognition - but before long, Tom was again to write and release more consistently in a rather Stan oriented, TPATH band vein, that is stuff that Stan would have added beautifully to, had he ever had the chance. If anything, by Mudcrtuch reunion and Mojo, Tom seemed to be fully back at an understanding and a desire in terms of his music, that was as band oriented and no-bs as it had ever been, writing stuff that was very "equal", very grounded in rock'n'roll and in many ways.. very Stan!* 

I for one can see how Stan would have suffered some, trying to stay alive creatively through some eras, had he stayed. Stan much more  so than say Ben (or Mike, who seemed to alwas to stay on the bright side ). And for me as a listener, I'm not sure I would have benefited much either, from hearing Stan on Wildflowers sessions, or on the lion parts of Echo or Last DJ. Very few songs there feels right for him and even fewer of the ideas on how to produce the stuff. He would be largely obsolete in that context. In the same way I also doubt I would have felt much difference, had it been Steve on ITGWO, for that matter. Stan is there, but he's not really there. All of it is a transitional era, where the drumming became as much a wallpaper as an integral instrument, is what I'm saying. That's how I hear it.

I'm sure, had the the personal aspects been different, Stan would have delivered perfectly (and in my taste, perhaps more interestingly as well) in the live context throughout. Most of all, Stan would have been right back in style on all levels for the last 10 years that was to be had of TPATH music - live AND studio. That is my conviction.** 

But that was never to be, for many obvious reasons and it is what it is. One such reason though is surely that Tom really - no matter the material he wrote, or the creative phases he went through in terms of roots and band aspects of his music - had made his mind up, he had decided sometime around his affiliations with Jeff Lynne that he wanted his beat to clinical, a sort of "preprogrammed" backdrop to his songs rather than a dynamic integral part of it. He wanted reliable. He wanted Steve. And he stuck to that vision to the very end, despite everything else. In that sense, I guess Stan may have been right all along, and he may have sensed it early on: Tom did develop a new vision for his songs - no matter where he went with his music - pop or rock, kicking or mellow, band or solo - he was ultimately gonna go with another beat than Stan would offer. He found his perfect technical solution (and perhaps also important, a socially smoother solution too) in Steve. Good call in some ways, I'm sure. It may have been what prolonged the journey, what saved the vessel, as it were.

But again, focusing on the music only, to me all this means, that at least in some ways - even with all the great post Stan music we've had, kept in mind, and even if Tom himself would've never admited as much - some of the Stan leaving, was not only his loss, or our loss, it was also Tom's loss.

In short: Stan's wild streak doesn't always fit, but to me it fits a lot better and a lot more often with Tom's music, than Tom seemed to think.

Not sure how this thread became a Stan thread.. quite ironically so.. :)    

 

---

*Not that neither Tom nor Stan would like Stan to come near it... Just saying. As far as visions and ideals go, what goes around comes around.. 

**In my book Steve works perfectly for some of the 1994-2002 studio material. Further he works great in every live context, of course! My personal taste for.. soul?.. though, tells me I prefer Stan's live drumming over Steve's. Further, Big chunks of Mojo and Hypnotic Eye make me think that Stan perhaps would have been preferable to the late era TPATH studio work too. To some extent Stan strikes me as the "missing link" in making HE the all out bad ass rock album it promises to be. (And almost is. It's a great album!) That's all rather hypothetical, but that's how I understand the songs and how I like the drums to work within the music.

 

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Hmmm... that was during the time of my last days at university. So my memory is a big foggy. (just about to start the college hangover) :)

But I do remember the thoughts of FMF being a breath of fresh air.

The late 80's was a strange time for music for me. I just went through the Duran Duran (guilty pleasure) MTV days. Classic rock was not classic yet. Some of the staples of the 'soon to be' genre were having in my opinion... uninspired(ing) years (e.g. Rush, AC/DC, Stones, Van Halen was soon to be in shambles even post DLR Hagar years, etc. - of course I know some will argue this is their best work ;) )

We didn't have the Internet, or streaming, so it wasn't like now where you listen to Buried Treasure and think... Wow! I forgot how good T-Bone Walker is, I think I'll check out his entire catalog. Where there's a will, there's a way... and I still have thousands of vinyl records as I explored and discovered... but it was a much different journey back then. No better, no worse... just different.

1989 was still in the years of Poison, Motley Crue and the hair metal bands (I did listen to my fair share... I admit), the introduction of Gn'R, the up-and-coming years of Debbie Gibson, boy bands, teen-pop and the transition from 80's 'rap' music to 90's hip hop.

None of that is bad, as that's the great thing about music... it speaks to different people differently. But for me, many of those transitions just drove me back to the bands I loved in junior high and high school... Led Zeppelin, early Rush, The Cult. I even went back to Damn the Torpedoes for TPatH music, and although I love those records now, I did not have an in-the-moment appreciation of his late 80's catalog.

FMF to me was something new/fresh, yet it was still rock and roll. I liked I could drink my wine coolers, shoot pool, talk with friends... and still enjoy great music without having to shout over some over-the-top guitar solo or thumping hip hop beat. It's a soundtrack to my life back then... and whenever I hear a track from FMF, it takes me back to the day and I think of drinking, smoking and throwing darts. (all good things!)

And I think that was true for many of my friends too. FMF introduced (and re-introduced) many to Tom's back catalog that was already extensive at that time... and I feel helped propel him for the big things to come... ItGWO, Greatest Hits... Wildflowers... and the catalog continues.

So, at least that's how I (hazily) remember it. If I could just find my Rubik's cube, Montgomery Ward boom box and neon color tank top I'd be set!!

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Someone just said Debbie Gibson around here?? 

:D

Seriously though, ODouglas, that's a great post! Thanks for sharing thoughts and insight. Good to have the album put in a wider context. Although context is always something vast and everchanging, right. 

As for myself, I first heard FMF from up in a tree. That is, I was sitting in the tree and the music came from a tape in a carstereo right underneath. Inside the car with "Tom", was this slightly older girl that I had taken a liking to. "They" kept the door open and I was listening closely to what was going on in there. He was telling her about how he used to live in a two room apartment and how love is a long road and how he won't back down, stuff like that. Things that are all very intruiging for a kid in a tree. Of course, just like Poison, certain things that seem so distant and unlikely today, still happened back then, like 13 year old boys climbing trees. And then what? Well, the girl drove off (next time I saw her, she was listening to The Rembrants) and I rode my bike right home to my dad's record collection to dig out Long After Dark, to restart my lifelong journey with Tom Petty properly. Of course, within days I got hold of a FMF copy, the weather was unusually sunny and warm I seem to recall. And the rest? Is history.

 

1 hour ago, OasisDouglas said:

Classic rock was not classic yet.

Hmm. Yeah. That in itself is a very interesting observation.

 

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