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RedfordCowboy

The Double LP That Tom Never Had

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I love double albums. How about you? Do they hold a special place with you?

What is it about double LP’s that make them so unique and special?

Is it because they’re simply more rare, and not everyone attempts them? Or because the label frowns upon them, wanting to spread them out into separate releases? When they are done right, with enough inspired material, double albums easily achieve epic status. Maybe it’s the fact that you get an over-abundance of music from the artist. As if one record wasn’t enough from your favorite band, you get two! It’s a feat on multiple levels.Surely it must be hard to capture THAT MANY good songs during one recording period, I imagine. Add to that a concept album and it's even more impressive. I’d like to think that the artist feels extremely inspired for this season, that they are in such a creative head space, that the songs keep flowing out. I love hearing when an artist says, “Yeah, we probably cut 40-50 songs, and had to pare them down…”

The White Album. Exile on Main St. The Wall. Mellon Collie. Physical Graffiti.

Which got me thinking. Tom never got his legendary double album…and we know that he did chase after it on more than one occasion. How badly do you think he wanted to do one? Do you think it was on his bucket list?

On that topic, I wanted to investigate the at least 3 times that Tom almost arrived at/realized/released a double LP.

1. Southern Accents
We wanted this one so bad. I love how we’ve discussed this album at length on threads here; imagining, re-imagining, inventing, analyzing, and proposing the proper final track list. Tom’s concept album of the American South, what it could of been still entices us to this day!

Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough)
What? A potential double LP? I was unaware of this until I read the liner notes in An American Treasure. Tom said he booked studio time for Dylan, who turns out wasn’t ready, so the Heartbreakers went in instead, and ended up in there for a month. 30 days later, they had enough songs in the can for a double album! Tom even said it was shaping up to be something like their Exile on Main St. Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s quite the intriguing statement. I dare anyone here to make an a imaginary double LP track list for Let Me Up! (just like we did for SA). Why? Cuz I’d love to see that. Are there enough songs from that time period to cull from? What would the Heartbreakers version of Exile sound like?

3. Wildflowers
Perhaps the closest TP release to becoming a true double album. We know the songs were there. Wildflowers- a knock out collection of his best material from that time, continually recognized as a fertile period of song writing. We know he spent 2 years crafting away at the songs for this record, and wow, was he in a sweet spot. How many songs were recorded? Thirty? More? And still no double album, as Tom originally intended. I wonder if it came out as planned, if Wildflowers would be in the pantheon of the all time great double albums? I think so……

Furthermore, with Wildflowers and beyond, Tom packed several of the HB albums with tracks, reaching 15 songs on several occasions. She’s the One: 15 songs. Echo: 15. Mojo: 15. Just a few more songs, and you’re ready for a double disc. Making me think that maybe Tom really wanted to do one....

 

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*Side note: I know that Pack up the Plantation was a double, but I’m speaking strictly in terms of official studio album releases. Besides, nearly all of the Live albums from that era of putting out live documents were double records. They almost had to be.

 

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I liked double albums because they had a lot of stuff to look at on the album covers.  I liked the gatefold for separating the seeds our of your weed too.  I  have nothing to add about Tom wanting or not wanting to make one, sorry.  Triple albums were cool too, although there weren't that many that I remember.  Probably  Yessongs, the live Rush album, and Woodstock are about all the triples I can remember.

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The closest he came was Wildflowers. I think he really wanted it and the quality of songwriting and production then would have justified it. By '94 double albums were probably pretty passe though.

They might have recorded a lot during Let Me Up, but that time period was not a creative high point considering what a clunker that album was. Obviously Southern Accents' concept had potential but the production was in such disarray that it couldn't have happened.

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6 hours ago, RedfordCowboy said:

What is it about double LP’s that make them so unique and special?

Could it be all the turn over - change record - turn over, it takes to listen to them...

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As for Tom, I'm not sure he ever aimed for the format as such, as a goal in itself. I think, for him, it was about was served the music and what the music added up to. In some cases, the ones you mention, the double idea may have fit the mood or amount of songs/ideas. But if he was talked out of it, in the case of Wildflowers, he probably blew the other ones more himself, so to speak, by not having enough good material or handling it strange, making odd priorities, production decisions or whatever. Until I get to hear ALL the leftover material from SA sessions and LMU sessions, I won't be able to tell if there is a double there somewhere or not. As they stand, to me, both of them can just barely be made perfect single albums, even if the best known material is culled and resequenced and put to use for the purpose.. It's some ways to a double for any of them.. but again, we haven't heard what's on the shelf.

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Though there were definitely other songs recorded for the sessions that were not played live, eventually released on Playback, or made it onto the album, the songs from the Let Me Up era that we officially know about are listed below. Even though there's more that haven't surfaced, this right here is enough for a double album.

from the Let Me Up album proper:

Jammin' Me

Runaway Trains

The Damage You've Done

It'll All Work Out

Think About Me

All Mixed Up

A Self-Made Man

Ain't Love Strange

How Many More Days

Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)

 

from Playback:

Ways to be Wicked

Can't Get Her Out (performed live at least twice in June 1986, too)

You Come Through

Make that Connection (B Side)

 

played live but not released:

Tonight Will Be My Night

Ain't Enough Money

Goodbye Little Rich Girl

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"Goodbye Little Rich Girl" is available from Oct 15, 1987 at Wembley Arena. Roger McGuinn opens the show, followed by TPATH and closed by Bob Dylan. The 6th song in TPATH's set is "goodbye little rich girl" that starts at 57 min 02 sec into the show. Here's the link to listen to the show.

New video for today, again with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and special guest Roger McGuinn. This is the 34th concert from 1987, the second of four nights in London, and the 88th with the Heartbreakers. The tape comes from LB-3481 and is a complete audience stereo recording. Another tribute to Tom Petty and is collaboration with Bob, with a small series revolving around the London residency at the end of the Temple In Flames Tour. Those shows were the last they shared as co-stars, apart from a few other collaborations. The last shows in London were grandiose to say the least. The second show is really special since it is the only one with the complete set by former Byrds and band-member of the Rolling Thunder Revue, Roger McGuinn, to circulate entirely. You have classics from both McGuinn, Tom Petty, and of course Bob. The show is stellar, especially the heartbreaking Señor. Hope you will like it Here is the setlist

Roger McGuinn Set 1. Don’t You Write Her Off 00:00 2. Ballad Of Easy Rider / I Wasn't Born To Follow 02:11 3. The Bells Of Rhymney 05:36 4. Light Up The Darkness 09:30 5. Tiffany Queen 11:30 6. Chestnut Mare 13:40 7. Drug Store Truck Driving Man 18:34 8. King Of The Hill 22:07 9. Eight Miles High 26:27 10. Turn, Turn, Turn 31:03 11. Mr. Tambourine Man 34:07

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Set 1. Keep Your Hands To Yourself 36:32 2. How Many More Days 40:02 3. The Image of Me 43:48 4. American Girl 47:09 5. It’s All Work Out 51:17 6. Goodbye Little Rich Girl 57:02 7. Don’t Come Around Here No More 1:01:51 8. Should I Stay Or Should I Go 1:09:08 9. Southern Accent 1:12:12 10. So You Wanna Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star (With Roger McGuinn) 1:17:34 11. Refugee 1:20:56

Bob Dylan Set 1. Blowin' In The Wind 1:26:24 2. Like A Rolling Stone 1:31:05 3. Maggie's Farm 1:36:05 4. Ballad Of A Thin Man 1:40:11 5. I'll Remember You 1:45:27 6. Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power) 1:50:41 7. Clean Cut Kid 1:55:53 8. Simple Twist Of Fate 1:58:31 9. Watching The River Flow 2:03:10 10. John Brown 2:06:07 11. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll 2:11:21 12. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right 2:16:45 13. Dead Man, Dead Man 2:20:09 14. Forever Young 2:24:58 15. Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 2:31:25

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"Tonight Will/Might Be My Night" was performed frequently during the 1986 tour with Bob Dylan, and yes he did often say it was going to be on the next album. The main riff for the song actually became the solo in "Mary Jane's Last Dance."

"Ain't Enough Money" was performed twice on the Temple in Flames 1987 tour: on 9-19 and 10-4. I posted the audio of the 10-4 show to the "Best of Everything" forum here a few months ago and 9-19 is available on The Traders' Den. The version from the 10-4 show is superior to the 9-19 one, in my opinion.

"Goodbye Little Rich Girl" was performed almost every night during that same tour, and so many audio versions of the song exist. A video of the song can be found at the video I pasted below at the 47 minute mark. Out of these three songs it's the one I go back and listen to the least.

These three songs are definitely bluesier than anything that wound up on Let Me Up, so perhaps that's why they were left off the album. Who knows!

 

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I was thinking about "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" (mentioned above).  That was one that shocked me when the Heartbreakers covered it.  Obviously, they've always played a lot of covers, but that was essentially a new song by another band that was out there actively playing it themselves - and it was a big hit.  That was atypical of the Heartbreakers.  Usually, their covers were songs that the original band was either not around anymore, or they weren't playing it - or if they were, it was still a pretty old song.   

I don't know that there are too many examples of "current" songs from other bands that the Heartbreakers were covering live.  The 'Beck" tune and the "Lucinda" tune off "She's The One" were fairly new I guess, but not really hits?  "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" by the Georgia Satellites was played to death on the radio.  Just an oddity for me. Maybe someone can think of others like this example.

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8 hours ago, TomFest said:

Just an oddity for me. Maybe someone can think of others like this example.

I suppose Should I Stay or Shoukd I Go (The Clash) could be said to be a bit of an oddity as well.. Sure it was already 5 years old when TPATH picked it up for frequent playing in 87 (they kept it til 89, I seem to recall)... But in those days (and certainly for a 70s band like the Clash) it was still fairly contemporary and a fairly commercial hit as well. Not to mention that obscure jeans brand (can't think of it's name, but it somehow got the letters in Elvis name a bit scrambled..!) making the song REALLY big in 1991.. making TPATH's call catching it right in the middle of it's heyday.. so to speak. 

The timing, again... speaking of Georgia Satellites (even opening for TPATH at the time, how's that for making the cover in question even more odd, or obvious, depending on angle.). Anyway.. end of 80s.. there's Tom, actually on the verge of his own commercial hits peak, with an extra keen eye seemingly for contemporary hits to cover.. a special era, for sure. How I wished that they picked up Sweet Child Of Mine while they're at it.. and let Mike loose...

 

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I agree with you there about covers. :huh:

Most of their covers were the sort of music also covered on Hidden Treasures, which I'm guessing is the bands' musical heartland.  Musical heritage (blues, soul, r& b), lots of 1950s rock & roll, lots of 1960s (especially British Invasion), & a few here & there from after 1970. 

They did pick up on people like JJ Cale & Van Morrison even though they are from after 1970. Favorite songwriters? 

Maybe... not about when it was written as about quality of song? ... They played them because they liked the songs?  

Another thought... Sometimes they might have chosen a song because of the moment (as a shout-out to someone because of some significant link / birthday / passing / anniversary) or who's  onstage with them as a guest (ie playing Mona with Bo Diddley).  I read about how Bruce Springsteen & Bob Dylan joined them onstage one time - they played one that Bruce chose (Travelin Band by Creedence) & one that Bob chose (Leopard -Skin Pill Box Hat).  On a concert playlist it might seem that the band chose the Creedence song even though it was actually their guest who chose. ;)

Maybe the Georgia Satellites song might have been played in same way?  Good song from one of the support bands so here it is again with some Satellites joining the Heartbreakers up on-stage?  (In a quick aside, there's that great moment in the MTV video where Satellites are being filmed live sitting in the back of a truck driving through Georgia & the singer is viciously swiped by an overhanging tree branch but just laughs.)  

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Is there's also possibility of "rescuing" a song that someone else played not-very-well?

  • For example, Eddie Cochran's Somethin' Else that Sid Vicious played in late 1970s punk style.  I personally like to think they reacted by saying "What?? Let's show the world (ok, one audience at a time) how good it should sound.  We'll rescue this one from Sid's version & restore it to its proper place." 

(But that's just me!) 

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16 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

Is there's also possibility of "rescuing" a song that someone else played not-very-well?

Not exactly the same thing, but check underneath the music section on this page: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CreatorPreferredAdaptation

For instances when the covers are more popular than the originals (check the quotes page, lol) https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CoveredUp

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On 10/30/2018 at 11:11 AM, TomFest said:

I don't know that there are too many examples of "current" songs from other bands that the Heartbreakers were covering live.  The 'Beck" tune and the "Lucinda" tune off "She's The One" were fairly new I guess, but not really hits?  "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" by the Georgia Satellites was played to death on the radio.  Just an oddity for me. Maybe someone can think of others like this example.

During the weekend this question buzzed around in the back of my brain (peeking into cardboard boxes of information next to the old ski gear) while the rest of me was busy doing weekend things.

  • How about "I'm Tired Joey Boy"? Written by Van Morrison & released in 1989 (Avalon Sunset, I think).

I checked setlist fm who list this song as played by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in their 1990-1991 tour. 

Then it's released on Playback in 1995

  • The gap between being created by Van the Man & being played by Tom & the guys is only a year or two.  (Wow!!)

She's a gorgeous timeless song with lush piano intro.  I actually double checked (can't trust on memory) as it sounds like a traditional folk lullaby.  

Couple of recordings out there including two on youtube - here's the one from Stockholm.  

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

Couple of recordings out there including two on youtube - here's the one from Stockholm.  

Hu, nice find! I was at that show. But while I do have a cd-r of the show somewhere, I did not know this one was on youtube.

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aww you guys were there!!!  (How I wish I'd been born earlier & not in a relatively remote place.)

I do like how he introduces it as a "good song."  Shame he doesn't say "and for people who are here now  & also for people in the future, let me explain the significance in our song choice" :) 

I only figured this puzzle out - to be honest - because I'm fascinated by TPATH's covers & their musical inspirations & heritage.  For instance, this has lead me to soul singers like Sam Cooke & Solomon Burke & Ray Charles & lots more, which is an added bonus.  Tom singing and also other guys singing.  Who could ask for anything more? 

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9 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

aww you guys were there!!!  (How I wish I'd been born earlier & not in a relatively remote place.)

Well.. from a strictly TPATH standpoint, I'd say Stockholm is remote enough... 😁

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