Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Hoodoo Man

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers "cover songs"

Recommended Posts

OK we have a cover song thread with other folks doing TPHB but Tom and the Boys did an amazing amount of cover songs. 

In honor of the passing of Bill Withers I will start us out with this Fillmore gem.  I know not everyone loved these guys doing cover songs, but they were an amazing band and seemed able to cover most genres with aplomb. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, nurktwin said:

^      I thought we had a cover section on this.

I only recall this thread which is  covers of TPHB songs by other bands. I looked in about 5 pages of search results and did not see  a thread but there may be one out there...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I seem to recall there was a "complete" list somewhere a few years back, but it's like the needle in the hay, I suppose.. 

Of course, there is always this:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, martin03345 said:

I'm personally fond of their cover of "Keep Your Hands to Yourself". A rarely played cover but they do the best rock song ever justice.

been meaning to track a copy of that song down for a while. I first saw the band live in the tour with the Del Fuegos and Georgia Satellites and really enjoy the GS! Only recently read about them covering it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buzzing around the top of my list are usually: 

Willin' -- Down Home Girl -- Stories We Could Tell -- Cryin' -- Gotta Move -- Crackin' Up -- Licence To Kill -- Traveling Light -- Something In The Air -- Cry To Me 

But yeah.. it's quite a looong list, isn't it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something in the air

Six days on the road

13 days

Traveling light (epic 11-minute jam)

The ballad of easy rider

Willin’

I’m not your stepping stone

So you wanna be a rock ‘n’ roll star

I’d like to love you baby

Something else!!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Shelter said:

^ Yeah!

As for Willin', I really think they claimed that one for their own. My only little "regret" is that Howie was never on it....

So, head-phones on, big screen mode.. and then.. how is this not spine chilling?

 

That in all honesty is probably my favorite cover they ever done. It's up there.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Mr Timba said:

Another fav of mine. Not Heartbreakers. Mudcrutch. Lover of the Bayou.

 

That sure is incredible!

If you ask me - please do - I'd say that is even miles better than the original.

And that, in this particular line of business, is when the playing becomes real serious art, isn't it.

The total world of covers is kinda like an ice berg, right? What's up there above the waterline, is the amazing stuff that has been taken somewhere new and exciting. Then, level with the surface, is the stuff that kinda compares. Then dive below, if you dare.. there are the stinky muck of the rest of it, all the countless and pointless versions of songs where the performers either does not wrap their heads around the original enough to decode or reconstruct it, or just fail in desperate attempts to catch a free ride on a famous song. The true art, to me, is to really get under the skin of the thing and reanimate it.. If you are good you may create a cool Frankenstein's monster, if you are great you leave the original behind like a shadow or blueprint and you show it's inner light.

Having an eye and an ear to make this happen to a song that is perhaps unknown or bleak.. at best average ..in it's original shape - to see the potential of it - is one aspect of it. To rearrange an already amazing cut - and this seems, despite the intimidating prospect of it all, to be what most prefer to do, and why most fail, may I add - is obviously as thrilling as it is rewarding, when you pull it off.

Of course it's up to individual taste, when a cover work and how it works, but I think - and I am certain I've said this before around here - covers are part of what playing music is all about. Understanding the legacy and exploring it, reforming it, expanding on it. It's an ongoing process, a stream in the midst of which all who play or write music will find themselves, no matter how original they are or think they are. So in many ways the craft of cutting a cover is also what separate the average and the posers from the real music ears and the real creative minds.*

And.. here comes the punch line to all these ramblings - as if you didn't already know these things - I think TP(ATH) had a real keen ear for these things. Rarely did he pick a cover and not adding dimension or swagger to it.** He even was quite the master at picked a lot of briliant stuff, that really suited the TPATH vessel, and took some amazing songs to some amazing levels. Some of them had been mentioned in this thread. Tom had a voice and a phrasing and perhaps even a certain swing that really added some magic to a lot of those songs, at times even allowed them to outshine their former selves.***

So it's very fitting - and more than fair - that you should now mention Mudcrutch! Much like the original Rolling Stones line-up and most other early stage bands, playing covers was a comparatively large part of what Mudcrutch did (from necessity - young bands just don't have a lot of own material early on, and Mudcrutch just happens to be the oldest young band I ever loved). To me most really interesting bands went on to keep this aspect close to heart while moving into stardom or classic status. And this must be said both for TPATH and Mudcrutch, surely. Unlike the former, though, the latter even kept a lot of this DNA alive on record (like so many 60s bands before them - just look at the british invasion scene, that was so key to understanding TP music, and how all those records are just packed with covers and versions of the same pool of songs largely). And that may be precisely why they deserve to be mentioned in this context.

To me this is namely key to why the first Mudcrutch album will always be slightly superior to the second one. Simply because of it's perceived lack of originality, and how the band conduct themselves with such swagger and punch right through it, it ends up the more original album of the two. Which at least go some bits towards proving my main points in this post. The treatment of the traditional Shady Groove, the amazing take of Lover of The Bayou and the absolutely killer swing of Six Days On The Road.. man the latter is just pure fuel, isn't it. Right there.. they nail three evergreens, in what might be consider ultimate versions - it's like these songs been begging for the phrasing and cool beat of TP all their lives. Add to that covers they played when performing live. This is not a sign of weakness, mind you. This is the raw backbone of one of the best folk rock albums in the modern era. Kudos Mudcrutch, a point well taken!

 

 

-----

*I guess there are lesser artists who have struck on the ultimate understanding of a song, the right circumstances and so on.. In fact several of the best cover versions in the history of rock happens to be one hit wonders, so you never know. Furthermore, I suppose there are great original artists who has never cut or played a single cover in their life, it's just that I can't think of any right now.

**I suppose there are some classic 50s rockers that were played for the sheer joy of it and that didn't end up overly briliant, and I suppose TP tried to create himself one or two cover monuments too many over the years, songs that outstayed their welcome, IMO... But over all.. he never failed with the covers, to pick cool ones and to nail them. That is not to say that in my dreams he could have taken it even further.

***Perhaps this was especially highlighted in the Stan and Howie era (sure, I'm one of those guys). Still some of the grooviest song picks and versions to my personal taste belongs in the latter era of the band.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Shelter said:

The total world of covers is kinda like an ice berg, right? What's up there above the waterline, is the amazing stuff that has been taken somewhere new and exciting. Then, level with the surface, is the stuff that kinda compares. Then dive below, if you dare.. there are the stinky muck of the rest of it, all the countless and pointless versions of songs where the performers either does not wrap their heads around the original enough to decode or reconstruct it, or just fail in desperate attempts to catch a free ride on a famous song. The true art, to me, is to really get under the skin of the thing and reanimate it.. If you are good you may create a cool Frankenstein's monster, if you are great you leave the original behind like a shadow or blueprint and you show it's inner light.

Wow! That's quite an accurate and interesting description of the cover song process. Nicely worded.

I think you're right. For me, the most interesting covers are the ones where the performer reworks the song, the most obvious yet still potent would be Hendrix and Watchtower. The next level are when a band brings a furious energy to a cover, I'd put Pearl Jam and Rockin' in the Free World/Sonic Reducer, or Zeppelin with their medley of covers during Whole Lotta Love, where they'd bring a wild manic propulsion, a complete anything goes vibe. I like both approaches generally.

6 hours ago, Shelter said:

To rearrange an already amazing cut - and this seems, despite the intimidating prospect of it all, to be what most prefer to do, and why most fail, may I add - is obviously as thrilling as it is rewarding, when you pull it off.

I guess that something in the song so spoke to the artist covering it that they were moved to offer their own interpretation; it's something I never really considered before, I mean, I listen to Hendrix Watchtower and am amazed at the playing, the performance, the power...the alliteration but it just is there, right...fully formed. And maybe that's how it was for him, but your point, about having the passion to take something that already works, and do your version, that somehow emphasizes other perhaps more subtle qualities is amazing, isn't it? And you're right, quite the risk, of not just failure but outright disgust and derision from fans of the original piece if not the artist as well.

Not something I'd considered before, thanks for your thoughts on this.

More...maybe?

ciao

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Shelter very well said above.  I think the best example of the virtue of the covers TPHB did is "Mystic Eye" the original  by Them* the original studio cut is somewhere around 3 min., THB blow it out to around 11 minutes and have the lovely interlude where Tom talks about moments of perfection,  which even before the he passed away, and the world went to hell was just a beautiful moment in time. 

I have to give pause and say if I had a time machine  there are a handful of things I would try and change in the world but I would also squander it seeing some more Tom Petty shows, visiting with lost relatives and seeing live in person the Doors and Hendrix as well as a handful of other greats that I never saw while they were living. 

I was blessed to catch a dozen or so TP shows, and a Mudcrutch show at the HOB Boston, I think the bands worst show holds up quite well against some of the other best tours I saw including Pink Floyd, Bruce or Bob Seger to name a few, its hard for me to do a top ten favorite concerts and include this band as it pretty much fills it out. 

* an interesting tidbit I heard on TPR from Mark Felost was that the original version of "Mystic eyes" by Them was much longer but had to be trimmed down for radio and the studio version was released as we know it for that reason, so the Hearbreakers version may well be more true to the original than we would guess but I have to imagine the spoken word part is all Tom. 💘

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, the Heartbreakers were not making any cover song "their own".  They were doing a faithful recreation of their favorite version of the song.  Usually not even by the artist that wrote the song, but another band that covered it.  People like Joe Cocker and Linda Ronstadt were more along the lines of recreating the song in a new way.  Not the Heartbreakers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Hoodoo Man said:

@Shelter very well said above.  I think the best example of the virtue of the covers TPHB did is "Mystic Eye" the original  by Them* the original studio cut is somewhere around 3 min., THB blow it out to around 11 minutes and have the lovely interlude where Tom talks about moments of perfection,  which even before the he passed away, and the world went to hell was just a beautiful moment in time. 

I have to give pause and say if I had a time machine  there are a handful of things I would try and change in the world but I would also squander it seeing some more Tom Petty shows, visiting with lost relatives and seeing live in person the Doors and Hendrix as well as a handful of other greats that I never saw while they were living. 

I was blessed to catch a dozen or so TP shows, and a Mudcrutch show at the HOB Boston, I think the bands worst show holds up quite well against some of the other best tours I saw including Pink Floyd, Bruce or Bob Seger to name a few, its hard for me to do a top ten favorite concerts and include this band as it pretty much fills it out. 

* an interesting tidbit I heard on TPR from Mark Felost was that the original version of "Mystic eyes" by Them was much longer but had to be trimmed down for radio and the studio version was released as we know it for that reason, so the Hearbreakers version may well be more true to the original than we would guess but I have to imagine the spoken word part is all Tom. 💘

 

Mystic Eyes is garbage LMAO. Give me Gloria any day of the week. That should've been on the Live Anthology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. I wouldn't call Mystic Eyes garbage, but I don't care much for it.  Gloria was truly inspired sometimes.  But which one would you pick?  The story evolved over time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...