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Hoodoo Man

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers "cover songs"

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5 hours ago, martin03345 said:

Mystic Eyes is garbage LMAO.

I don't care for it but I wouldn't call it garbage either. That's a bit harsh. But I like where this Martin fellow is going with this topic. Cut of his jib and all that. Let's see...

5 hours ago, martin03345 said:

Give me Gloria any day of the week.

I take it back! That's even worse than Mystic Eyes!

A ten minute Makin' Some Noise, now that's good. A ten minute You Wreck Me is fine too. Or Two Men Talkin, Melinda, Drivin'. But Mystic Eyes? Gloria? Nooo.

ciao

 

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14 hours ago, TomFest said:

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. 

This is a valid point, of course. The best and most interesting cover versions out there are decidedly removed from their originals. I freely admit both that the most common way to really make someone else's song your own is to really remodel it, and that Tom wasn't one to really do so. I'm not quite as certain that the definition needs to be all that narrow though. See, one dimension of my point above was that picking the right song can itself be part of what makes it become yours, at least in part. Sometimes a cover version, even if it's almost identical to the original in shape and form, becomes more "definitive" simply by offering a more interesting arrangement or a better phrased vocals. Just a light brush can go a long way if you have the perfect tone and delivery for certain material. Not to menion that if you play a song enough, you get to be associated with it. Especially so, if the the song wasn't the most well played and world famous chart stopper to begin with.

You may, in short, be a better suited artist for the song than was the original performer (or the writer not to mention). Even if TPATH added at least some element(s) of their own to the arrangement or approach, I think a lot of Tom's credit here is due to him picking the perfect material, where his personal delivery, sneer, beat and touch (or whatever) elevated the song. This is not to say that it was always better than the original, but at least on a few occasions I'd suggest that TPATH made what could arguably be called the defintive version of a song. And some they kept delivering on and of for years too. 

In other words, they made a few of those old gems their own - at least in a sense I think, if not always in terms of intellectual property. There are a few covers over the years that they are at least semi associated with, wouldn't you say. Then there are even more of them that I think they should've been known for, since they - at least in my opinion - made the ultimate versions.

Then again, since this whole issue lands somewhere in the twilight zone between taste and facts (key, beat, lyrics) it's kinda hard to know for sure...

 

12 hours ago, martin03345 said:

Mystic Eyes is garbage LMAO. Give me Gloria any day of the week.

:D Interesting. As it happens, those two were exactly top candidates of songs that I had in mind when implying (above) that maybe sometimes Tom worked too hard and too long on some of his covers. To the point of them losing much of their luster and outstaying their welcome. So, while some here love one and others love the other, I find them both quite pointless.

Well.. to put some meat on that.. Certainly the first few times he played them must have been pretty cool to the ones in attendance. Between both songs' obvious basic qualities and the novelty of TPATH picking them up and treating them nicely, sure is room for some excitement. It's not that it ever was the worst idea ever. But in the light of the ritual both of them eventually became, I think proof has it there were sooo many other and much better places to go, both in terms of other covers and sadly overlooked originals. In short, they weren't, in my honest opinion, pretty darn far from THAT good. It was basically lazy to let them linger.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Shelter said:

So, while some here love one and others love the other, I find them both quite pointless.......But in the light of the ritual both of them eventually became, I think proof has it there were sooo many other and much better places to go, both in terms of other covers and sadly overlooked originals.

The music is the biggest failing of these covers for me. I like simplicity, I appreciate it, look at Learning To Fly, I think it's the same three or four chords in the whole song. I love a lot of the Ramones material. But Gloria and Mystic Eyes offer nothing of interest for the length of time they take up, I don't even care for the music on a basic level let alone stretched out as they do.

There's no interesting groove, nothing really, unlike IGTBK that goes to some interesting places before they wrap up the jamming, On top of that, Tom, especially in Gloria would go on and on with an uninteresting story; sure I understand people enjoying it in person or maybe the first few times hearing it but it's, in my opinion, no way worthy of such a place in the set, a pretty big climax to the end of the show before the last song or songs.

On top of it, TPATH go to the break-it-down part too many times, it's like fast beginning, then they bring it down and Tom goes into his schtick and then they wrap it up. It's a change in dynamics but boring, that it's filled with some variation of a story makes it even worse. TPATH were a great bunch of talented musicians and it was like making an Audi Quattro sit in a traffic jam.

I realize the shows were for the audience in attendance, not some future audience listening to bootlegs and posting it here but live albums, bootleg or not are a valid part of a band's history, energy, and I think in that light, these covers sucked up time that could've gone to deep cuts or even a big hit, I'd prefer they explore Refugee or Don't Come Around Here No More to the length of time they spent on Gloria and Mystic Eyes.

cheers

 

 

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4 hours ago, Shelter said:

I think a lot of Tom's credit here is due to him picking the perfect material, where his personal delivery, sneer, beat and touch (or whatever) elevated the song. This is not to say that it was always better than the original, but at least on a few occasions I'd suggest that TPATH made what could arguably be called the defintive version of a song. And some they kept delivering on and of for years too. 

While being unfamiliar with 99% of Tom's cover choices, I get what you're saying in theory. Certainly, while not reworking a song but bringing their own natural and unique energy can make for a fun musical experience. To lean this towards PJ briefly, they play Rockin' in the Free World so often I've come to associate the tune with them rather than Neil Young. 

I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing has happened with TPATH in relation to some of their covers, but even if not, I get how a band's energy and take, even if sticking to the original song structure can offer something new, the way someone will tell another's joke, leading to the punchline though their delivery may vary. Their deliver me may very.

Maybe y'all want to be delivered from this post! Where's the Maxwell House? At least six feet away. More like six hundred.

ciao

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well for me Gloria is also a good cover song. I like the little spoken word bit / story telling part from the Fillmore show. It reminds me of the Doors cover of the song where Jim did a lot of embellishment and told a story during the song,  the nice thing for me at this point is you can simply skip the tracks you enjoy and listen to your heart is content on the ones you like. ;)  Now the question is should I stay or should I go now? Your answer might just Clash so keep your hands to yourself or end up like a Georgia Satellite... 

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20 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I've come to associate the tune with them rather than Neil Young. 

I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing has happened with TPATH in relation to some of their covers

Case in point: The last two times I saw Roger McGuinn live, he introduced So You Wanna Be a Rock n Roll Star with, “Whenever I play this, people in the audience turn to each other and say, ‘Oh, he’s playing that Tom Petty song.’” 

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2 hours ago, Arete411 said:

Case in point: The last two times I saw Roger McGuinn live, he introduced So You Wanna Be a Rock n Roll Star with, “Whenever I play this, people in the audience turn to each other and say, ‘Oh, he’s playing that Tom Petty song.’” 

Ha ha ha! 

cheers

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On 4/16/2020 at 10:57 PM, TomFest said:

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.

I think this is the case of Needles and Pins, I think they did it "a la" Del Shannon. Yes, I know, it is difficult to say for sure, of course,  (I love this kind of insubstantial songs! 😎)

 

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Could be, but Del's version is pretty much note for note with The Searchers.  The difference with Stevie and Tom's version is that Stevie sings her spectacular harmonies on every line of the song.  It really is one of my very favorite pieces of singing she ever did outside Fleetwood Mac.   Singing harmony is my favorite part of being a musician and they did amazing work together.

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On 4/17/2020 at 12:26 AM, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I don't care for it but I wouldn't call it garbage either. That's a bit harsh. But I like where this Martin fellow is going with this topic. Cut of his jib and all that. Let's see...

I take it back! That's even worse than Mystic Eyes!

A ten minute Makin' Some Noise, now that's good. A ten minute You Wreck Me is fine too. Or Two Men Talkin, Melinda, Drivin'. But Mystic Eyes? Gloria? Nooo.

ciao

 

LOL. I know a lot of people here dislike "Gloria" but I enjoy the crunchy drawn out riff on the more drawn out versions they would do. I also greatly enjoy him talking about Sally Jesse Raphael. That and it's just more upbeat and fun to sing along to than him doing a poor man's acoustic rendition of his "Learning to Fly" talk that got old ages ago to an overall mediocre Them track.

Tic-for-tac on that one though.

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27 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I don't know about that; I figure most people here like it. G L O R izzzzzzzzzzzzzz

That genuinely made me laugh out loud. Well played. Made me imagine him passing out mid line during that last triumph spelling out of the name before the song goes back to the chorus to end. Well played indeed.

At least when I like something that's trashy and admittedly not great and flawed, I'll take it in stride and say you make some great points on that lol.

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17 hours ago, TomFest said:

Singing harmony is my favorite part of being a musician and they did amazing work together.

Talking about covers and hamonies... "My back pages" is not  exactly a cover but Tom's is singing another one's song.

I guess probably we all know that Bob and Tom they had to overdub their whole parts of the song. Bob because he did his everyday thing and Sony/Columbia wanted another thing, they wanted a nice sounding single to put on the radio. Tom had to re-record his whole part simply because he was wrong with the first line he sang.

Tom also overdubbed the chorus. They paste a clean track with his voice in some/all the chorus parts. 

My back Pages without overdubs.

 

My back pages with all the tricky things.

Even more obvious in the 2014 reissue

 

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On 4/17/2020 at 10:18 AM, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

But Gloria and Mystic Eyes offer nothing of interest for the length of time they take up, I don't even care for the music on a basic level let alone stretched out as they do.

I can't stand either one as played by TPATH, and they are immediately skipped.  I actually like the original Them version of Gloria; it's the long stupid story that kills it for me.   And the length, and the way they did it so often.  Gloria 132 times!  And it takes up about 10 minutes, so you could have at least two good self-authored songs in that time frame.  

https://www.setlist.fm/stats/tom-petty-and-the-heartbreakers-6bd6e20a.html

 

On 4/17/2020 at 6:17 AM, Shelter said:

I think a lot of Tom's credit here is due to him picking the perfect material

 In the early days, I might have agreed with that.  Route 66, I Fought The Law, Anyway You Want It, Louie Louie, Bye Bye Johnny - those were all great and energetic songs.  But in his last couple of decades, I pretty much hated the cover songs they did.  Not just Gloria and Mystic Eyes, but Oh Well too.  Again, they neglected their own great song catalog in favor of these inferior songs? 

And when they did their theater residencies (SF, Chicago, NYC), where they presumably had die-hard fans and didn't feel a need to play their "greatest hits" for 75% of the setlist, instead of reaching back for their own great songs, they covered other people's mediocre songs.  What a missed opportunity to revive their own song catalog.  Sorry but much as I loved the songs TP created, and loved his performances of them, I think he did a very poor job of selecting the setlists after 1995.  That's including but not limited to a poor choice of covers.      

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2 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

  Again, they neglected their own great song catalog in favor of these inferior songs? 

Yes, but no apples in the dissection of pears thread now... Don't mix up your arguments here. 

3 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

In the early days, I might have agreed with that

Seems we don't agree on anything here. Other than thinking how he generally went right with his covers, I'd say that the few times he DID end up with songs and versions that WASN'T a perfect fit for his tone - where the result was just too generic or downright whiny - was some of the straight up old school rockers like some of the ones you mention. (I never thought he was a good vocal fit for the Louie-s and Johnny-s.) And just about the ONLY real 'clunkers' in the latter eras were exactly the three you mention (and perhaps one or two others..). 

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13 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Not just Gloria and Mystic Eyes, but Oh Well too.  Again, they neglected their own great song catalog in favor of these inferior songs? 

Yes, thanks for pointing out Oh Well. I don't get that one at all. While I don't like Gloria/Mystic Eyes, those at least came at the end of the night and were a featured major point of the show, an big epic song, something they built towards and while I didn't enjoy it, I get why they were played at that point.

But Oh Well? A Fleetwood Mac song smack dab in the middle or early part of the show? I get they wanted to play something uptempo but why not one of their own songs? Surely there were other people like me in the audience who didn't even know it was a Fleetwood Mac song, who don't even listen to that band. Why not Makin' Some Noise? Finding Out? Too Much Ain't Enough? The Criminal Kind? Come on Down To My House? Why just rattle off a quick song with Tom on the marracas? I don't get it. 

14 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

And when they did their theater residencies (SF, Chicago, NYC), where they presumably had die-hard fans and didn't feel a need to play their "greatest hits" for 75% of the setlist, instead of reaching back for their own great songs, they covered other people's mediocre songs. 

Ha ha ha, exactly! I'd get excited, this is the "free from free fallin' tour" and then...a bunch of covers. And the thing is, most people love 'em. I remember reading a review of the Live Anthology and a major high point were the covers.

Even a rolling stone interview of the last round of residencies they ever did seemed to focus on the covers, I particularly remember a question focused on Steppin' Stone.  I don't want hear freakin' covers! Who the heck is going to ever play Finding Out if TPATH don't? Or any of a number of deep cuts? Yes, it was great when they pulled out When The Time Comes, Nighwatchman, etc. But that's just the beginning of what I pictured the residencies to be, like you said, "presumably...die-hard fans" who know this stuff, who want to hear 'em. 

Did Tom really underrate his own work? Extreme modesty? Just had too much fun playing the covers? A mix of all of the above? And yet, Benmont pulled out a deep cut at a solo performance and Mike has filled his instagram with some...he just did a solo take on My Life/Your World...! So there was a lot of untapped potential there. But...I really think you are expressing a minority opinion Drew and while I fully agree with you, I think most, even if they would've liked to hear deep cuts, enjoyed the covers.

14 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Sorry but much as I loved the songs TP created, and loved his performances of them, I think he did a very poor job of selecting the setlists after 1995.  That's including but not limited to a poor choice of covers.      

I'm one of the biggest set list critics on here but there were shows where they did vary it up and did pull out deep cuts of varying degrees. But largely I agree with you.

cheers

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10 hours ago, Shelter said:

Yes, but no apples in the dissection of pears thread now... Don't mix up your arguments here. 

I've got a blender set to puree and all the fruits going in...! In other words, more on this to come, another go-round on the covers and the role they played in the set list. 

10 hours ago, Shelter said:

he was a good vocal fit for the Louie-s

  Out of all the covers, my impression was this was just a really fun one, not to be taken seriously. Sure, if you don't care for his vocals I get that but on this particular tune, I think it was more of the fun energy of the song. If hearing it grinds your gears, fine but it just seems like too harsh a criticism. Ha! Me defending a cover...!

Anyway...more on all this another time.

Till then,

cheers

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30 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

In other words, more on this to come, another go-round on the covers

Ok, good. Since I thought this was a thread for covers. Which ones and how they were played and so on.

That they WERE played - from day one to the bitter end - is a bit hard to deny, even if many of us would rather have heard some rare originals. Point taken, shared and beaten to death. But isnt the latter at least a little bit beside the point, more of a by-the-way, when the covers that - like it or not - WERE played is to be discussed? I might get this wrong, by all means. Year 27 of the mighty Why-we-would-rather-have-originals may begin. Excuse me, while I scoot over to that Bavarian beer thread (another Farm) and obsess about wine. No problems :)

Now, how they worked in the set list, I'd really like to know about that, so please... Shoot. 

And by the way, I love Louis! And Johnny too. Musically great stuff! Very roots, very fun. Indeed! As fun as they are though, I just happen to think some type of nasal notes are out of the comfort zone to my ears. I agree it's fun and well played, I just don't think Tom's voice fit some of those 50's honky tonk or rockabilly type tunes very well. (The musical heritage is his to some extent, I just think it sounded a tad sour when he worked himself up on some of that, compared to most other parts of his vocals spectra. But that may be me. Which is totally fine.)

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8 hours ago, Shelter said:

That they WERE played - from day one to the bitter end - is a bit hard to deny, even if many of us would rather have heard some rare originals. Point taken, shared and beaten to death.

Yes. I think it's safe to say, regardless of whether people enjoyed the covers, they would've loved to hear some TPATH deep cuts.

8 hours ago, Shelter said:

Year 27 of the mighty Why-we-would-rather-have-originals may begin.

Excellent!

8 hours ago, Shelter said:

Excuse me, while I scoot over to that Bavarian beer thread (another Farm) and obsess about wine. No problems

Oh.

Well. Since there were only a set number of songs to be played, it's a shame Tom chose to fill some of those with covers when there were plenty of his own tunes to play. The big question is why he didn't; and since interviewers seem to enjoy the covers and never asked him why Willin' over All or Nothin', we now won't know unless someone from the band shares a bit of their perspective.

From the only performance of Fault Lines, and later Mike shaking his head "no" at a sign held up by a Farmer at a show requesting the song, one can extrapolate that either Tom was displeased at their performance and/or the audience response. So out it went. Forever. In this world anyway.

But then why play so many covers in a residency? Well, because he wanted to, the band liked them and the audience responded well. Though I think the people were just stoked to be there in the first place.

Why then, the appearance of deep cuts on Mike's instagram? What can one extrapolate from that? He was aware of the deep cuts, enjoyed playing them, it's no stretch to guess that maybe him and Benmont wanted them to play some of them, but it wasn't meant to be, or...some managed their way to the stage and better those than nothing. Certainly not All but not Nothin' either.

Onto the covers themselves. Peronally, some I enjoy. I like hearing John Lee Hooker and the band jam together. I'm glad Redford posted Travelin' Light which I'd never heard before. Very nice. But a lot of them, don't interest me.

However, in a rare case of someone on the internet changing someone's mind or opening a new p.o.v. in conversation with Shelter, I've come around to accepting what the covers are, which is a break from the usual songs played by the band. Would I rather hear Finding Out than Travelin' Light? Yes. But Travelin' Light is something fresh on a live recording. Ideal? No. But it's a chance to hear the band flex their musical muscles. 

So, if this hasn't bored you to death by now, if anyone is reading this, the different arguments or perspectives are:

1) Covers are fun and enjoyable

2) Covers took up space in the set that could've gone to TPATH deep cuts

3) Covers are awful

All three are correct depending on your taste. Some covers, yes, terrible. Either the original song didn't interest me and/or their version wasn't to my liking.

But I've come around on some of them, enjoying them for what they were, something different musically from a band that unfortunately stuck to a rigid structure, see set list discussions from 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2008...etc. etc.

And I think Shelter and others would say that the covers offer up the band playing something passionately, something interesting, and a chance not just to TPATHerize a song but to really show off their chops on stage. True enough.

Would he have loved them to play You And I Will Meet Again? Darn right! The guy even made a petition on here for it. Was he happy they pulled out Something Big, in Europe no yes. Oh sure, a bigger smile on his face one could not picture unless you know him in person.

So, that's my take on the covers. I'm completely on your side Drew, not that there are really sides on this issue, largely the covers don't interest me, sometimes they do and sometimes the ones I don't like are all right, something refreshing in contrast to the closing trifecta of ISHKI, Ref and Runnin.

I suppose another topic, away from people enjoying covers would be speculation on why Tom didn't select deep cuts or why some made the grade, like Swingin' on their last tour.

Well, that's my take.

cheers

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