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Playback (1995) - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Featuring »

Ron Blair, Mike/Michael Campbell, Howie Epstein, Stan Lynch, Tom Petty, Tom Petty, Ben(mont) (M.) Tench(, III)

    Tracklisting »
Here Comes My Girl
  Date Performance: 1979, Running Time: 4:26
  Comments: Recorded at: Sound City, Van Nuys, CA and Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA. Mixed at: Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles, CA (MCA Records) "I remember when we did that record," Stan says, "thinking, 'Nobody's going to be able to resist that. That's brilliant, sounds great, I love everything about it.'" "The record is a carbon copy of Mike's demo," Petty says, "other than that it didn't have a piano. I had the hardest time with that song because the verse is a very strange chord progression to sing over - the song doesn't really lend itself to a melody until it gets to the chorus. I think I remembered Blondie talking over a track and it hit me suddenly that I could talk my way into it and take it from there. It also reminded me of a Shangri-las thing where they had talked." The promotional music video was directed by John Goodhue.
  Date Performance: 1979, Running Time: 3:23
  Comments: Recorded at: Sound City, Van Nuys, CA and Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA. Mixed at: Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles, CA (MCA Records) "The verse and chorus are actually the same chords," Mike Campbell - who wrote them - observes. Petty heard the four track demo Campbell had cooked up and wrote words and a melody. They both knew how good it was, and figured it'd be a cinch to get a great band version. They were wrong. Recording "Refugee" became a marathon, they played it over and over for days, dozens of times, trying to get the feel they all knew was in there but could not nail down. New producer Jimmy Iovine and engineer Shelly Yakus had an approach entirely different from what the Heartbreakers were used to with Denny Cordell, and it was a tough adjustment. "It was a nightmare," Campbell says. "Damn the Torpedoes was the first time we really spent a lot of time on the sound of the album. It was very tedious. We spent days on the drum sound alone. During 'Refugee' it got so bad that I actually left the studio, walked out the door, and left town for two days. It was so emotionally draining. We couldn't find the groove on it, we just couldn't make it sound as good as the demo. We knew the song was strong so we'd leave it and come back. This went on throughout the whole album. We eventually had pretty well the whole album cut and we still hadn't got that track. It took a lot of emotional fortitude, but eventually we nailed it. Nowadays if the demo is good, that's what we release." "I have to give Iovine a lot of credit for really molding 'Refugee' into what it was," Petty says. "We must have cut it 110 times. Jimmy brought the organ out, he got that big sound." The promotional music video was directed by John Goodhue.
The Waiting
  Date Performance: 1981, Running Time: 4:00
  Comments: Recorded at Sound City, Van Nuys, CA and Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA. Mixed at Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA (MCA Records) "I remember being half asleep," Benmont says. "The phone rang and it was Mike or Tom or somebody saying, 'We want to do Yeah Yeahs for the background on 'The Waiting,' can you come down, are you asleep? 'Never mind' I said, 'No, I'll be there,' and I got in the car and drove down to Cherokee and me and Stan went Yeah, Yeah a couple of times and we were done. That's what I remember." Luckily Tom remembers more. He remembers getting the basic riff for that song and driving his family crazy for a week, walking around the house playing it, waiting for inspiration. Understandably, the chorus that finally emerged was, "The waiting is the hardest part." He then walked around singing and playing that until the verses arrived. "The lines people most often come up and quote back to me on the street are 'I won't back down' and 'The waiting is the hardest part'," Petty says. "Roger McGuinn tells me over and over that he gave me that line. I went to see the Byrds - Clarke, Hillman, and McGuinn - in '78 or '79 and he says he said to me backstage, 'The waiting is the hardest part.' But I don't remember that. I do remember that he also told me he was living in a condo in Century City. That really stuck in my mind because I hated Century City. I had to go there every day for these legal things and I couldn't imagine living there. I'll give him credit for 'Century City,' but I think if anything, 'The Waiting' was inspired by something Janis Joplin said that I'd read in Life magazine: 'I love being onstage and everything else is just waiting.'" The promotional music video was directed by Jim Lenahan.
A Woman In Love (It's Not Me)
  Date Performance: 1981, Running Time: 4:24
  Comments: Recorded at Sound City, Van Nuys, CA and Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA. Mixed at Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA (MCA Records) "I loved that song," Ben says. "I believe Michael had a demo where he had played the instruments to a drum loop and it was an entirely different feel. It was really fun to break it down and mess with it until it had got to where there was virtually nothing in the verses. Duck Dunn came out and played bass on that. The groove was really interesting, all the space and the openness was really nice." "Ron Blair had started to be absent more and more from the studio and was kind of drifting away," Petty explains. "So I brought Duck in and he created a whole different thing, because he allowed all that space for the vocal. The bass on that song is so amazing. It's a live vocal with him playing along, not really sure where I'm going to go. He just hangs right behind it so well." Whatever you do, don't mention to Petty how that single got stepped on by the simultaneous release of "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" by Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. "What a dirty trick!" Petty snaps. "We were so pissed off. Stations couldn't be expected to play two records of mine. Here they had one with Stevie too, and they were gonna go for it." The promotional music video was directed by Jim Lenahan.
InsiderLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1981, Running Time: 4:23
  Comments: Recorded at Sound City, Van Nuys, CA and Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA. Mixed at Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA. Additional recording at Goodnight, L.A. (MCA Records) Stevie Nicks appears courtesy of Modern Records. "'Insider' was really fun," Benmont recalls. "We were messing around and it was just me and Tom, organ and guitar and vocal, that's the way I remember it. And there was something about the vocal performance and the feel of it that we really liked. So everybody else overdubbed to it. Eventually Stevie (Nicks) wound up singing harmony on it. We overdubbed everybody on it and the reviews came out and I think it was Roiling Stone made some disparaging comment about the drumming on it. Poor Stan! Tom and I were speeding up and slowing down because there were no drums!" Benmont cracks up laughing. "It was our fault and Stanley got saddled with it." The promotional music video was directed by Jim Lenahan.
You Got Lucky
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 3:37
  Comments: Recorded at: Record Plant, Hollywood, CA, Wally Heider Recording, Hollywood, CA, Crystal, Hollywood, CA and Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA. Mixed at: Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA (Backstreet Records/MCA Records) "'You Got Lucky' was one of Michael's, done to a loop," Benmont remembers. "It was the first time we had used a real synthesizer on a record. We had to get a guy in to show us how to turn it on and get any kind of noise out of it at all. They made me play it. Michael played a cheap Yamaha on the demo, a really cheap, six-inch long synthesizer, battery-powered, that sounded great so we spent forever trying to recreate that sound." "I wanted an Ennio Morricone guitar thing, a spaghetti western guitar sound," Petty says, "and Mike came up with a great thing for that. It's not one of my favorties. I think the guitar playing and the drumming is much better than the song. Stan and Mike played great. It's a really good pop record and it was a hit but we rarely play it anymore. "Actually the most illuminating thing about my writing to me lately was that tribute album {You Got Lucky, a Tribute to Tom Petty by twelve alternative bands on Backyard Records} The way Edsel did 'You Got Lucky' was so strange and good and I never would have hit on that approach in a million years. They were not afraid to completely abandon the structure and there was a tone, an attitude, in the way they sang it that made it a menacing, frightening thing. And much more powerful, I thought, than the way we did it. If I were to play it again, I'd do it like that, because it sounded more real." The promotional music video was directed by Jim Lenahan.
Change Of Heart
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 3:19
  Comments: Recorded at: Record Plant, Hollywood, CA. Mixed at: Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA (Backstreet Records/MCA Records) "I liked 'Change of Heart' better the first time he played it," Ben admits. "I liked the bridge a lot. It took a second for me to get the song and once I got the song I really loved it. We used to play that really well live. They should have the live version on here. It's exactly as long as the studio version down to the second, it's really strange." "I was trying to do Jeff Lynne," Tom says. "I'd always been a big Jeff Lynne fan and I wanted something like that 'Do ya do ya want my love.' That's how it started, that big crunchy guitar. That's how it ended, too." Petty says that during a recent tour rehearsal, the Long After Dark songs appeared again: "We busted out 'Change of Heart' and 'You Got Lucky' which we hadn't played in years. We played them very well but Mike and I looked at each other and said, 'I can't do that, I can't go back to that place.' I said, 'Isn't that weird?' and Mike said, 'Yeah it feels like we're touring in Germany and it's really cold. I can't do it.' We're not ready to be around that time period." The promotional music video was directed by Cameron Crowe, Phil Savenick @ Doug Dowdle.
Don't Come Around Here No More
  Date Performance: 1985, Running Time: 5:05
  Comments: Recorded at: Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, CA and Church tudio, London. Mixed at: Gone Gator One, Los Angeles, CA and The Village Recorder, Los Angeles, CA (MCA Records) David A. Stewart appears courtesy of RCA Records "That was while we were doing Southern Accents," Mike says. "During the Dark Period. Dave Stewart came along and he had this track he had originally offered to Stevie Nicks. I guess she balked at doing it. Tom heard it and said, 'Well, I'll do it.' Maybe just to piss her off. One thing led to another. Near the end of the recording process we said, this isn't really lifting up, we should have the band double time the tempo. It really took off. The band worked only internally for so long that we were getting stale, and Dave injected a new excitement into it." The promotional music video was directed by Jeff Stein.
Jammin' Me
  Date Performance: 1987, Running Time: 4:09
  Comments: Recorded at: Sound City, Van Nuys, CA and M.C. Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Mixed at: A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA (MCA Records) "Bob Dylan and I wrote that," Tom says. "I was living in an apartment at the Sunset Marquis and Bob came around and wanted to write a few songs for an album he was doing. He took that song 'Got My Mind Made Up' and rewrote the words, and the same day we wrote 'Jammin' Me.' It was mostly written while he was reading the entertainment section. That's where Eddie Murphy and Vanessa Redgrave and all those people came into it. Those were Bob lines which I've taken shit for for years. It was a good song about the overload of information, how frightening satellites and those things were to us at the time." Tom laughs. "We both felt overloaded. We wrote it to a slightly different chord progression, then Michael came up with this great progression, that great riff, and I took it without really asking Bob and put it to this different music. Later on I played it back to him and he said, 'Yeah, it works.'" The promotional music video was directed by Jim Lenahan.
I Won't Back Down
  Date Performance: 1989, Running Time: 2:57
  Comments: Recorded at: M.C. Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Mixed at: Conway Studios, Hollywood, CA (MCA Records) George Harrison appears courtesy of Dark Horse Records. Jeff Lynne appears courtesy of Reprise Records "I remember that being written in the studio," Mike Campbell says. "Tom and Jeff had started it but they didn't have all the words. We were mixing 'Free Fallin',' which we had just done, and they went in the next room and finished it on the piano. Things were moving fast around that time." "I remember coming down to Michael's garage to do background vocals," Howie says. "It was the first time I worked with Jeff Lynne. George Harrison was there. I did vocals with Tom, George and Jeff. We got the parts pretty quickly. It was all done in maybe 40 minutes." The promotional music video was directed by David Leland.
Runnin' Down A Dream
  Date Performance: 1989, Running Time: 4:24
  Comments: Recorded at: M.C. Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Mixed at: Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA (MCA Records) Jeff Lynne appears courtesy of Reprise Records Mike remembers, "I had a demo that was half the speed of the final record. I was playing that riff with kind of a slow AC/DC beat. Jeff heard it and said, 'That's a great riff but you should put a backbeat across it.' Tom and Jeff took the riff and wrote the rest of the song around it. I was delighted, I'd had that riff laying around for a long time." The promotional music video was directed by Jim Lenahan.
Free Fallin'Lyrics available
  Date Performance: 1989, Running Time: 4:16
  Comments: Recorded at: M.C. Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Mixed at: Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA (MCA Records) Jeff Lynne appears courtesy of Reprise Records One of Petty's most compelling pieces, "Free Fallin" became an anthem - or maybe an anti-anthem - in the early 90's. Tom told the story of writing it in a 1989 interview: "Bugs, a roadie who's been with us since the day we started, bought me this Yamaha keyboard. I said, 'Man, why'd you buy that? It's expensive!' He said, 'If you write one song on it it'll pay for itself.' So he charged it to me and left it there. Jeff Lynne was over one night and I started playing with it. I played..." Petty hummed the opening chords of "Free Fallin'" plus five more, a busy pattern. "Jeff goes, 'Wait, what was that - just play that first part over and over.' Okay, I did. And Jeff's just sitting there smiling and he says, 'Go on, sing something.' So just to make Jeff smile I sang, 'She's a good girl, loves her mama.' And from there I wrote the first and second verses completely spontaneously. We were smart enough to have a cassette on. Jeff said, 'Go up on the chorus, take your voice up a whole octave, what'll that sound like?' I said, 'What do I sing?' Jeff said, 'I'm free fallin'.' So I sang, 'I'm freeee...' He said, 'Wo, there's power in that, that's good.' I wrote the third verse after he left and brought it in and showed it to him the next day. It all fit together and we were really excited. We went running over to Mike's with the song. Mike hardly knew Jeff, we just showed up and said, 'Hey, we gotta do a record right now! We gotta get this song down.' Mike said sure and we did it. "Axl Rose called and asked me, 'Where did you get that line about the vampires in the valley?' When I'm driving I sometimes see these shadowy-looking people just off the sidewalks, around the post office. I always thought of them as vampires for some reason." Through songs like "Free Fallin'", Petty has been able to keep bringing in teenage fans while continuing his relationship with an audience his own age. "I never will exactly understand why we still have a very large teenage audience," he says. "The only thing I can figure is that we never pandered to them in any way. Maybe they respect that." The promotional music video was directed by Julien Temple.
A Face In The Crowd
  Date Performance: 1989, Running Time: 3:58
  Comments: The promotional music video was directed by Jesse Dylan.
Yer So Bad
  Date Performance: 1989, Running Time: 3:06
  Comments: Recorded at: M.C. Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Mixed at: Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA (MCA Records) Jeff Lynne appears courtesy of Reprise Records The Wilburys period seems to have infected all involved with a taste for circle songs in the "It Ain't Gonna Rain No More" tradition. "I love that English Beatles sound," Mike says. "'Yer So Bad' was the second song we did for Full Moon Fever. That was such an incredibly inspiring time for us because Jeff knew so much about recording technique and songwriting that we didn't know. We were kind of in a rut and he came in with all these fresh ideas. The night after we did 'Free Fallin'', Tom and Jeff went off and wrote that one and came in the next day and said, 'Let's do another.' We recorded it in a couple of hours. Tom and I were just amazed that you could make records that fast after so many years of slaving over tracks." "Jeff had a huge impact on me, my music, my life," Tom says. "And I think Jeff had a huge impact on Mike as well. We had never met anyone who was such a wizard in the studio. He could pull off anything with ease and it just fascinated us. It was like a college education in making records." The promotional music video was directed by Julien Temple.
Learning To Fly
  Date Performance: 1991, Running Time: 4:03
  Comments: Recorded and mixed at: Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA (MCA Records) Jeff Lynne appears courtesy of Reprise Records "I quite liked 'Learning To Fly,'" Tom says. "I got it from a pilot on television. He said there's not much to learning to fly. The difficult thing is coming down. And I thought, 'Yeah, that's true.' The song came pretty quickly after that. I still like that song and still perform it." Howie notes, "That song, and a lot of the other songs from Into the Great Wide Open, really came alive on tour. I suppose when doing that album the formula was pretty well worn." The promotional music video was directed by Julien Temple.
Into The Great Wide Open
  Date Performance: 1991, Running Time: 3:44
  Comments: Recorded and mixed at: Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA (MCA Records) Jeff Lynne appears courtesy of Reprise Records "That was one of the first ones I wrote for the album. I really liked the video to that, one of the only times I've ever felt fulfilled by a video. The song was such a narrative that the video was a piece of cake to make. I even had people coming to me wanting to make it into a movie. I said, 'It's been done.' I really think an entire movie would be more than is required. But it was a lot of fun. Very funny song and a very true song." The promotional music video was directed by Julien Temple.
Mary Jane's Last Dance
  Date Performance: 1993, Running Time: 4:33
  Comments: Recorded at: Ocean Way, Hollywood, CA. Mixed at: Gone Gator Two (MCA Records) "There was a period during Full Moon Fever," Petty says, "where Jeff was in England and Stan came over, and Mike and Stan and I were playing and I got on a roll where I was improvising songs. I must have done twenty or so in one afternoon. Sometimes I can get lucky and really go stream of consciousness and all kinds of shit comes out. We actually have a video of 'Mary Jane' going down, except there was no chorus. But most of the words came out, though they may have been tidied up some later." "When we were going to do the greatest hits I was mid-way through Wildflowers and contractually I had to do two tracks for the greatest hits album. I was actually really annoyed about it and didn't want to stop what I was doing. I said, 'I hate the whole idea that you have the Greatest Hits and then you have two new things on the end.' Rick Rubin said, 'Well, I think we should stop and you go away and write something specifically for the Heartbreakers and then we'll bring all of them in, we'll go to another studio, and we'll have another session.' He got hold of that tape and went through it and he said, 'I really like this but you need to write a chorus for it.' I sat down that evening and the first chorus that came to me, at least the tune and the chords, was the one we kept. But I wasn't singing those words. I was singing 'Indiana Girl' or something really bogus. I think we even cut it with me singing those words. Later on when I started listening to it I thought, 'Now I've got to take the lyric up a bit to where it's something a little more meaningful.' I struggled around with it and finally arrived at 'Mary Jane's Last Dance.' It made much more sense to me. I still think it's one of the better Heartbreakers singles." On record and even more in concert, "Mary Jane's Last Dance" gave Petty a chance to stretch out on lead guitar: "I got to play a lot on the record which I don't usually, because Michael's so good that I feel intimidated. He's been encouraging me to play solos and that was one where I had this lick in there and he was playing it in slightly different syncopation. I said, 'No, no, it's like this,' and Mike said, 'Look, there's no need you teaching me, why don't you just do it?' And when it came to the solo he just said, 'You should do it, you're doing fine.' So he let me have the solo at the end and he did the nice one in the middle. That record really came out well. It was our last session with Stan. We had very happy sessions, those last sessions. I think he felt good because he was leaving on a real high note. This was the biggest album we ever had as it turned out. It brought in a whole other generation of people. And the funny thing was how hard I fought against putting anything new on it. Rubin will never let me forget it that I complained about that so much. But I'm really glad I did it now." The promotional music video was directed by Keir McFarlane.
    Guest Appearances »

Gabrielle Anwar, Kim Basinger, Mike/Michael Campbell, Sharon Celani, Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway, Donald (Duck) Dunn, Howie Epstein, Wish Foley, Dean Garcia, George Harrison, Phil Jones, Matt LeBlanc, Jeff Lynne, Marilyn Martin, Stevie Nicks, Caroline Reed, Daniel Rothmuller, Stephanie Sprull, Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), Dave/David A(llan) Stewart, Chris Trujillo, Alan (Bugs) Weidel

    Released »


    Format »


    Other Appearances »
Mike/Michael Campbell (Songwriter), Mike/Michael Campbell (Songwriter), Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman) (Songwriter), Jeff Lynne (Songwriter), Tom Petty (Songwriter), Tom Petty (Songwriter), Dave/David A(llan) Stewart (Songwriter), Alan (Bugs) Weidel (Assistant Engineer), Adam Lichtenstein (Production Assistant), Bill Flanagan (Liner Notes), Cameron (Bruce) Crowe (Directed By), Doug Dowdle (Directed By), Jesse Dylan (Directed By), John Goodhue (Directed By), David Leland (Directed By), Jim Lenahan (Directed By), Keir McFarlane (Directed By), Phil Savenick (Directed By), J(eff) Stein (Directed By), Julien Temple (Directed By), Mike/Michael Campbell (Additional Engineering), Mike/Michael Campbell (Additional Engineering), Mike/Michael Campbell (Produced By), Mike/Michael Campbell (Produced By), Jimmy Iovine (Produced By), Jeff Lynne (Produced By), Tom Petty (Produced By), Tom Petty (Produced By), Rick Rubin (Produced By), Dave/David A(llan) Stewart (Produced By), Bill/William Bot(t)rell (Engineered By), Mike/Michael Campbell (Engineered By), Richard Dodd (Engineered By), Jim Scott (Engineered By), Don Smith (Engineered By), Shelly Yakus (Engineered By), Richard Dodd (Mixed By), Mike Shipley (Mixed By), Don Smith (Mixed By), Shelly Yakus (Mixed By), Martyn Atkins (Art Direction By), Alan (Bugs) Weidel (2nd Engineer), Martyn Atkins (Cover Photography By), Darren Rydstrom (Cinematography By)

    Publisher »


    Catalogue Number »

088 111 367-9

    Running Time »


    Liner Notes »

WHEN MTV GAVE TOM PETTY a special Video Vanguard Award in 1994, it was a very public acknowledgment of the imagination and hard work that has gone into a series of videos that have pushed the limits of a medium struggling to grow from a promotional tool to a genuine art form.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers began making music videos, for hits such as "Refugee" and "Here Comes My Girl," before there was an MTV or any other regular outlet for them. By the time the idea of cable music channels had taken hold, Petty was coming up with clips like "You Got Lucky" - a mini-Mad Max film that helped push other musicians to treat the form as more than a chance to lip synch and strum unplugged instruments. The psychadelic, Alice-in-Wonderland-on-acid "Don't Come Around Here No More" raised the stakes again, as Petty and the Heartbreakers demonstrated their intention to devote the same sort of creativity to their videos that they did to their records and live shows.

From the lyrical juxtapositions of two generations of teenagers in "Free Fallin'" to the Award Winning "Mary Jane's Last Dance" featuring Kim Basinger, Petty treated his clips as small films. The narrative "Into the Great Wide Open," which features Faye Dunaway and Johnny Depp, actually resulted in offers to make Petty's story/song into a full length motion picture. Petty's reaction was, "It already is."

Here are the best videos of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, a powerful document of the early evolution of a new kind of art - and some rockin' tunes by a great band.

Bill Flanagan, September 1995

MCA - Music Corporation of America


(P) (C) 1995, 2000 MCA Records
2220 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Distributed by Universal Music & Video Distribution, Inc.

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Running times of tracks consist soley of the length of the song portion of the audio track.

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Discography entry submitted by Jeff Kenney.