I never really understood Tom Petty. He seems to carry an air of grandeur around with him, and whenever he appears as a talking head on music documentaries, he’s a bit unnerving to watch – the guy can look like a freakin’ zombie. I’m guessing him and sunlight are not best friends .He also seems to be the weak link in the Travelling Wilburys. Well, him and Jeff Lynne. Damn, Jeff Lynne is even the weak link in E.L.O.
I had never really heard anything of note by Petty except for cheesy radio-friendly hits like Free Fallin’, so there was obviously something I was missing. I knew this album – that red album by Tom Petty – was supposed to be a classic, so I picked it up at a record fair in Auckland last year.
What a great record, a truly solid album. There are three big hits – Refugee, Here Comes My Girl and Don’t Do Me Like That – but the rest of the album stands up very well. All killer, no filler, as they say.
Production-wise, the album sounds ahead of its time. Produced by Jimmy Iovine, it has a remarkable feel, released in the last year of the 1970s but achieving the kind of clarity of sound that would be synonymous with 1980s production.
I’m not sure if I agree with Rolling Stone when they said that this is “the album we’ve all been waiting for – that is, if we were all Tom Petty fans, which we would be if there were any justice in the world,” but I’m glad I have this album in my collection.
Hidden Gem: You Tell Me