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20 August 2010 @ 06:49 am
Bp's Song of the Week #90: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers "I Should Have Known It"  
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
“I Should Have Known It”

Click to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_iBKacXIA4

What a monster riff that kicks this off, reminiscent of Page in the early ‘70s. I think we can all agree that Mike Campbell is one of rock’s most underrated guitarists, he sits in the pocket and tears up such stellar, driving guitar work and his soloing is nuanced and passionate. Tell me you don’t remember how you felt when you saw the “You Got Lucky” video (you know, the one in the desert) which was goofy until he sat down with that gigantic Gretsch and made magic in front of your eyes.

The combination of Steve Ferrone’s really thick and heavy drumming and Campbell’s muddy, saucy riff makes you feel like you’re listening to early Zeppelin with that swamp-vibe that cuts like “When the Levee Breaks” have. Enter Petty’s vocal and you’re transported to the deep South. And check out the master ivory-tickler Benmont Tench rocking the vibe under Campbell’s solo – BT would have to be in your all-star band, there’s few else who have that built in vibe.

“Refugee” was one of my first favorite songs as a kid. I remember going nuts on vacation in Boston when I was 8 years-old or under and the classic rock station played it. I remember squealing with excitement in the hotel room so psyched to hear it (back then you didn’t fire up youtube if you wanted to hear a song, you waited for radio or MTV if you didn’t own it). “Change of Heart” was the first 7”/45rpm that I laid my own money down and purchased. But I’m not the biggest fan, I’ve never seen them live (although would love to), and don’t own the mid-late ‘90s albums, but I’m always interested in what they’re doing. The last record, Highway Companion, was a really good release.

I listened to the new Tom & Heartbreakers record, Mojo, earlier this year and thought there were some good tracks. I preach this all the time – don’t measure a new record by a previous one. As much as I tell people that I still find myself doing that from time to time and after listening to it I didn’t feel what Into the Great Wide Open did for me (my favorite TP&HB album) and I hadn’t revisited Mojo until my friend Chris told me I really need to spend more time with it. He then sent me the link to the EPK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOJeUhUz70E.

Why don’t all albums get the EPK (electronic press kit) treatment? And widespread distribution of the EPK? It’s become better over the past few years, but this stuff is gold! I can’t tell you how many albums played coy with me at first, but revealed themselves to me as a result of the EPK. This one sure opened up this album to me. Whether you like TP’s music, you can’t help but love the approach to the music: “I feel more pressure to have something that feels pure to me. I just try to make some good music, that I like. And I always have gone on the principal that if I like it, maybe someone else will…then 10 years from now I can play it and not grimace.”

No overdubs. A songwriter bringing songs to his band (one of the best bands on the planet), having them collaborate and expand on those songs, and then cutting it live in one room at the same time. That’s Mojo. And that, is a great album.

More Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers:
Something Good Coming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSvlJe1mwlw
Good Enough: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHS8Ns-8bW0
Change of Heart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9PUyBa59ag