Oct 092017
 
american girl covers

On Friday, we rounded up the best Tom Petty covers to come since his passing. And today, we begin to dig deeper into the archives for a series of Petty tributes featuring older covers.

Petty tended to write songs more crisp and economical than many of his peers – no Dylanesque word salad or proggy flights of weird instrumentation – which lent themselves to abundant covers. You could play any number of Petty songs within a few months of picking up a guitar (being able to solo like Mike Campbell – well, that might take a little longer).

There are many amazing Petty deep cuts to mine. Why, just in the past year we’ve heard two fantastic covers of songs from his obscure 2006 solo album Highway Companion (by Jane Kramer and The National). But we figured we’d start with a classic, a song so obvious I was frankly surprised to dig through the archives and discover we hadn’t given it the Five Good Covers treatment years ago. Well, better late than never. Rest in peace, Tom. Continue reading »

Oct 062017
 
tom petty posthumous covers

Last Monday, America woke up and didn’t want to get out of bed. There was yet another senseless massacre, this time in Las Vegas. Even more traumatic for us music fans, it took place in our church, at a concert venue. Later in the afternoon, the news broke that Tom Petty had died, and, a few hours on, that Tom Petty had died a second time. It was like we were getting sucker punched over and over again.

His words made us feel better: that losing is part of life, but we should never give up hope. That the world may drag us down, but people will be there for us. And that we should be free to chase our dreams, whether it be deep within ourselves or making them part of the world. We shouldn’t back down because Tom wouldn’t. To bullies, to being ostracized, and to being anything but ourselves.

Petty was a classic rock and roll survivor, ruling radio in the 1970s, winning MTV video music awards in the ’80s, and writing the song that came back from the dead to be the only happy moment in Silence of the Lambs in the ’90s. He recorded some of America’s most anthemic and heartfelt music, and although his later output declined some, he never slowed down, collaborating in the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys and becoming Johnny Cash’s sideman with the Heartbreakers, reforming his old band Mudcrutch, and endlessly touring.

Upon the news of his death, artists starting playing tribute covers immediately, both in the studio and onstage. I’ve listened to a few dozen over the past few days. Here are my favorites. Continue reading »

May 052015
 
Kris-Kristofferson

I hesitated to write about Kris Kristofferson covering Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”, mostly because I just wrote about POP ETC’s cover of the same song a few weeks ago and I didn’t want to get typecast as the “All Tom, All The Time” writer. Continue reading »

Apr 212015
 

The first time I heard POP ETC, they were actually called The Morning Benders.  They sang “Strangers in the Night” for a Sinatra tribute album called His Way, Our Way.  Then I heard them as POP ETC on the Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 soundtrack.  (I bought it for the liner notes.)   Since then, I have been following their career and have loved the number of covers they have released.  (My favorite is the oft-covered Chris Issak’s “Wicked Game”.) Continue reading »

Dec 052012
 

This year Petty Fest made the leap to a bi-coastal event. On November 14 & 15 at the El Rey in Los Angeles, the Tom Petty tribute brought the stars out in force to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims. Special guests included Johnny Depp, Sarah Silverman, Har Mar Superstar, Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes, Peter Ericsson Stakee of Alberta Cross, bassist from Kings of Leon, Ke$ha, Eagles of Death Metal, Karen Elson, Nicole Atkins, Patrick Carney from The Black Keys, Cory Chisel, Butch Walker, the lead singer from Guster, the drummer from Guns-n-Roses and more. All proceeds went to the victims of the storm via Sweet Relief Musicians Fund which provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. Continue reading »

Oct 042011
 

Way back in June 2010, the Gaslight Anthem performed their ripping cover of Pearl Jam’s “State of Love and Trust” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. A year and a half later, they’re finally releasing a studio recording. It comes on their mostly-covers iTunes Sessions EP, which also includes takes on the Who, Tom Petty, and a traditional classic. Continue reading »