Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

ARTIST: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 220px-TomPettyDebutCover
TITLE: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
YEAR RELEASED: 1976
CHART ACTION: #55 US, #24 UK
SINGLES: Breakdown (#40 US), Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll (#36 UK), American Girl (#40 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Luna
LINEUP: Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Ron Blair, Stan Lynch
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Rising from the ashes of Mudcrutch, Petty salvages his recording contract and starts his long career as a bandleader and classic rock legend.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: As you may know, Mudcrutch split apart after one single, so contact in hand, Petty was left with a record deal and no band. He picked up the pieces, grabbed Blair and Lynch to add to Campbell and Tench, who stayed with Petty. This album was the result of their first efforts in the studio.

The Tom Petty sound was in full effect already, some country leanings, some folk-rock nods (especially to the Byrds) and some southern / swamp rock influences, but a sound that’s rather distinctive. Two of the three singles featured here are played all the time on the radio, which is funny since one never charted, and the other had to be re-released to hit the verrrry bottom of the Top 40.

The album cuts are all distinctive and not formulaic – but all unmistakably sound like Petty. It’s a solid record which the only quibble I really have is sequencing is a bit off. The opening cut doesn’t announce their presence with authority. Some of the cuts don’t quite have the polish but it’s a fine first effort.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Believe it or not, the US didn’t notice this record at all when it was first released. The UK started playing “Everything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll” and finally, after about a year, they started to get traction. Go figure.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+: There’s nothing wrong here at all. It’s a pretty solid debut with just a few rough edges and sequencing issues.

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