Monday, December 11, 2017

"Don't Come Around Here No More" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Song#:  2250
Date:  03/16/1985
Debut:  64
Peak:  13
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Following the band's tour in support their 1982 album Long After Dark, they decided to take a little bit of a break. When they got back to begin their next album, the plan was to do a conceptual double LP titled Southern Accents. However, that all changed when Petty met up with Eurythmics member Dave Stewart. Stewart had been working on a song that was potentially for Stevie Nicks (see below), but instead Stewart got hooked up with Petty and the pair hammered out this song plus two others. The three songs changed the album and although it would still be called Southern Accents, it would be a single LP minus the original concept. This first single certainly made a statement with its psychedelic feel. It was truly something different for Petty and unlike anything that was on the radio at the time. The odd track caught on and got to #2 at Rock while just missing out on the Pop Top 10. It was Petty's best performing single on the Pop chart since 1979's #10 "Don't Do Me Like That." The hit would help propel the album to #7 and it would eventually go platinum.

ReduxReview:  I liked Tom Petty well enough back in the day, but I had never bought any of his records up to this point. Southern Accents was the first one I did buy and that was based largely on this single. Of course I adored Eurythmics, so the prospects of Dave Stewart merging with Petty was pure catnip. This song was truly odd and I loved it. The skittery drum sound, the sitar, the halting background vocals ("Stop!"), and the jammin' outro made this stand out on the radio. The bizarre video for the tune just added to the atmosphere. It was something completely unexpected from Petty and it still remains an interesting and much discussed entry in his catalog.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  While stories on this song's creation vary, Stewart relayed his version via his 2016 memoir. A quick synopsis is that after a Eurythmic's gig in L.A., Stevie Nicks dropped by his dressing room and invited him back to her house for a party. It got late and Stewart stayed the night. Later in the early morning, Nicks joined him in bed and they had a little fun and Stewart left afterward. A few days later, Stewart had some time off and was invited to stay at Jimmy Iovine's house. Oddly, at the time Iovine was working with Nicks on her second album. (Stewart didn't know at the time, but Nicks and Iovine had been a couple in years prior.) Stewart played Iovine a demo of a song he had been working on. Iovine though it would be great for Nicks and called her in. Nicks arrived and began working on lyrics. When it came time to record her vocal, Iovine was not please with her lyrics. Apparently, they were oddly Shakespearean and Iovine wanted her to change some things. An argument ensued, which included Nicks blurting out that she had slept with Stewart a few days before. Nicks then took off and that left Stewart alone with Iovine and wondering what Iovine's reaction to the revelation might be. However, Iovine just shrugged it all off and told Stewart that they should get Tom Petty to come over and finish the song. Petty did and the two songwriters hit it off.  2) This song had a very memorable video filmed for it that was based off of Alice in Wonderland. It was nominated for five MTV Music Video awards, including Video of the Year, and won one for Best Special Effects. Near the end of the video, the body of the Alice character turns into a cake and the others start cutting slices and eating her. Apparently, that scene caused a little controversy with some feminist groups and also a few who thought it was too much. Despite that, the video was a hit on MTV and it certainly helped the single sell.


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