Saturday, June 2, 2018

"Rebels" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Song#:  2422
Date:  08/17/1985
Debut:  88
Peak:  74
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  After a stop over in gold territory with Long After Dark, Petty and his band got back into platinum land with the #7 LP Southern Accents. This was mainly due to the success of the #2 Rock/#13 Pop hit "Don't Come Around Here No More" and it's popular MTV video. The album was still doing well when this third single was issued. It would be Petty's fifth Top 10 single at Rock getting to #5. Reception at Pop was minimal and the song would only spend a few weeks in the bottom quarter of the chart. It would be the last single issued from the album.

ReduxReview:  This album opener is another excellent track from Petty and it was certainly a fit for rock radio. Pop radio - not so much. Its Southern rock feel just wasn't gonna fly with the folks who were sending Whitney Houston and Tears for Fears to the top of the chart. That's okay though as I don't think this song was created to be a pop hit. It was just what Petty wrote and it was a good one. I like the "hey hey hey's" of the chorus and the addition of some interesting horn lines. There is something vaguely Springsteen-esque about it as well, which I like. It may not rank among Petty's best, but it's a solid track.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  For Petty, this song will most likely always bring back bad memories of something that nearly ended his guitar playing abilities. Here is what I gather had happened from the various interviews Petty has given concerning the incident. Petty was trying to get Southern Accents completed and out the door and had been working long hours on mixing various songs. When he got to "Rebels," nothing was clicking. It just didn't sound good to him. He went back and played the demo version of the song and thought it was far better than what was being worked on. (Petty recognized later that his ears were probably over exerted and he just couldn't hear properly after so many hours working.) Frustrated with the process, Petty left the studio and went upstairs into his house. As he approached the top of the stairs, he aimed his fist and the wall and punched. It must have been a doozie of a hit as it broke five bones in his hand. Doctors weren't sure how well, or if, Petty would play guitar once it all healed. Luckily, it ended up doing well and Petty was able to return to playing after a nine-month recovery.


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