Album Review: Tom Petty, "Into the Great Wide Open"

TOM PETTY has got to be one of the most resilient figures in rock n' roll, surviving such incidents as breaking his hand whilst in a fit of temper during the lengthy mixing of the Southern Accents album, through various other tragedies including an arson attack on his house. But he still keeps coming back with good records.

Into The Great Wide Open, his latest platter is no exception, although there aren't that many memorable tracks on it, the strongest ones being the opener Learning To Fly, along with Into the Great Wide Open and All Or Nothin'.

I'm not a particular fan of the JEFF LYNN production though. I never really have been because it kinds of smothers what could potentially be a more personalised sound, plus it tends to veer towards a boring formularised feel.

There's one thing that TOM PETTY never fails to amaze me with, and this is the way he takes well-known sounds or riffs from popular songs and turns them into his own. Such is the case with the intro to the last track, Built to Last, which, when you hear it for the first time, sounds just like BEN E. KING's Stand By Me. Nothing wrong with that I guess. Rap bands have been doing shit like that since the dawn of unoriginality.

If Tom and the HEART BREAKERS are your cup of cha, you'll probably enjoy this collection although it's not his best. Listen Tom...Matey, get yourself together and get back to your roots. Okay?

The majority of the material just meanders around the borders of good, although when it hits a home run, it delivers. Worth checking out, but nothing to write home about.  Grade B

Peter Grant
Riff Raff
August 1991

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