As part of the Trouble Man 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition, we’d like to share with you Cameron’s liner notes.
More than a few times over the years, I’ve attempted to compile the definitive road-tape collection of the best of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It’s not easy. In fact, each time I’ve tried, it’s been a hideous undertaking, log-jammed with endless questions like these: “Do you go with the amazing acoustic-intro live version of ‘The Waiting’ or the walk-away-perfection of the original?” “Is ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” a true Heartbreakers track?” “How about including covers like ‘Something In The Air’ or ‘Psychotic Reaction’ for flavor?” “What about the live B-side version of ‘Change Of Heart?’” “And why not throw ‘Peace In L.A.’ on there?” Arguments like these can eat up days on end…. ’til the point arrives when you just pack up all the albums and drive. See, when the bounty you have to choose from is the work of the greatest and most consistent American band of the last twenty-five years, any Heartbreakers collection is gloriously controversial. Trends come and go, bands of the moment break up, re-form and break up again….and through it all, every year or so, the Heartbreakers unleash a new album full of fire, raw truths, aching melancholy and flat-out jubilation. Any Heartbreakers “best of” is destined to be a great ride filled with road signs leading to the albums that each of the tracks came from. Each album matters. And for every track on this anthology, there’s a “No Second Thoughts” from You’re Gonna Get It, “Mary’s New Car” from Southern Accents, or “Keepin’ Me Alive” from the stellar box set Playback.
So, daunting tasks aside, let’s now celebrate the killer flow of this line-up. From “Breakdown,” through the wrenching beauty of “Straight Into Darkness” to the brand new recording of “Surrender,” the song Petty wrote in 1977 and didn’t get around to recording until 2000, this new collection throws a white-hot spotlight on the truth of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. From their beginnings in Florida, through their journey out west and beyond, this is a band of fans. And by the way, this is one of the very few seminal bands that has actually performed the impossible–they stayed together. So here is a living mix tape, a portrait of a band still growing. These carefully chosen songs, classics and hidden-classics alike, are constant reminders of the way Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers can make you feel, on any given afternoon, when you’re craving something real, and one of these songs hits the radio.
You can’t beat it. You can barely contain it on a couple discs. All you can do is crank it up, and take the ride. Only one question. Is it too late to consider including the live version of “Time To Move On” from Saturday Night Live? And “You Don’t Know How It Feels?” And then there’s always…wait… see, this is how it all starts to unravel. Best to leave this to the professionals.
Cameron Crowe. September 2000
Courtesy of Tom Petty: Anthology – MCA Records
To celebrate and honor Robert Plant’s birthday today, we’d like to remind you about all the various Zeppelin related Journalism that’s available for your viewing pleasure. Dive in and reacquaint yourself with all things Led Zep.
Both with Sigur Rós, and in his solo work, Jónsi has always made music that captured the human adventure. Early on, it was obvious that this music would have a profound effect on the making of “We Bought A Zoo.” In preparation for making the movie, we gave all the actors and crew members a copy of Sigur Rós transcendent documentary, “Heima,” (Icelandic for “home”). We all watched the film and listened to the music, and it quickly seeped into our own journey in filming the real-life story of Benjamin Mee’s book. The actors listened to the music during their takes; it was immediately part of the film’s DNA. Even the signs guiding our crew members to the set revealed our inspiration “Heima.” During filming, I sent Jónsi a photo of one of the signs. He wrote back with characteristic enthusiasm. On our last day of shooting in April, I contacted Jónsi again and asked him if he was interested in scoring the film. I sent him a copy of the script, and a Quicktime of one of the scenes. The story affected him. He’d already begun composing new music for the film when he arrived from Iceland with his toy sampler keyboard and a headful of ideas.
His first theme for the movie fit perfectly. Within a week, Jónsi had composed a series of themes that would reflect everything we’d hoped for. In his music were all the highs and lows and passionate in-betweens of the film itself. Over the course of several visits to Los Angeles, Jónsi sculpted and orchestrated a soundscape with elements I’d never had in a movie before: bells, strings, cymbals, toy pianos, even melodies played through a small Dictaphone. The instinct that began the movie had come full circle. On a warm fall night in October, we finished. The e-mail he sent last night before boarding the plane back to his home in Iceland says it all: “It was such a blast.” And so it was. Here, with thanks from an inspired director, and special gratitude to Alex Somers, who helped shine it through a prism of love and wonder, is Jónsi’s first score for film. This is his music for “We Bought A Zoo.”
You might remember the Eyes and Ears sections of the old cameroncrowe.com site (for film and music, respectively). There’s a story behind those names and Cameron discusses them in the liner notes for Jackson Browne’s 1977 masterpiece, Running on Empty. The 205th piece in the Journalism section focuses on photographer and longtime friend Joel Bernstein. In addition to his amazing photography, Joel is best known these days as Neil Young’s official archivist. Check it out!
Today is legendary rocker, Tom Petty’s birthday. He is 61 years young. His history with Cameron is a long and fruitful one. In addition to the Heartbreakers Beach Party MTV special, there’s been a numerous journalism pieces and Petty’s contributions to soundtracks such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jerry Maguire and Elizabethtown. Here’s a few to articles to peruse. Happy Birthday Tom!