Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever

fullmoonfeverSo my life is a little hectic right now.

A few months ago I made the jump and asked my girlfriend to move in with me.  In order to facilitate that, I had to get on the ball and start the home renovations that I would need to make the idea work.  My condo is nice and big,  but I’ve also had 8 years to fill it up with my crap so storage is key.  As I write this, my man Danny is building my new walk in closet downstairs.  He already scraped the ceiling, and after the closet he’ll paint everything, toss up some crown molding, and build me a storage cabinet .  He’s a machine.

But what this means is that everything that once lived in my closet and in my bedroom is now stationed in my living room and I am sleeping in my loft with my records.

It’s kind of like camping…but in your own house…and not nearly as fun.

But anyhow while I was up here I came across one of my favorite albums of all time.  Tom Petty’s fucking awesome solo album from 1989, “Full Moon Fever.”

I remember it fondly because it was one of the first CD’s I ever owned and I transferred it to cassette so I could play it in my walkman (for the younger audiences out there, a walkman was like an mp3 player…before mp3s) and I played that shit out while I mowed the lawn or rode my bike.  Good times.

Born and raised in Gainesville Fla, young Tom’s life was changed forever when an uncle who worked in the film industry invited him to the set of Elvis Presley’s “Follow that Dream.”  It was then that Tom knew he had to rock.  Soon after, he watched The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and decided that he could rock even harder if he was in a band. He started taking guitar lessons…some from Don Feldman of The Eagles fame.

Tom worked in a lot of early bands before he started The Heartbreakers.  Bands like The Sundowners ,The Epics and a little band called Mudcrutch…where he would end up meeting future Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench.  The band formed around their 1976 debut album titled “Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers,” but despite the strength of the single ‘Breakdown’ the album was not popular with the US audience.  It was re-released at the end of 1977 and by the next year it had broken the top 40.

It seemed that after that, Tom Petty could do no wrong.  The follow up album “You’re Gonna Get It” was their first top 40 album. 1979’s  “Damn the Torpedoes” went platinum soon after release and was so full of hits like ‘Refugee’ and ‘Don’t Do Me Like That’ that I almost chose it instead “Full Moon Fever.”  (If  you don’t own it, I highly recommend it as well.)

Tom kept  it up all though the 80’s, releasing four more great albums and touring with the likes of Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead, as well as performing at Live Aid.

Then, on a fate full day in  1988 Bob Dylan was having lunch in Malibu with Jeff Lyne, George Harrison and Roy Orbison when they decided to form a band.  As fate would have it, Harrison needed a guitar he had let at Petty’s house and Tom became the fifth member of super-group The Traveling Wilbury’s.  What a lucky bastard.  It was during this period that Tom began writing songs with Lyne and wanted to record them.  His only issue was that they didn’t sound like Heartbreaker songs and Lyne was soon moving back to the UK…and so to the chagrin of all, he went solo.

I love this fucking album.  The fact that I love it just as much now as I did in 1989 only goes to show how awesome it is.  His bandmates may have been a little peeved that their name wasn’t on the cover, but the album did produce some their biggest live hits.  This album is so good it feels like a greatest hits album.  It shows a maturing Petty retuning to his roots with a cover of the Byrds  ‘I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better’ and giving a nod to Del Shannon in ‘Running Down a Dream.’  Most of the Wilbury’s appear on the album too…which I guess kind of makes it the lost Vol 2 in the Wilbury cannon.  Add that to the fact that there appears to be no filler material in this CD at all and you’ve got a prime album that everyone should own.

As good for lawn mowing as it is for loft camping…that’s for sure.


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