Great Rock Albums of 1985: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers- Southern Accents

My first thought when the “Southern Accents” album from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers first came to my attention in early 1985 was that they hadn’t gone into obscurity. It turns out that their 1981 and 82 albums had totally passed me by. I blame being in the service at the time. The second thought I had came via the video on MTV for the first single, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and that was that Tom Petty had sold out and gone commercial, especially since he plays The Mad Hatter in the video which has an “Alice in Wonderland” theme. The further fact that Tom co-wrote the song with Dave Stewart from The Eurythmics only cemented that belief further. Thankfully, I am glad that I was completely wrong on both accounts.

I think my motivation behind me belief was that I was still remembering the band for their excellent “Damn the Torpedoes” album and expected the single to sound somewhat like “Refugee” or “Don’t Do Me Like That.” “Don’t Come Around Here No More” doesn’t sound like either and although I’m more open to it these days, at the time, I was looking for power chords. So listening to it recently with a more open mind, I am able to deliver a more favourable report on “Southern Accents.”

Let’s start with the not so positive: “Southern Accents” doesn’t topple “Damn the Torpedoes” from the top spot in my mind. Does that make it a bad album? Certainly not! There is many a good jam to be had on it. The first two songs, especially the opener, “Rebel,” really cook. Then again, Mike Campbell plays his best guitar solo on the second song. The irony here is that Petty also co-wrote that one with Stewart and likewise another great song, “Make It Better (Forget About Me.)” So, it’s been thirty years in coming but I must apologize and withdraw my accusation that Dave Stewart was trying to turn Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers into an 80s synth pop band. He wasn’t in any way.

Other tracks on “Southern Accents” go further in highlighting the band’s diversity and talent. The title track is a decent ballad and I like the Southern rock leanings of “Spike.” However, my vote for hidden gem has to be “Dogs on the Run” because it’s the song which reminds me of my favourite album the most. That song alone is proof that the band didn’t sell out in 1985. “Mary’ New Car” does come a close second.

Track Listing:

  1. Rebel
  2. It Ain’t Nothin’ to Me
  3. Don’t Come Around Here No More
  4. Southern Accents
  5. Make it Better (Forget About Me)
  6. Spike
  7. Dogs on the Run
  8. Mary’s New Car
  9. The Best of Everything

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Tom Petty- lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards, percussion

Mike Campbell- lead guitar, backing vocals, Dobro, keyboards

Benmont Tench- piano, keyboards, vibraphone

Stan Lynch- drums, percussion, backing vocals

Howie Epstein- bass, vocals

If I was so wrong about the “Southern Accents” album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1985, I wonder how many other albums I was wrong about. Don Henley for one. Still, I was a different person back then and the lack of heavy metal played on the radio and MTV back in early 1985 only poured fuel on those feelings. This is a great album!

Next post: Eric Clapton- Behind the Sun

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: … .cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1985: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers- Southern Accents”

  1. […] Source: Great Rock Albums of 1985: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers- Southern Accents | 80smetalman’s B… […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love these guys! Unfortunately video not available. Watched on youtube.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Petty broke his hand punching the wall in frustration, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember hearing about that. If it happened in 1985, I’ll have to write a post about it.

      Like

      • “In October of 1984, during what’s been described as long, arduous recording sessions for ‘Southern Accents,’ his sixth album with the Heartbreakers, Petty’s emotions got the better of him and he punched a wall, severely breaking his left hand. As he told Ultimate Guitar a year later while showing off his scars: “I wasn’t trying to cripple myself. I just backhanded a wall, but I hit it wrong.””

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ouch! That was still painful. I remember hearing that when the tour for the album started, Tom wasn’t able to play guitar so he just sang and Mike Campbell did all the guitar duties.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. From this album, I have only heard Don’t Come Around Here No More, which admittedly is a pretty freaky video! I DO know Johnny Cash’s cover of Southern Accents (featuring Tom and the Heartbreakers!) and it’s FABULOUS.

    Liked by 1 person

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