(Upcoming Release) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 1993 “Greatest Hits” Reissued on 2 LP 180g on 7/29/2016

TPH - Greatest HitsFrom the Under the Radar department: I happened to notice on Amazon yesterday that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers‘ 1993 Greatest Hits was getting the 180g vinyl treatment. Though some might deem it unnecessary to reissue this again, it has only ever existed on vinyl as a foreign pressing. While this compilation is the greatest-selling release in Petty’s catalog at 12 Million copies, it is one that exists only because of an exit strategy that Petty needed to get out of his contract with MCA.

It’s easy to see why this compilation is so popular, Petty’s stint with Shelter/MCA from 1976 to 1993 produced the biggest and most beloved singles and albums of his career. But, by 1993 Petty was already secretly signed to Warner/Reprise by Mo Ostin and Lenny Waronker, and holding the critically-acclaimed Rick Rubin-produced Wildflowers to be the first release on his new label– a result of his increasing disappointment with MCA and in particular label head Al Teller’s handling of his catalog. Petty instructed his manager Tony Dimitriades to meet with Teller and negotiate getting out of his contract without fulfilling the last record due the label, and certainly not giving MCA Wildflowers— what Petty considered to be an artistically important one. Dimitriades recounts the negotiation in Warren Zanes’ book “Petty: The Biography”

“I get to the point and tell [Al Teller] that Tom doesn’t want to give him the last album. Al says, ‘What do you mean he doesn’t want to give us the last album?’ I say, ‘He’s not going to give it to you. He wants to leave. He’s unhappy.’ We’re in this restaurant, you know? And Al says, ‘You can’t do this to me!’ But I could. The artist we were talking about was a guy who chose to file for bankruptcy rather than deliver an album.”

Dimitriades and Teller negotiate and arrive at a greatest hits release (one that they were already planning) with the stipulation that Tom and the Heartbreakers record a new song for it. An idea that Tom hated since he didn’t understand the idea of a new song being on a greatest hits. Conveniently, the song was “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” which became a greatest hit, too.

In 1995 Seagram bought 80% of MCA and rebranded it Universal Music Group and fired Teller in November of that year. In 2003 the MCA catalog was absorbed by UMG label Geffen, which explains why, in 2008, the reissue of Greatest Hits was on Geffen instead of MCA. The 2008 reissue dropped the Thunderclap Newman cover of “Something In The Air” in favor of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and gave it a new cover.

This new vinyl reissue of Greatest Hits restores the 1993 track list, but uses the 2008 cover– a symptom of it being on Geffen Records, now I expect. They also add the song “Anything That’s Rock n Roll” which was on the UK version of the 2008 reissue.

Side A
1. American Girl
2. Breakdown
3. Anything That’s Rock n Roll
4. Listen To Her Heart
5. I Need To Know
6. Refugee

Side B
1. Don’t Do Me Like That
2. Even The Losers
3. Here Comes My Girl
4. The Waiting
5. You Got Lucky

Side C
1. Don’t Come Around Here No More
2. I Won’t Back Down
3. Runnin’ Down A Dream
4. Free Fallin’

Side D
1. Learning To Fly
2. Into The Great Wide Open
3. Mary Jane’s Last Dance
4. Something In The Air

B-Sides in the Bins #26 – Cedar Rapids Half-Price Books

Wanting to take advantage of one of the coupons I got in the mail for 40% off one item, I stopped off at Half-Price Books in Cedar Rapids last night. Half-Price Books has a deal a couple of times a year where they send out one week of coupons where you start out with 40% off and it decreases 10% every two days through the course of the week, but then ends up with a 50% coupon on Sunday. There wasn’t much in the CD bins this trip, but there was a lot in the vinyl area and I had to make some judicious selections. I’ll be back on Sunday with some stuff to sell to take advantage of the 50%.

Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison (LP, Columbia CS 9639, 1968) ($2.99) This was the one I got the 40% off on since it was a $4.98 one. Is anyone else noticing that the prices are going up at Half-Price? The record is in very good condition with only a slight bit of surface scratches. The sleeve has some edge wear and some face wear, but no ring wear which is incredible considering this record turned 40 this year! This record was a popular one around the house growing up. Dad was a big Johnny Cash fan in the 50’s and 60’s. I love this cover with Johnny big as life on the cover looking askance and sweat running down his face. On the back are hand-written liner notes describing the day-to-day of a prison inmate in the 60’s as well as explaining how he had to convince Columbia to release a live recording made in a prison. In retrospect it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but I guess it must have been kind of shocking at the time. The movie “Ring of Fire” uses this show as its point of departure for the flashback that makes up the movie of Johnny’s life. This record is pretty interesting from the standpoint that it doesn’t have all of the “big” hits on it. In includes classics like “Folsom Prison,” “Jackson,” and “Orange Blossom Special” but doesn’t include “Walk the Line” or “Ring of Fire.” When this was remastered and re-released on CD in 1999 they added the missing songs “Busted,” “Joe Bean,” and “The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer.” A brilliant, landmark record that really transcends time and the genre of Country music.

Neil Young – Harvest (LP, Reprise MSK 2277, 1972) ($3.98) Wow! This was a big find. This copy is pristine! In a dust jacket, NO sleeve damage, includes the lyric sheet. The paper sleeve is torn, but there isn’t any printing on the sleeve so no art loss. What is there really to say about this record that hasn’t been said before? Brilliant record, regarded by most to be the pinnacle of Neil’s career and certainly his commerical high-point with the #1 single “Heart of Gold.” The story goes that Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor were appearing on the Johnny Cash TV show in 1971 and Neil coaxed them to come over and put vocals on “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man.” The country/folk-ish formula that created Harvest was so successful that Neil was able to base his 1992 album Harvest Moon from it and in my opinion repeated the commercial and critical success.

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