(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

Devendra Banhart Releases What Will We Be on Warner Brothers This Fall

Cover art for What Will We BeI first heard about Devendra Banhart in 2005 surrounding the buzz associated with his then-new album Cripple Crow. Pitchfork pulled a stern 8.5 out from under its pitchy-frock with a penalizing “at 75 minutes the album does stretch its legs too long.”

By the time Cripple Crow was released, Devendra and his “Family” had established them at the top of the “Freak Folk” scene with four albums that continued to build his fanbase. Cripple Crow was followed by Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon in 2007. The album was met to mixed reviews and this time Pitchfork delivered a swift, stinging 6.5— again around the album length, but also suggesting that a limit of the number of genres undertaken on the album would have improved it.

Listening to Smokey now, there are some certain bright spots– notably the sprawling Traffic-nicking “Seahorse” as well as “Lover” which was borrowed for “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.” But, I would agree that there are some points that really could have used some work, and some of the tracks seem a bit like an inside joke.

With the upcoming release of What Will We Be, Devendra is bringing the same band from Smokey and moving from XL Recordings to Warner Brothers! Considering the D.I.Y. approach that Devendra had used for all of his previous albums, it’s interesting to see someone diverting from the Indie-self-release peers and shacking up at the home of Fleetwood Mac.

Tracklisting (courtesy Pitchfork):

01 Can’t Help but Smiling
02 Angelika
03 Baby
04 Goin‘ Back
05 First Song for B
06 Last Song for B
07 Chin Chin & Muck Muck
08 16th & Valencia, Roxy Music
09 Rats
10 Maria Leonza
11 Brindo
12 Meet Me at Lookout Point
13 Walilamdzi
14 Foolin

Click Here to visit Devendra Banhart’s Website

Click Here to visit Devendra Banhart’s MySpace Page

The fantastic, sprawling “Seahorse” from Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon Live:

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