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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Monday, October 9, 2017

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 892



I know I've written several times about Phonograph Record Magazine, a rock 'n' roll tabloid that meant quite a lot to me when I was 17. I discovered the magazine when I was a 17-year-old high school senior in 1977, and even though I only saw a mere two issues of PRM, it was enough to open up a whole new world of possibility within my fevered teen brain. Punk rock? What the hell is that? And why am I suddenly so intrigued by it?

Among PRM's regular features was Pipeline, a determinedly silly column by writer Mark Shipper. And it was in Pipeline that I first heard of a new act called Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.

Granted, it was just in a humor piece about punk groups, referring to Eddie & the Hot Rods as a singer named Eddie backed by a combo of classic cars revvin' up, and referring to the Heartbreakers as a beleaguered band bullied by a leader so (wait for it) petty that he required 'em all to wear matching underwear beneath their trousers on stage. You might find the idea of considering Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers a punk group funnier than Shipper's jokes (though I would disagree). But Petty and company were indeed swept up in the punk hype initially, spoken in the same breath as The Ramones, even though they sounded more like The Byrds. Nonetheless, the common ground was there. It was new. It was exciting. It belonged to us.

I don't have any real recollection of hearing Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' first hit "Breakdown" on the radio in '77, though I must have. I did hear "American Girl," and adored its glorious channeling of McGuinn and Clark taking flyte on my FM dial. But it was really the group's 1978 TV appearance on Midnight Special that set me higher. "Listen To Her Heart." "I Need To Know." The album was You're Gonna Get It. I got it. I got it as soon as I possibly could.

The American record-buyin' public caught up with this mob in short order; their third album Damn The Torpedoes shot full speed ahead into the charts, onto the airwaves, and deep within hearts that would not be broken. Their success was proof that great stuff could sell, sell big, and remain great, remain true to itself. No one would ever dare to call Tom Petty a sellout. He was an everyman, one of us, yet still a superstar, the kind of star we wished we could be. When Petty helped to form the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, his self-assured cool guaranteed him an easy fit; but somewhere far under his skin, I guarantee there was still a starstruck kid from Gainsville, Florida, pinching himself while saying I'm pals with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, and Roy OrbisonHis success was deserved. His fame and acclaim were well-earned. But he never forgot the long road he took to get there. His unbreakable heart was made of gold, but forged in rock 'n' roll.

Hearts break this week. Saying goodbye to Tom Petty is not something we were prepared to do.

Breakdown: we opened this week's show with a half hour of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. We offered new music from The Flamin' Groovies, Trip Wire, Fernando Perdomo, Jeremy, Thinking Aloud, Rob Martinez, Adam Marsland, The Forty Nineteens, The Condors, Tobbe, Steve Barton with Dave Scheff, and Third Of Never. We wished happy birthday in memory of John Lennon and John Entwhistle. We paid tribute to the late TV producer Jack Good (via a spin of The Monkees' "Naked Persimmon" from the Good-produced special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee). We played some old faves, and some recent faves. And we played some Tom Petty. Here's to a man who never backed down. This is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like on a Sunday night in Syracuse.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl, Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern at www.westcottradio.org

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Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here.

TIRnRR # 892: 10/8/17

TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: American Girl (MCA, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Refugee (MCA, Damn The Torpedoes)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Century City (MCA, Damn The Torpedoes)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Even The Losers (MCA, Damn The Torpedoes)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Listen To Her Heart (MCA, You're Gonna Get It)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Here Comes My Girl (MCA, Damn The Torpedoes)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll (MCA, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Breakdown (MCA, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: I Need To Know (MCA, You're Gonna Get It)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: The Waiting (MCA, Hard Promises)
--
THE FLAMIN' GROOVIES: I Want You Bad (Sonic Kicks, Fantastic Plastic)
MOBY GRAPE: Omaha [mono single version] (Columbia, Vintage)
THE BOTTLE KIDS: Let Me In On This Action (Kool Kat Musik, VA: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4)
JOHN LENNON: Dear Yoko (Capitol, Acoustic)
PAUL McCARTNEY: Ballroom Dancing (Capitol, Tug Of War)
THE WHO: The Ox (MCA, My Generation)
--
TRIP WIRE: Growing Old (Kool Kat Musik, Cold Gas Giants)
THE KINKS: Where Have All The Good Times Gone (Rhino, Greatest Hits)
BADFINGER: No Matter What (Apple, No Dice)
JOHN LENNON: I'm Losing You (Capitol, Wonsaponatime)
THE O'JAYS: Love Train (Epic, Love Train)
STEVIE NICKS [with TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS]: Stop Draggin' My Heart Around (MCA, TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Through The Years)
--
FERNANDO PERDOMO: Spotlight Smile (Forward Motion, The Golden Hour)
BIG STAR: In The Street [single mix] (Stax, The Best Of Big Star)
JEREMY: Sonlight (JAM, Invitation)
CAN: Turtles Have Short Legs (Spoon, The Singles)
THINKING ALOUD: The Girl Who Invented Brown Eyes (thinkingaloud.bandcamp.com, Subduction)
THE BEATLES: I Feel Fine (Capitol, single)
--
ROB MARTINEZ: Rain Falls (Karma Frog, Today My Mind...Tomorrow The World)
THE BEATLES: Rain (Capitol, single)
THE RAMONES: Questioningly (Rhino, Road To Ruin)
THE CLASH: I Fought The Law (Epic, The Essential Clash)
ADAM MARSLAND: This Is Madness (Karma Frog, Bule)
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: Temptation Inside Your Heart [original mix] (Polydor, White Light/White Heat)
--
THE FORTY NINETEENS: The Longer I Wait (Kool Kat Musik, Good Fortune)
THE PRETENDERS: Day After Day (Sire, The Singles)
THE CONDORS: Matter Of Fact (Big Stir, Joie De Vivre)
THE BEATLES: Nowhere Man (Parlophone, Rubber Soul)
TOBBE: Idea (thememusic.bandcamp.com, Tobbe Sings Bee Gees)
THE TRAVELING WILBURYS: End Of The Line (Rhino, The Traveling Wilburys Collection)
--
STEVE BARTON WITH DAVE SCHEFF: Into The Sun (stevebartonmusic.com, New Blue World)
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: Who Loves The Sun (Rhino, Loaded)
THE FLASHCUBES: You Got My Promise (Northside, Flashcubes Forever)
JOHN LENNON: Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Capitol, Walls And Bridges)
THE MONKEES: Naked Persimmon (from the TV special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee)
THE NERVES: Hanging On The Telephone (Alive, One Way Ticket)
--
THIRD OF NEVER: Dig The View (JAM, Austerity)
ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS: Radio Radio (Rykodisc, This Year's Model)
TOM PETTY: Runnin' Down A Dream (MCA, Full Moon Fever)
THE WHO: Magic Bus (MCA, The Kids Are Alright)
TOM PETTY: I Won't Back Down (MCA, Full Moon Fever)
THE BEATLES: Ballad Of John And Yoko (Apple, single)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Hope On Board (Warner Brothers, She's The One)
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Airport (Warner Brothers, She's The One)