When Tom Petty Reconvened the Heartbreakers for ‘She’s the One’
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Tom Petty kept his mid-career hot streak going with his 1994 solo album, Wildflowers. Two years later, he brought the Heartbreakers back for the soundtrack to Ed Burns‘ film, She’s the One, which was released on Aug. 6, 1996.
The record is a combination of leftovers from Wildflowers, new songs and a few covers. As a result, it lacks the cohesiveness of a proper Petty record, but it’s a good batch of songs, nonetheless.
She’s the One kicks off with “Walls (Circus)” complete with his signature 12-string guitar chiming throughout. “Grew Up Fast” immediately changes mood, hitting a more somber note before picking up and rocking midway through. Things really kick into hear with “Zero From Outer Space,” a Bob Dylanesque, garage band rocker with some killer Mike Campbell guitar bursts.
“Climb That Hill,” co-written by Petty and Campbell, is a ragged Neil Young-inspired rocker while “Change the Locks” and “A–hole” are both covers, an anomaly for Petty. The latter was written by Beck and the former by Lucinda Williams. Petty takes both songs and makes them all his own, particularly “Change the Locks,” which is one of the high points of the LP.
“Supernatural Radio” is another haunting, crawling rocker that, once again, inhabits Neil Young territory, while “Hung Up and Overdue” (featuring Ringo Starr on drums) is a beautiful album closer with its refrain of “we’re overdue for a dream come true / Long time, nothing new.”
Though the album featured cameos from friends such as the late, great Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys, Lindsey Buckingham, and the aforementioned Starr, it only reached No. 15 and went gold. That represented a commercial disappointment after Petty’s three previous records, and two Traveling Wilburys records, had all gone at least platinum. The band did not tour to support the album, either. At the same time, Petty was going through his own non-musical problems, namely the end of his marriage.
“I was just not happy,” he said in the book Tom Petty: Rock and Roll Guardian. “I needed more than a hit album in my life. I needed to feel good about myself. I was in an unhappy marriage and I had to deal with that. I had to grow up in a lot of ways. If you do this all your life, you don’t have the normal experience. The rock and roll lifestyle does not encourage you to be responsible.”
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