In case you missed it: A fantastic new episode of the ’77 Music Club podcast is now live. It’s a special one — we interviewed iconic punk baddie Viv Albertine about an album that’s influenced her (Dionne Warwick’s Golden Hits Pt 1) and learned so, so much in the process. It’s a great one. Tune in here.
Carly and I will be joining Crispin Kott and Mike Katz to discuss their new book, Rock & Roll Explorer Guide to New York City at Rough Trade NYC. Come hear us talk about music, New York, and the history between the two. More details here.
Catch the newest podcast episodes here:
Episode 3: Moondance – Van Morrison | November 6, 2017
Episode 4: Tango in the Night – Fleetwood Mac | November 24, 2017
Episode 5: Parallel Lines – Blondie | December 8, 2017
Episode 6: “River” – Joni Mitchell – special stocking stuffer episode | December 22, 2017
I’M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU – Al Green – Hi Records – 1972
Al Green’s 1972 album I’m Still In Love With You is a personal one: an album for smooth Saturday nights and sweet Sunday mornings, for both weddings and double digit anniversaries. It recalls time spent with family, friends, and lovers, and inspires memories to be made in the future. It’s an album made for lasting connections, and is undoubtedly one that is best enjoyed when shared.
In this episode, we examine the foundation of this iconic record and explore the greater musical landscape from which it was born. We discuss the one-of-a-kind house band that gave the album its distinct sound, the Southern stronghold that informed the album’s character, and the producer who oversaw it all, mixing all the elements together to create what is arguably one the greatest American soul records of the 20th century. An album is only as good as the sum of its parts, and here, we examine how I’m Still In Love With You remains an upstanding example.
Before Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, classic American rock icons, they were just five kids from Gainesville, Florida who had driven cross country to Los Angeles with $200 and hopes of landing a record deal for their southern rock group Mudcrutch.
Their ascent would be a slow one; the group signed with Shelter Records in 1974 and released a single, only to be dropped from the label. The band broke up. The band got back together and found themselves with a new opportunity to release an album — this time with a better name: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Released in 1976, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ self-titled debut is an amalgamation of styles and influences. It travels from classic blues to swampy country to classic ‘50s rock in songs that are abruptly short and full of anxious, pulsing rhythms that weren’t too deviant from the emerging punk scene. It’s no wonder people didn’t know what to do with them or how to classify them when the album was released.
Though the album contains songs that are now staples of American pop culture, ingrained in our collective consciousness — songs like “American Girl” and “Breakdown” — it would be a few years before Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cemented their status as household name rock stars — but it’s a status they’ve held onto.
In this episode, we discuss the variety of musical influences on early Heartbreakers work, dive into Tom Petty’s sparse songwriting style, and talk about why Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ enduring, four decade long careers truly inspire us.