Listen Up: Petty’s back, ‘Breakers got him
Review by Forrest White
Charleston Post & Courier: September 1, 1991
TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS, “Into the Great Wide Open.” MCA. ★★★
Once again, Tom Petty has forged a collection that’s unmistakably Petty. Whatzat? Well, yeah, it would be pretty hard to disguise that voice, but that’s not the point.
For “Into the Great Wide Open,” Petty reunites with the Heartbreakers for the first time since the 1987 release, “Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough).” He’s been hanging out lately with good company, rock gods and fellow Traveling Wilburys Bob Dylan and George Harrison, not to mention his good buddies Jeff Lynne and Roger McGuinn. And, we can’t forget the late Roy Orbison.
This collaboration sounds a lot like Petty’s 1989 solo work, “Full Moon Fever,” which Lynne produced. Only this time. the sound is crisp and biting, heavy on the acoustic guitars, with even more of the great melodies we’ve come to expect from Petty. Co-written with Lynne, the collection isn’t packed with great lyrics — From the title track for instance, “The papers said Ed always played from the heart/He got an agent and a roadie named Bart.” Tom, this is rock, albeit pop-oriented, not rap.
Anyway, Petty hits upon enough good imagery to make the collection worthwhile, especially considering there are so many good melodies. It’s the kind of stuff that you’d want to have along on a laid-back fall afternoon, when you put the top back and head into, well, the great wide open.