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Tom Petty: The Best of the British Invasion
By Tom Petty
Rolling Stone #1119 — December 9, 2010
“In the mid-Sixties, the British had a more romantic view of rock & roll than the States this,” says Tom Petty. “We didn’t take it as seriously. The energy that came with the British Invasion was the difference — these guys brought the guitar to the fore. You weren’t getting guitar off the Shirelles.”
1. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” b/w “I Saw Her Standing There | The Beatles, 1963
The Beatles were superior to everything. This came on the radio, and overnight everything was different. If you weren’t there, it’s hard to believe. But everything changed instantly. In “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” John and Paul are singing the lead vocal in unison. It almost makes another voice — just a sonic pleasure.
2. “You Really Got Me” | The Kinks, 1964
I heard that song for the first time at a dance. The DJ player it really loud, and the whole room went still. Then everyone erupted in applause — for a record. That guitar break — I’d never heard anything that wild in my life.
3. “We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place” | The Animals, 1965
This made me want to run away from home. That bass riff is classic. These arrangements were tidy. Each instrument had a job to do.
4. “She’s Not There” | The Zombies, 1964
That piano break was over our head at the time, but so right. Colin Blunstone’s voice was a sound I had never heard. I thought if a zombie sang, that’s how he would sound.
5. “When You Walk in the Room” | The Searchers, 1964
I restrained myself from listing a bunch of their records. The 12-string guitar fascinated me, and they had great voices.
6. “I’m Alive” | The Hollies, 1965
Those voices were incredible. They were the best singers, other than the Beatles, as far as singing harmony and knocking you dead.
7. “I’m a Man” | The Yardbirds, 1965
That break, when they go into double-time, is downright psychedelic. And Jeff Beck is playing in unison with the harmonica. It’s a short record — and they still have the rave-up at the end. They got it all in.
8. “Anyway You Want It” | Dave Clark Five, 1964
They were badass. This song sounds like a runaway train, with that sax honking down low. That was a big step, to blow the echo out that heavy. I’d go crazy every time I heard it.
9. “I Can’t Explain” | The Who, 1965
What was great about Pete Townshend’s early stuff was you identified with what he was saying. And he’s using a Rickenbacker 12-string in a way no one else did. The guitar break is almost not a guitar break — he’s moving the tone switch back the forth.
10. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” | The Rolling Stones, 1965
They had so much attitude, it dripped off the plate. The riff and distortion grab you, and the lyric is so worldly. It’s hard to talk about “Satisfaction” because everyone knows it so well. But it’s a great moment in rock history. Just the phrase is worth a million bucks.