The Two-Minute Man, Episode 8: Plenty of Petty (What Else Is New?) Edition


Dylan, in the 1973 movie "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid."

I was all set to hear U2's "New Year's Day" on Tuesday but not only did I not hear it during my brief morning jaunt, but according to the Globe's playlist log it didn't make it onto the airwaves at all. What gives? The alternating good/bad weeks continue, this being a good one with debuts from Dylan, Echo & the Bunnymen, R.E.M. and plenty of Petty.

1. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" - Bob Dylan
Why is it that you can hear a dozen different Zeppelin, Petty or U2 songs on the radio but when it comes to Dylan - only the greatest songwriter ever, of course - it's either this one, "Like a Rolling Stone" or maybe "Lay Lady Lay"? Like people would change the station if they heard "Queen Jane Approximately" or "Maggie's Farm"?

2. "Wonderwall" - Oasis
I'll admit that I have a bit of Oasis nostalgia. The Gallagher brothers' brawling antics grew to be a bit tiresome, but weren't nearly as constant or crazy as those of Pete Doherty of Amy Winehouse. And they whipped up some absolutely perfect singles in those early years, too. (Six by my count - this one, "Live Forever," "Champagne Supernova," "Rock and Roll Star," "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Supersonic.")

3. "Lips Like Sugar" - Echo & the Bunnymen
The Bunnymen were a touch past their prime by this point - and it was a hell of a prime, as they ran circles around worthy contemporaries like the Mighty Lemon Drops, Chameleons UK, Comsat Angels and Psychedelic Furs - but still came through with one last soaring single before singer Ian McCulloch left. Notice that echo/repetition of the word "sugar" in this chorus is pretty similar to "maybe" in the song above.

4. "Nightswimming" - R.E.M.
Who didn't have a tear in his or her eye when this song played in the background of Brandon Walsh's final scene on "Beverly Hills, 90210"? It was leaps and bounds better than Imogen Heap's very bad, very vocodery version of "Hallelujah" that played when Marissa Cooper kicked it. I'm predicting Jenny Lewis covering Neutral Milk Hotel for Serena's death/departure on "Gossip Girl."

5. "I Won't Back Down" - Tom Petty
Petty will be playing the Super Bowl halftime show in a month or so. As any Globe listener knows, he has plenty of hits to choose from. So which four will make the cut? I doubt this will be one. I have to think that "American Girl" and "Running Down a Dream" will be in there. Maybe "Learning to Fly"? Feel free to offer guesses in the comments and we'll surely follow up closer to game time.

6. "One Thing Leads to Another" - The Fixx
Originally this was going to be an all-'80s music blog called The Fixx. But Cillizza wouldn't let us. So I said he looked like the Hold Steady's Craig Finn. Take that, Cillizza!

7. "Daughter" - Pearl Jam
Do you remember what an event it was when "Vs." came out back in 1993? I was in eighth grade and let me tell you, it was huge. Parents and older siblings were on call to drive us young grungers to Tower or Kemp Mill right after school was over that Tuesday. And it's hard to envision a similar scenario ever happening again.

8. "Pink Houses" - John Mellencamp
Every "this is our country" joke/comment has already been made (a few hundred times too many), but this song should serve as a good reminder that the Coug was writing songs for car commercials more than 20 years ago.

9. "You Got Lucky" - Tom Petty
One of the great things about hearing Petty on the Globe is that it's always a different song. Unfortunately, this is one of them. Bonus points for the bizarre video, though.

10. "Layla" (Unplugged) - Eric Clapton
If "Clapton Is God," just call me Christopher Hitchens. Then remind me of the context, or else I'll probably punch you in the face.

By David Malitz |  January 4, 2008; 2:02 PM ET Two-Minute Man
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Comments

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Oh, the Gallaghers. Fyi, Liam just joined a "cancer-fighting supergroup" with Andy Rourke, Peter Hook, and Mani, called (lol) Freebass. I doubt this will bring him back into the U.S. spotlight, but a girl can dream. He'll probably just wish AIDS on the Good the Bad and the Queen. Godddd I want my britpop rivalries back in the news.

Posted by: shf | January 4, 2008 3:09 PM

I hope Tom plays "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "Learning to Fly" just so he can say he spent half of a Super Bowl song set at least vaguely talking about weed. Heck, throw in "Listen to Her Heart" just so he can say "with your money and your cocaine" infront of 1.5 billion people.

Posted by: EricS | January 4, 2008 3:27 PM

i think you might be wrong on the Petty super bowl songs by saying 'i won't back down' won't be one of them. it's a perfect song title for a football game. neither team will be looking to back down. they will find their inspiration from Petty.

Posted by: T.S. | January 5, 2008 10:28 AM

"Into the great wide open" is another Petty title that may, as T.S. advises, inspire football players and fans. "Don't come around here no more" and "Refuge" seem less appropriate to the theme but are dependable crowd pleasers.

Posted by: jhbyer | January 7, 2008 6:43 AM

"I hope Tom plays "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "Learning to Fly" just so he can say he spent half of a Super Bowl song set at least vaguely talking about weed. Heck, throw in "Listen to Her Heart" just so he can say "with your money and your cocaine" infront of 1.5 billion people."

Exactly what I was thinking, LOL. And I agree that "I Won't Back Down" is probably a given.

You were in 8th grade in 1993? God I feel old.

Posted by: Heather | January 7, 2008 7:00 AM

I forgot to add that I'd love to hear Petty do "I Need To Know."

Posted by: Heather | January 7, 2008 7:01 AM

I prefer You Got Lucky to I Won't Back Down. The latter is overplayed and obvious. The former has a menacing feel that I appreciate.

Even the original Layla would get a thumbs-down from me. However, the Layla album as a whole is excellent, aside from the title track and the ill-advised cover of Little Wing. I skip them every time and don't miss them.

Vs. - timeless art or 1993 nostalgia gone stale? Discuss...

Posted by: SSMD | January 7, 2008 9:39 AM

I've found myself plunging headfirst into a Pearl Jam nostalgia trip these past few months. (And you and i appear to be the same age. Did you sob into your flannel when Kurt died?) "Daughter" is obviously good, but my iPod is currently wearing out "Go" and especially "Rearviewmirror." Do you think I could get Eddie and Stone and the boys at my next birthday party?

Posted by: firehat | January 11, 2008 11:29 AM

I love Echo but they hardly run or ran circles around Psychedelic Furs. The first three Furs albums stand up next to anything that Echo or any other band of the time, including U2 (who both bands were lumped in with as early 80s post punk/guitar/psychedelia bands) put out. It seems odd for someone who was in 8th grade in 1993 and wasn't even born when Echo and Furs first albums debuted to make such claims. Less VH1 I Love the 90s analysis.

Posted by: Yes, I am Better than You | January 11, 2008 12:14 PM

The age thing is a weak argument, YIABTY. The records are the records; if anything I'm a more objective voice having NOT been there, y'know? The bands are pretty easy to compare since they both released their first four albums between 80 and 84, and I'll take all of those Bunnymen records before any of those Furs records.

Of course, Felt runs circles around them both.

Posted by: David | January 11, 2008 5:56 PM

I'm not making an age argument. It's not your fault that you weren't alive then. Howver, your blurb mentions Echo in their prime and how they ran circles around contemporaries. That implies being there and is different than talking about listening to the records now.

Posted by: Yes I am Better than You | January 15, 2008 3:21 PM

How can the Mighy Lemon Drops be called Contemporary with the Psy Furs?

Posted by: Grant | January 22, 2008 4:05 PM

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