10 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

For the follow-up to the multiplatinum Damn the Torpedoes, Tom Petty reconvened his band and production team and returned with Hard Promises, an album even tighter and more triumphant than its predecessor. The opening cut, “The Waiting,” is one of Petty’s definitive performances. The song updates the Byrds’ classic California jangle by injecting it with the bar-band edge of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. It’s impossible to overrate the contributions of Petty’s faithful backing band. “Nightwatchman” and “The Criminal” conjure subtle funk grooves that grow into rollicking choruses akin to Highway 61 Revisited. The indispensable organ work on “Something Big” and “Letting You Go” proves that Benmont Tench was the Al Kooper to Petty’s Dylan. (The working title of Hard Promises was Benmont’s Revenge.) Among the guest musicians, Stevie Nicks brings a feminine to touch to Petty’s vagabond anthems. Their rock ballad “Insider” is the lesser-known sibling of Petty’s “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” which he wrote and sung for Nicks’ Bella Donna album.

EDITORS’ NOTES

For the follow-up to the multiplatinum Damn the Torpedoes, Tom Petty reconvened his band and production team and returned with Hard Promises, an album even tighter and more triumphant than its predecessor. The opening cut, “The Waiting,” is one of Petty’s definitive performances. The song updates the Byrds’ classic California jangle by injecting it with the bar-band edge of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. It’s impossible to overrate the contributions of Petty’s faithful backing band. “Nightwatchman” and “The Criminal” conjure subtle funk grooves that grow into rollicking choruses akin to Highway 61 Revisited. The indispensable organ work on “Something Big” and “Letting You Go” proves that Benmont Tench was the Al Kooper to Petty’s Dylan. (The working title of Hard Promises was Benmont’s Revenge.) Among the guest musicians, Stevie Nicks brings a feminine to touch to Petty’s vagabond anthems. Their rock ballad “Insider” is the lesser-known sibling of Petty’s “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” which he wrote and sung for Nicks’ Bella Donna album.

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