You're Gonna Get It!

You're Gonna Get It!

As producer Jimmy Iovine once noted, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers spent 10 years on their first album, and about 10 months on their second. The quick turnaround of the group’s 1978 sophomore effort wasn’t because the band members were in a rush—they just wanted to preserve momentum. After spending most of 1977 on tour, Petty and his boys were eager to capitalize on the enthusiasm they’d found in England, hoping they could elicit a similar response in America. On You’re Gonna Get It!, the mean songs (“Too Much Ain’t Enough,” “I Need to Know”) sounded meaner, and the reflective ones (“Listen to Her Heart,” “No Second Thoughts”) sound more bittersweet. If the album didn’t quite fit in with the late-’70s rock landscape—an era in which politically minded punk was on the rise—well, neither did Petty: In one interview, he claimed he didn’t “know fuck about the U.N.” and would rather sing about “rock ’n’ roll and chicks”; in another sit-down, he growled, “Call me a punk and I’ll cut you.” His resistance to the label made sense: While punk rock tended to look for newer, leaner ways of doing things, Petty was, at heart, a traditionalist—the good ol’ boy kicking around in his truck, too redeemed by what he’d heard on the radio to give up on it yet. And while the modestly successful You’re Gonna Get It! wouldn’t find him the widespread stateside acclaim he and his bandmates desired, he was just one album away from superstardom. All he had to do was damn the torpedoes.

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