Posted Apr 04 2014
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Song Of The Week - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - American Girl

There’s something unique about American pop (and by “pop” we mean everything from nu thrash death J-metal to James Taylor. And beyond – broad church, get used to it.) It just sounds so specific, so unique. Maybe it’s the Rickenbackers? When Roger McGuinn heard the Beatles and married it to Dylan and kinda sorta invented folk rock (it’s open to debate) he wanted to sound like The Beatles. But The Byrds didn’t. They sounded so…American. (Maybe it was the Rickenbackers?)

Either way it had a profound effect on Tom Petty who, along with his Heartbreakers, was briefly seen as a post-punk new wavey kind of thing in the UK. But they weren’t. They were pure America pop. Never more so than on their first hit, appropriately titled American Girl. This is as pure as pop music ever gets, so good we forgive it the lack of the missing third verse/chorus it is so desperately crying out for. All great pop music is about desperation, tramps like us weren’t born to walk, d’you know what I mean? (as Noel once so desperately wrote.) Anyway, this is as great as American pop ever gets – and it is distinctly, and uniquely, American pop (whatever that means.)

Oh, and the filmic connection? It provides the only brief glimmer of light in Jonathan Demme’s otherwise beautifully grim The Silence of The Lambs. Oh yeah. Alright. Take it easy baby…make it last all night. And so on.

 

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