What I’m Listening To (Down South by Tom Petty)

This is classic laconic Tom from his Highway Companion album. The song was produced by Jeff Lynne of ELO and that’s Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers on guitar. It’s an uncluttered production and a simple enough song, but ,of course , “simple” is hard to do well. What makes it for me is the lyric.

The first line of each verse ends with the phrase “down south” and the next three lines rhyme with each other. It’s what Tom Petty does with those rhymes that makes the song stand out. For example:

Create myself down south
Impress all the women
Pretend I’m Samuel Clemens
Wear seersucker and white linens

Women, Clemens, linen…..that’s about as witty and clever as lyric writing gets. Or this:

Spanish moss down south
Spirits cross the dead fields
Mosquitoes hit the windshield
All document remain sealed

So take a listen and look out as well for Mike Campell’s tremolo guitar figure

7 thoughts on “What I’m Listening To (Down South by Tom Petty)

  1. The Cheesesellers Wife

    Must hunt out my Tom petty albums …..haven’t listened to himfor a good while.

    I am often struck by the poetic forms in song lyrics. The couplet that has ben going round and round my head since January is:

    Said the condor to the preying mantis
    we’re gonna lost this place
    just like we did Atlantis

    Like

    Reply

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