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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/d8579345cde14fd1e25090d9e6a2d312a83f84da.jpg Kiss My Amps Live

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Kiss My Amps Live

Reprise
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5 3.5 0
November 25, 2011

In the middle of his 2010 concerts, Tom Petty interrupted the hits for a stretch of electric R&B and psychedelic jangle from his rebirth record, Mojo. This vinyl LP, issued for Record Store Day, is a crackling facsimile of the minisets inside those shows, including the tough freestyle strut "Takin’ My Time," the hard-blues-and-rave-up combo "I Should Have Known It" and the Allman Brothers-with-acid waltz "First Flash of Freedom." There is one non-Mojo nugget: a 1999 B side, "Sweet William," which suggests Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" juiced with the garage-rock helter-skelter of Count Five’s 1966 hit "Psychotic Reaction."

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    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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