I'm heading out on the road this weekend so obviously I had to load up my car stereo with a Rad assortment of road trip jams to keep me occupied for a couple of days. This is quite the exhaustive process, especially if you're like me and you don't have an Ipod car dock to make a sweet highway playlist. No, I have to actually select 4-5 CDs that I know are packed with Rad jams from beginning to end that don't require hitting me the skip button while I'm cruising the interstates. When it comes to road trip jams you have to go with classic rock, and generally a selection of greatest hits CDs where you can literally sing along to every single track. In my opinion the best road trip music comes courtesy of the artist responsible for this week's Friday Afternoon Rad Jam: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers over the course of the last 30 years or so, have probably been the most consistent Rad band in rock n' roll. I mean there were other bands with a more impressive prime. Or more classic albums. Few however, have sustained their careers quite like TP and the Heartbreakers. They've been putting out Rad jams for three decades now. Tom Petty may not release entire CDs of classic material on par with say an "Exile on Main St." or "Zeppelin IV," but every CD they have released has at least one or two totally classic Rad jams. So when you put together the very best of their discography onto one album, you have a whole string of Rad jams in a row. There is seriously not one bad song on the Tom Petty Greatest hits anthology. You can throw invest a couple bucks in the jukebox and play the album in its entirety, and nobody in the bar will complain. Everybody loves Tom Petty and knows all the words to each of his classic Rad jams. If you're a red blooded American and DON'T like Tom Petty, you might as well openly admit you hate BBQs, football and apple pie and support Al Qaueda.
Just like you can't NOT enjoy Tom Petty's greatest hits anthology, it is impossible to attend a Tom Petty and not have a good time. Tom Petty live shows to this day are totally fucking Rad. This is because Tom Petty live shows have a formula and they stick to it. They know the people want to hear their 12 best songs, with a couple cool covers sprinkled in, some jamming and maybe their new single. They don't try to play you a whole bunch of obscure material or try out random tracks from their new LP. The people came to see the hits and damn it that is what Tom Petty gonna give you.
I've seen Tom Petty live multiple times and I can't say that there is extensive variation in the setlists. I mean the order changes up, and there are different covers, and different new singles with each CD's tour. For the most part however, you're getting the same reliable rock show. What's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. You can't beat listening to an hour and a half of absolute classic American Rock anthems with 20,000 people all singing along to every word in unison. I will be attending Tom Petty concerts in the year 2027 when they're bringing him out in a wheelchair. Just because Phish has 178,292 different variations on their setlists doesn't mean I will be checking out Trey's 3 hour jam session over a Tom Petty set anytime soon.
This week's Friday Afternoon Rad Jam: Runnin' Down a Dream, is my favorite TP & the Heartbreakers jam, and arguably the best driving song ever. I mean the lyrics to this song are just everything that embodies the start of a road trip. A beautiful day, the sun beating down, you turn the radio up and hit cruise control. And you're off to run down your dreams going wherever the road trip leads you. Enjoy your weekend folks. There's something good waiting down this road, so pick up whatever's yours.