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Playback [Best of, Box set]

Tom and the Heartbreaker Petty Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 42.14 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Amazon.ca

Tom Petty peaked early. In 1974, Petty's northern Florida bar band, Mudcrutch, moved to L.A., signed a deal with Shelter Records, and transformed itself into Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. By 1976, they had released their self-titled debut album, a seemingly impossible blend of the Byrds' jangly harmonies and Southern-California idealism with the Rolling Stones' bluesy punchiness and working-class grittiness. The rhythm section rocked; Mike Campbell was an effortlessly elegant guitarist, and Petty himself was a passionate singer. By the third album, 1979's Damn the Torpedoes, the band was creating such timeless rock & roll singles as "Refugee" and "Even the Losers." By 1980 their best music was behind them. The rhythms slackened; the melodies no longer grabbed; the performances lacked the same urgency. They played with admirable craft and sold millions of records, but they never again made music as powerful as their first three albums. This creates a serious imbalance in this box set, "Playback" (MCA), which fits 21 songs from the first four albums onto one overwhelming CD and then fills up another five CDs with 71 more tracks, which suffer by comparison. For the hardcore Petty fan, though, Playback is a treasure trove of obscurities. While most box sets adopt an 80/20 split between greatest hits and rarities, "Playback" is closer to 50/50, and includes B-sides never released in album form, rare Mudcrutch cuts, shelved studio tracks, and cover versions of songs by Jimmy Reed, Conway Twitty, and Elvis Presley. --Geoffrey Himes

Product Description

One of the shining lights of '70s, '80s and '90s rock 'n' roll gets his own boxed set, and it's a doozy! The first three discs are devoted to the must-have tracks from all of Tom's albums up through 1993, and then come the real goodies: a disc of rare B-sides and then two discs of unreleased tracks (27 in all!), including Elvis covers, curiosities like a pre-Stevie Nicks version of Stop Draggin' My Heart Around , demos, live takes and more, plus an 84-page color booklet.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instant Tom Petty collection! Aug. 5 2000
Format:Audio CD
For most people, I'm guessing these 92 tracks are all the Tom Petty you are going to need. The first three discs are really faultless-- some of the best pop music ever committed to tape. The rest of the box is aimed squarely at folks who already own much of his catalog-- it's chockfull of rareities, alternate takes, remixes and so forth.
Buying this set is really a no-brainer. If you don't have much Petty: i.e. greatest hits, and maybe and album or two, you NEED this. And odds are, it's all you'll need. If you have all the standard issue Petty discs, you can still look foward to 40% worth of the box dedicated to stuff you probably haven't heard. The most compelling reason,though, to own this set, for the hardcore fan is the sound quality. The regular issue Petty discs are fairly terrible: especially the older stuff... the 20-bit HDCD mastering on these new discs KILLS the standard versions and sounds *almost* as good as the out-of-print (and very pricey) Mobile Fidelity pressings. This box is incredibly cheap and provides many hours of listening, enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a compromise... July 12 2000
Format:Audio CD
I've lived with playback for a couple of years now. It's agood box. It offers a solution for mid-way Petty fans and hard corecomplete freaks. If your just a casual Petty listener, knowing the hits - Refugee, Free Fallin', etc. - and this is as far as you wish to go, you are better off going for the Greatest Hits CD, it's a lot cheaper. For those who are looking to explore Petty's work further, the first three discs provides a good (more balanced) acount of his recorded output. For hard core fans, the first three disks are not going to be of too much value. The only Petty album I don't own is Your Gonna Get It (and this hasn't made me want it). The only new song I recieved on these discs was the season specific Christmas all over again (nice song though, great big Phil Spector inspired sound) For big fans, the second half of the box is a really interesting, closer look at some material that fell through the cracks. Much of the material here is from pre- Tom Petty (Mudcrutch) days. I really like Ben Tench's On The Street. Along the way, we also encounter outtakes, demos, b-sides and other rarities. There are too many songs to make specific reference to. The box also comes with an interesting Bio. It's the first Petty bio that I've encountered. The booklet also contains comments and background information about each track - it's a good guide. There are a few things missing from this box. Why for instance wasn't the Greatest Hits cover of Something in the Air included (if you want that, you have to buy the greatest hits album, of which you will now own all but one song). What aout the Peace in LA single, it was never released on LP, the b side is included, but there is no sign of the a side. This box kind of alienates all groups. Those who want the Hits will be subjected to three disks of obscurities that will probably make no bigger fan of them. Those who want completeness will have to deal with the above problems.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything and the kitchen sink, too! March 8 2000
Format:Audio CD
Playback is a tour de force for any rock fan. You don't have to be a fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to appreciate this six-disc set. In fact, it may help convert you to believing that Petty and his bandmates are one of the major pioneers in rock and roll and an enduring act that is hard to replicate or resist. This boxed set is chock-full of goodies. Most boxed sets include the artist's major hits and then some throwaway cuts or barely passable "hits." No such filler exists here. Discs One through Three are packed with all of the hits and concert favorites that are as fresh and infectious as when the band burst on the scene in 1976. Where you really get your money's worth and hear the band air it out is in Discs Four through Six. The collection of songs on these three discs are mostly unreleased (especially in stellar compact disc sound). Sprinkled judiciously over these discs are some live tracks, unreleased gems, retooled or remixed versions of songs that became classics later, a few cover tunes and a handful of funny, lighthearted melodies. Standing out in the group are Stan Lynch's searing vocal rendition of "Psychotic Reaction" (originally by The Count Five), the fantastic "Trailer" (left off of Southern Accents), a wacky country version of "Damage You've Done" (released in a more rock-friendly format on Let Me Up I've Had Enough), the trippy "You Get Me High" and a great driving-in-the-car rocker titled "Travelin'". This is just the tip of the iceberg, folks! Included is a large booklet of musings by Petty and the band on each track in the set. In the booklet, the origins of some of the songs are revealed, studio anecdotes are revisited and the backstory of the band is explored. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'The Best of Everything' just got better Dec 14 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the band that consistently reinvents itself, yet stays the same, has done it again. The first Heartbreakers album I listened to was "Wildflowers" and I got hooked. Each song is so different and yet they sound so similar. Since then, I've become a fanatic of this music--"Anthology: Through the Years," "Echo," "Their Greatest Hits," and, finally, this collection of works, reaffirm what I've come to know: That this band is true genius. If you're a borderline fan of the Heartbreakers--that is to say that you own one or two of their albums--then you need this collection, more than anyone. Well-established fans should already have this in their collections.
Like I've said before, no two of their songs sound the same, and yet they're quite similar. That is to say, most (if not all of the tunes) are great, but each for different reasons. Just buy any of their works and you'll know exactly what I mean.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars somethin' else........
this is a real mixed-bag of musical styles,
& listening here, you realise what an accomplished all-round artist tom is,
"Casa Dega" is totally beautiful,... Read more
Published on Dec 2 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Tom Petty Anthology
PLAYBACK is a six-piece boxed set that's the ultimate anthology of Tom Petty's timeless music. It features almost all of his greatest songs, and even though it misses some gems,... Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars More styles of music
This review is intended to supplement the more detailed reviews others have written. I might have purchased this collection sooner had a reviewer told me that I could expect to... Read more
Published on Sept. 25 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars But what about...?
Great set of (very) early to nearly-latest work. But I agree with the overall assessment that cramming representation of the first four albums into one disc is an injustice. Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2000 by MCXB
5.0 out of 5 stars jerry's opinion
i think this is the best music collection i have listened to in a long time.
Published on Jan. 2 2000 by jerry fanning
5.0 out of 5 stars An unbelievable collection by an incredible band
If you're going to buy one box set in your lifetime, buy this one. It's everything you'd want in a box set. Read more
Published on Aug. 13 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars It's The Best He Can Do
Playback is a collection of Tom Petty's finer moments and forgotten moments. That said, if you like Tom Petty you will like this box set. Read more
Published on Dec 22 1998 by cumbersome@mailcity.com
5.0 out of 5 stars "Playback" is awesome.
Even if you have every album Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ever made, you will find plenty of great tracks in "Playback" that you have probably never heard before. Read more
Published on Nov. 13 1998
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool Collection
This is a good collection of Petty's random recordings. A lot of them are songs that undoubtedly came out of jam sessions. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 1998
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