Playback Best of, Box set
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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.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
Likely the best music investment I have made! Enjoy T. Petty's music very much! This about covers it all. All his commercial hits and a lot of other, a bit more obscure releases. Cannot go wrong with this offering!
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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
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 morePublished on Sept. 27 2002
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 morePublished on Sept. 25 2000
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 morePublished on Sept. 15 2000 by MCXB
i think this is the best music collection i have listened to in a long time.Published on Jan. 2 2000 by jerry fanning
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 morePublished on Aug. 13 1999
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 morePublished on Dec 22 1998 by firstname.lastname@example.org
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