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  • 2008-02-08_The-Island-Packet

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Rock Music Still Troubling Candidates
The Island Packet - Friday, February 8, 2008

This week, singer John Mellencamp politely asked Republican frontrunner John McCain to knock off using his song "Our Country" at campaign appearances, which is no surprise: Anyone remotely familiar with Mellencamp's political leanings would know that he's about as likely to endorse a conservative candidate as he would be to record a New Kids on the Black cover. But McCain is hardly the first candidate to run into trouble regarding the selection of campaign songs:

"American Girl," Tom Petty
Used By: Hillary Clinton (2008)
What the song sounds like to a candidate: Girl power.
What the song is actually about: Guys are jerks. Some people think it's about suicide, which is rarely an association you want with your campaign. Also, Jeff Spicoli is wasted.
Better choice for campaign song: "Right Here, Right Now" by Jesus Jones, because, hey, remember the '90s? And how good things were? I wonder who was in charge then ...

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Echo" (1999)
By Jim Faber
The Island Packet - Friday, February 8, 2008

Younger readers of this publication might have been confused by the halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl Sunday. Who was that shaggy bearded hobo? Why did he seem so mellow? And how did he write such great songs with all the time it takes to catch the right boxcar these days?

The answers are: Tom Petty, he's always mellow for reasons that must be perfectly legal and who rides boxcars anymore?

Petty's halftime set was full of classics, but his newer stuff doesn't get as much respect. His 1999 record "Echo" isn't his happiest album -- much of it was recorded during his divorce from his wife of two decades, and Heartbreaker bassist Howie Epstein was dealing with a drug addiction that would eventually cost him his life. But as much of a drowning-the-sorrows kind of album as this is, there still are some signature Petty fightin' moments like the feisty "Swingin'" and the redemptive "Billy the Kid."