NYCD: The Blog

Thursday, August 17, 2006


's excellent new album, Highway Companion, has gotten us listening to a lot of his older material as well. After much deliberation, coupled with boredom brought on by a slow day at the office, we have determined that Tom Petty sings with four separate and distinct voices:

1. THE DRAWL. Used mostly on his earlier recordings, such as "A Woman In Love" -- "Sheeza wowmuh ee-uh laaaaaaahhhhhve." His enunciation seems to have improved over the years, as he rarely employed The Drawl after the mid '80s, although the chorus of "Free Fallin'" is great Late Drawl.

2. THE HIGH-PITCHED QUAVER. As The Drawl was gradually phased out, The High-Pitched Quaver was utilized more and more, although it's in evidence as early as "Here Comes My Girl." The vast majority of his new album is H.P.Q., while the best-known example may be "Into The Great Wide Open."

3. THE QUASI-DYLAN. Not quite singing, not quite speaking, it sounds like Petty's doing a sorta half-assed Bob Dylan impersonation. The quintessential Q.D. is when he sings the title phrase of "Yer So Bad," before switching to High Pitched Quaver on the next line. He employs Quasi-Dylan on many songs, but rarely for more than a line or two. Surprisingly, "Jammin' Me," which Petty co-wrote with Dylan, has more Drawl than Quasi-Dylan.

4. THE PSEUDO-MEXICAN ACCENT. The Drawl taken to the next level. Frequently used on early classics like "A Woman In Love" ("Don' say a wor', don' seh naah-theen") and "Breakdown" ("Issawright if you lahve meh/Ees awrigh' eef you dun'") but rarely, if ever, since then. And that's probably a good thing, in this age of political correctness. Although it would be great to hear him do a cover of "Cuban Pete."

So what are you waiting for? Put on some Petty and find out how many voices you can hear! (Tony's spent the last day saying things like "OK, that's Pseudo-Mexican in the verse and Drawl combined with High-Pitched Quaver on the chorus...") If you know of any songs that utilize all four Petty voices -- also known as a "Tom Petty Grand Slam" -- email us at with the name of the song and at which point he uses each voice, and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a FREE COPY OF HIS NEW ALBUM!

Tune in next week and we'll discuss all four great songs written by Freedy Johnston!


Blogger soundsourcenyc said...

man it really is the dog days of august, you guys are really bored huh. ok i'm gonna come by and entertain you. but just one question if petty has 4 voices does jagger have more than one.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHO GIVES A FUCK!! I mean that in a nice, stop being so analytical and just listen and enjoy the music type way. JEEZ!

3:51 PM  
Blogger NYCD Online said...

Dear Anonynmous,
We are enjoying the music (type way?) so much, we've discovered not one, but FOUR different Tom Petty voices. And I believe the answer to your question is,"We." "WE GIVE A FUCK."

So, why are you reading this Blog anyway? Meringue recipes? JEEZ!
And we also mean this in a nice way.

7:30 PM  
Blogger soundsourcenyc said...

wait you mean that this isn't nycd (new york's craziest desserts) blog. ok so where can i find that meringue recipe or was it merengue lessons i was looking for at nycd (new york's craziest dances). oh well do you think tom petty can dance and eat dessert at the same time. and in the immortal words of keith reid "life is like a beanstalk, isn't it." What the Fuck and i mean this in the nicest way.

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2:54 AM  

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