S9E5 Two Gunslingers

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Length: 32:43 - Release Date: November 22, 2023

In Conversations With Tom Petty, when Tom tells author Paul Zollo that the band were allowed to pick some of their favourites for the Anthology, Paul asks “So Two Gunslingers is one of your favourites?” Tom Responds “Oh definitely. I love that song. I was really proud of that when it got done.” When Paul comments “It’s a funny song, but meaningful.” Tom responds, “Yeh, it’s a really good anti-war song”.

Today’s episode covers "Two Gunslingers", the fourth track on "Into The Great Wide Open".

You can listen to the song here:https://youtu.be/_x8dIyRTKHo

To hear the 2013 live version from the American Treasure compilation, check that out here: https://youtu.be/1fKXeVZ5XXA

To listen to the latest episode of Honest and Unmerciful, which covers John Cougar Mellencamp's "Scarecrow" album, go here: https://tinyurl.com/c6st53cb

And to check out Jake Thistle's new EP/album, "The Half Left Out", you can find that here: https://tinyurl.com/26fp3skj

Album version

Live version from An American Treasure


(* Note - the transcript is as-written before recording. I usually change a few sentences or words here and there on the hoof as I'm speaking.)

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, my fine friends. Welcome to the fifth episode of the ninth season of the Tom Petty Project Podcast! I am your host, Kevin Brown. This is the weekly podcast that digs into the entire Tom Petty catalog song by song, album by album and includes conversations with musicians, fans, and people connected with Tom along the way. 

I posted out the poll on the album’s title track and it’s the most voted-on song that we’ve had to date, which was kinda cool! The breakdown on Twitter was as follows: 2.8% voted the song between a 1 and a 6, 66.7% rated it between a 7 and a 9 and 30.6% gave it top marks at 10 out of 10. I think that so far, my ratings have always been in line with the polls, which makes me happy that my thoughts aren’t too far out of step with other fans! I should apologize quickly to @lisakellypennington over on Instagram as I revealed my ranking before she’d had a chance to listen and she likes to try to guess how I’m going to score each song! To that end, I’m not going to post the actual score on Instagram from now on when I ask people for their ratings! Over on Facebook, the results were really similar, with 30% of people rating the song a 10/10 and 70% rating it between a 7 and a 9. My pal Pete Nestor from the Honest and Unmerciful podcast did prevaricate a little on his score, commenting, “8. 7 if I think too hard about the bells that rattle under the line “his leather jacket had chains that would jingle”.” Now, I don’t know if Pete has a different version of the record than I do, but there’s definitely no bells in that section on mine! I went back and listened to that section to see if I missed something completely obvious and you do hear the treble notes of an acoustic guitar more prominently there, so I’m thinking that that might be what he’s talking about. Also, as a quick note, Pete and his co-host Brian just did a brilliant episode covering John Cougar Mellencamp’s album Scarecrow on their show, so I’ll drop a link in the episode notes for you. You can go listen to how many burritos they award the Coog’s eighth studio album. For some reason, I’ve never dug into Mellencamp’s catalogue and really only knew Small Town and Jack and Diane, both of which I love. But after listening to the episode, I’m more interested in digging back into more of his work. 

Associate show producer Paul Roberts reacted to my mentioning that last week’s episode was a long one, saying “Never be embarrassed about length Kevin šŸ˜³ It's the quality that counts. As you say the video expands the song so why shouldn't your review. One of Tom's upbeat storytelling best. Easily a 10 in my book.” Now look Paul, I know that as a fellow Northern English chap you’d never stoop to double-entendre, butā€¦ OK you definitely would. And so would I. That gave me a good chuckle! Edwin Shoemaker also chimed in on the subject, commenting “Ah good, a long episode! I like that! And another awesome song, of course! I remember watching the video on MTV. Loved that, too!” and goes on to very kindly say “Another excellent episode, Kevin! Great song, of course. But yeah, a 9 sounds about right. I love the video, as well! However, did you notice Terrence Trent D'Arby doing a little cameo there, entering the night club? I thought that was an interesting extra detail. Anyway, thanks and looking forward to the next episode!” So, first of all, thanks so much for the kinds words Edwin and maybe I don’t need to worry too much about keeping the episodes in around the 20 minute mark! If the episodes start to get longer and you’re not a fan of that, you can go shout at Paul and Edwin on Facebook! The legend that is Jon Scott simply commented “10 of course!” And when Jon speaks, you should listen. But in this case, I’ll listen and still disagree! J.P. Koffman agreed with my ranking, saying “I'd give it a 9 too. It was a 10 when the album came out. Love it, but it didn't have the longevity of tracks 1, 2, 4 and 5 on the album for me. I have to be in the mood for it, while I'm always happy to hear the others.” So I’ll be interested to see what he says for this week’s episode, which covers track 4! And finally, Mary Beth Donnolly commented, “Call me a heretic if you wish, but this just isn’t my favorite Petty song. I don’t know why. I recognize there’s some great lines, that it’s a great story, but it just doesn’t stay in my soul (my unscientific way of evaluating music) the way so many other TP songs do. Maybe I heard it too much?! I don’t know. So I would probably give it a 7. (But don’t worry, I’ll be back next week to rave about Two Gunslingers!)” and that’s basically where it falls for me. It’s actually probably in the 8 range for me if I think about all of Tom’s songs that I love more, but my rating was also based on the objective brilliance of the songwriting.

This past Friday also saw the release of Jake Thistle’s highly anticipated new EP, though at 7 tracks, I think he’d have gotten away with calling it an album. I think I’m going to try writing a review of the album rather than dedicating a full episode to it, but I might still contact Jake about doing that too, maybe as a special Christmas episode or somethingā€¦ Needless to say, it is absolutely fabulous and I just can’t say enough about my admiration for Jake’s music and the way he conducts himself. Again, I’ll leave a link in the episode notes for you so you can go and check that out.

Before I wrap this section, I also wanted to send out some support and love for one of our Pettyhead family, Sue Hites Bailey Brown. Sue very sadly lost her son Dustin this past weekend. Dustin was only 38 years old and leaves behind a wife and three beautiful children. My heart goes out to Dustin’s family and of course to Sue, who I’ve been Facebook friends with for a few months now after we connected in one of the Tom Petty facebook groups. She’s always come across to me as a wonderful, warm, and funny person, so this week’s episode is dedicated to the memory of Dustin Brown. I hope your road back to the light is a short one Sue. 

Anyway, to end this section on a somber note, but I felt it was important for me to offer my condolences on the podcast because, as my favourite author, Terry Pratchett, once wrote; “A man's not dead while his name is still spoken”. Today’s episode looks at the fourth song from Into The Great Wide Open, the marvelous “Two Gunslingers”. There’s a link to the song in the episode notes if you want to listen to the song before we dig into it. I’ve had a few people tell me that they like to listen to the song first, then the episode, then go back and listen to the song again to see if they pick up on the same things I do. Not a bad way to do it and gets a few more streams for rock n roll in an increasingly pop-oriented world!

In Conversations With Tom Petty, when author Paul Zollo mentions to Tom that he was happy to see Two Gunslingers included on the Anthology: Through The Years album that was released in 2000, Tom emphatically responds “I didn’t see the point in that record. But we were under contract where we had to deliver. So what we did was to pick our favourites. As many of them as we could get in. Because they insisted on having all the hits.But since it was a double CD, we were allowed to pick more songs. So we picked our favourite ones and put them in.” You can see Tom’s point. Of the eighteen songs that had been included on 1993’s 16x Platinum Greatest Hits record, 17 were repeated in the Anthology collection, the band managed to get non-single deep cuts such as “Two Gunslingers”, “The Wild One, Forever”, “Straight Into Darkness”, and “It'll All Work Out” on the record. The repackaging of the same songs endlessly does drive fans crazy. My cohoest on the Ultimate Catalogue Clash Corey Morrissette has bemoaned that fact that Aerosmith have almost as many greatest hits compilations out as they have studio albums. This is where the Petty estate, for me, has generally been far ahead of most of their contemporaries. If you look at Playback, the Live Anthology, American Treasure, Wildflowers and All the Rest and Live at the Fillmore, they’re offering lots of new material along with some of  the tried and tested hits. 

When Paul asks Tom about the origins of the song and asks if he remembers writing it, Tom recounts Jim Lenahan, an early member of Mudcrutch, giving him a poster for a movie titled “Hostile Guns”. This came from a years-earlier in-joke, described by Tom as follows. “He was always telling me about movies and I would kind of wind him up by giving him a really bad movie. Like, I’d say “How about Hostile Guns”, now there’s a movie. And it was this terrible Western and I thought the title was so funny. He’d be talking Citizen Kane and I’d say “Hostile Guns”, and it really wound him up. So, many years later, he came upon the movie poster for Hostile Guns and he sent me the poster. And it was on my wall. I’m pretty sure that’s what was the germ for that song, the poster of the gunslingers.” I looked up Hostile Guns and it really does read like a run of the mill Western, with US marshals, a duplicitous love interest and lots of gunfights and similar shenanigans! 

Two Gunslingers starts off with a short four bar chorus that centres around that root and suspended 4th alternating pattern. It’s in Bmaj, so you get B and Bsus4 as those two chords, but weirdly, as far as I can tell, the Heartbreakers never played this live in that key though, so I’d love to know the story behind why it was recorded that way but played in a completely different key live. The earliest bootleg version I found was from 1995 when it’s played in F. When it was played in 2014, it was in A. Now, you can expect artists to play a song in a lower key as they get older, but in ‘95 on the Dogs With Wings tour, Tom was in peak vocal conditions. I suppose it could just be that it sounded better that way in the studio at the time. It also seems that it was always played in a much more plaintive arrangement, usually stripped right back to Tom on an acoustic guitar and very minimal other instrumentation. I’d be really interested in hearing what the demo for this song sounded like and wonder if there are any alternate versions out there, because the way it’s recorded is completely different to the way it was ever performed live. 

So we get B/Bsus4 pattern to start with the entire band coming in right on the one again. Like everything in the Jeff Lynne era, this is just stacked up with guitars. There’s a palm muted guitar chugging fifths, there’s an acoustic guitar strumming the main progression, and there’s an electric guitar just strumming the changes. I think it’s a digital piano or some sort of synth pad maybe, that Benmont Tench is playing that also just plays those chord changes from the root to the sus 4.  I’ll end up saying this a fair bit in this song, but again for something that sounds so simple, there is a HELL of a lot going on in this seemingly-breezy little three minute ditty. While the drums are playing that straight back beat, the bass on this one is a little different to much of the straight quarter or eighth notes that we’re used to from these two companion records. Here, the bass is playing a really nice Dun-Duhh Dun-dun-duh, which don’t play on the 2nd and 4th notes. So every time the snare hits on the 2 and 4, the bass note drops off. So immediately there’s a slightly different feeling to this one than the three songs that precede it. It has a different groove. Similarly, that chord change to the suspended fourth comes on the 2-and, not the 3. It’s a really effective way to use two simple chords. 

The only transition into the first verse is Stan Lynch hitting the crash cymbal as he did on the first and third bars of the intro. The keyboard is dialed back and the electric guitar stops playing those chord changes. In fact, that first bar doesn’t have the change at all. It’s just a straight B for that first four beats. In the second half of the verse, when we move to the minor and we get a little four note synth lick followed by a big shimmering guitar tone with bags of delay and reverb from Mike Campbell on the first beat of that minor key bar. We also get four bars of that major key alternating progression and only 2 bars of the minor key. So the verses are actually a twelve bar structure rather than an 8 or an 8+1 or 8+2 that Tom would often employ. That two bar minor key drop also features the same root to sus 4 combination but here it’s G#min to G#sus4 so we’re keeping that same cadence. In a song filled with them, there’s a little addition of a shaken tambourine playing a sixteenth note triplet on the 3-and (after Tom sings “no more”)

The second half of the first verse is a repeat of that 4 major, 2 minor progression. And there’s a super cool little vocal trick that Tom does that I don’t know if I’d noticed before and it’s something that rock singers will do from time to time. When Tom sings about the second gunslinger, on the line “he said Yeah”, he doesn’t enunciate it as “He”, but rather a sort of sloppy “and Lee said yeah” and I think maybe it just could be because there’s a bigger glottal stop between the pair “and He” than there is between “and lee” - you can roll the latter together much more seamlessly than the former. Either that or Tom was just having fun with the performance. Or, and here’s a hair brained theory if ever I came up with one, maybe the other gunslinger’s name is Lee!” Yeh, I know it’s not because the lyrics in the liner notes don’t say that but hey, it’s fun to speculate. If the second gunslinger’s name is Lee, I’m gonna suggest that we should call the first gunslinger Perrinā€¦ maybe because I really like Worcestershire sauceā€¦ and yes. That’s how you say it. It isn’t worcester-shire, or even wustersheer or wuster-shire, it’s wustershahā€¦ well, at least where I grew up. It’s pronounced about 17 different ways depending on where exactly in the UK you were born! 

As we head into the chorus, we get what I’m pretty sure is a drum machine or a synth drum fill. It could be a really deep floor tom that’s heavily processed too, it’s hard to tell, but there are plenty of synths on this record so it would have been way quicker to do it that way. The first six bars of the chorus are an alternating E, sorta kinda not really suspended G# chord. If the chart that I found is right it’s G#m9/F#, but who the heck knows. I’ll maybe ask Tommy Edwin about it on Twitter, because we were talking about some of the chord changes in last week’s song and he was showing me how he plays the chorus to that one. The chorus also sees that bright electric guitar come back in playing an arpeggio over the chord progression and giving this section a little different vibe again although the drums and the bass are doing the same thing they’ve done throughout the song so far. We also get those tambourine triplets added in to give that little bit extra percussion. The chorus structure is again slightly atypical for a Heartbreakers song in that it’s sort of broken up into six bars and four bars. So the six bars are the “I’m taking control of my life”  and the four bars are the “now, right now, oh yeah” and that hanging bar to take us back into the verse. It also mirrors the verse progression in that it switches from a major to a minor chord before resolving back to the fifth heading back into the second verse. It’s a lot more nuanced a composition than it seems at first. When the minor key hits we also get Benmont Tench playing that same four-note descending arpeggio over those underlying chord changes. So once again we get this sense of suspension that is caused by those notes being repeated over different roots. Super cool. 

In the second verse, the only real change is the addition of a little sound effect that half mimics the crowd hissing and booing after Tom sings that line. But the chorus just plays out again as the first one did before heading into the bridge. And I just love how brilliantly simple and brilliantly clever this bridge is. It plays a little trick on you where you think the key has changed, but it really hasn’t. The chorus ends on that F# chord and the bridge picks up there so it feels like a full key change up to F#, for two bars, but the key change actually comes in the middle of the bridge. After landing on that F#, we drop to E, so in B major, that’s the 5th dropping to the 4th. But then we step up a full tone again to G# which is the major sixth and not a chord you’d usually pull out at this point, it then drops back down to the F# before resolving back down to the root B. The bass guitar is now playing full 8th notes all the way through and not pulling out on the 2s and 4s. There’s some more sound effects and the electric guitar playing a descending eighth note progression before that key change lift when the mellow synth pad takes a second in the spotlight. 

Alright folks, It’s time for some Petty Trivia! 

Your question from last week was this: In which country did Into The Great Wide Open NOT reach the top ten? Is it a) United Kingdom b) Germany, c) New Zealand, d) Canada

The album was released on July 2nd, 1992, 8 days before my 19th birthday! In the UK, it was the band’s highest charting album, reaching #3 on the British chart. In Canada, the album made it up to #4 and in Germany, the album reached #8. So the answer wasā€¦ New Zealand. The album just fell outside the top ten there, reaching a peak of #12. I do sometimes wonder whether album sales were lower outside the US because the band rarely traveled beyond North America. I was looking on setlist.fm and of the 1307 shows they have catalogued, only 138, or 10.6% of the shows the band played were outside Tom’s home continent. I think I’ve read somewhere that Tom didn’t enjoy flying and if I ever get to speak to Dana Petty, which I’m really hoping to do some time, that’s one thing I definitely want to ask about! 

Sticking with questions of geography, your question for this week is this: In which of the following states did the Heartbreakers play the most often? Is it a) Indiana, b) Ohio, c) Michigan, or d) Georgia?

OK, back to the song. Coming back out of the bridge and into the last verse, we now hear the acoustic guitar playing a really cool double time strumming pattern - it kinda reminds me sonically of the versus in pinball wizard but without Towshend’s almost-off-the-rails manic energy. And there’s all sorts of little extra things being thrown into the mix here. Listen after the line “never heard from no more” there’s a swept synth pad note played there that you never hear in the rest of the song (he says confidently without going back to check). Then there’s another great little surprise in the last chorus. Instead of that straight alternating E-G#m9/F#..., look let’s just call it the G#m9 thing and get on with our lives. I just genuinely don’t know what the heck that chord is. But in this last verse, things get even weirder! That alternation doesn’t happen and instead through the front six bars of the chorus, the root note just keeps climbing while the rest of those notes alternate so you get this sort of odd dissonance that works but feels a bit strange and disconcerting. But damn it’s brilliant! To hear it best, listen to the notes the bass guitar is playing in this chorus versus the previous ones. You’ll really hear that steady climb. The chorus then resolves in the back four bars back to familiar ground, with Benmont playing that piano arpeggio. We hear a repeat of those back four bars and the “Now, right now” section twice more before the song fully resolves back down to the intro progression which ends on the root chord on the last bar of the four. It’s such a satisfying way to end the song after all those suspended chords and weird combinations of root notes and harmony notes. 

Vocally, this is a standout performance on the album for me. And kinda like last week, it’s not a ferocious display of range or power, but it’s a perfectly executed vocal for this song. Tom sits in that almost falsetto range that is actually hard to do than it sounds. His voice is crystal clear. There’s none of the Dylan-esque drawl or the angry young punk coming through here. He’s singing in character, but the character here is detached from the narrative and is merely observing and narrating. So Tom uses a very subtly different vocal to what I’ve come to think of and call his “natural” singing voice. There are also a couple of little Tom-ismsā€¦ he pronounces “assembled” as “assimbled” - which I’m not sure is a Florida thing, it could be, I’ll leave my listeners to clue me in on that one! And I love the way the emphasis is put on the slinger rather than the gun when Tom sings those words. I was thinking there could be a specific reason Tom is stressing one over the other, but I’m pretty certain that in this case it’s just because melodically and rhythmically it’s the only way you can really sing it in this song. The other production choice in this song that really punches it home for me is the lack of any harmonies. Tom’s vocal is doubled in the chorus, but he’s singing the same notes on two different takes, to just add that little bit of width and fullness to that section, but with no harmony, you really get that sense of being told a story directly. Where Into The Great Wide Open is hugely cinematic, this is more narrative in the classical literary sense. And don’t think this isn’t an epic tale. Into The Great Wide Open is actually kinda of a little song in some ways, Two Gunslingers is Homerian in scale.

Let’s get into the lyrics. You can happily sit and listen to this song as a literal tale of two men who are sick of fighting saying “bugger this for a lark” and going for a pint. To me, it’s much, much grander than that. This fire in this song might have come from a single spark of Tom looking at an old movie poster, but there’s an incredible depth here that has crept up on me the more and more I’ve listened to it. Again we get three acts. In the first act we get the gunslingers coming together as adversaries but wearily questioning their fates. The second act sees the crowd gathering and becoming dissatisfied with not getting their pound of flesh. Then the third act sees the two former enemies leave town, possibly together, leaving a void behind them. And that third verse is what makes this song deeper than it appears superficially, for me at least. But let’s start with that first verse. 

Two gunslingers walked out in the street And one said, "I don't want to fight no more"

And the other gunslinger thought about it And he said, "Yeah, what are we fighting for?"

This part IS cinematic, even though I basically said it wasn’t. But it’s also an unbelievably relatable statement at the same time. In 1914, the world went to war for the very first time in the mechanized age. Boys as young as 16 and 17 were sent to the front to be slaughtered in their millions by machine guns and bombs. In December of that year, something incredible happend and the human spirit rose above the orders and the disorder. In the week leading up to December 25th, French, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In some areas, men from both sides ventured into no man's land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carolling. Soldiers, who only weeks before had been mowing each other down in hails of copper and steel, played games of football with one another, creating one of the most memorable images of the truce.

There’s a superb line in a song called All Together Now that always makes me emotional. The line is “A spirit stronger than war was at work that night. December 1914 cold, clear and bright. Countries' borders. Were right out of sight. They joined together And decided not to fight” and I have to tell you listeners, reading that line, or hearing that line, always brings tears to my eyes. It highlights the senseless futility and horror of war. Tom does the same thing in an entirely different way in that first verse. Two men look across their differences and decide not to fight any more. They stop. They change. It’s an incredibly powerful piece of very succinct writing. 

The chorus then cements the resolve of these two men. “I’m taking control of my life” - if we look back to the First World War, scared, lonely young men decided to ignore their orders and find their humanity again, even for just a brief moment. 

Verse two shifts focus away from the combatants and to the observers. And I could and will argue that this is a commentary on the nature of voyeuristic sadism.  

“Well, the crowd that assembled for the gunfight were let down. Everyone hissed and booed. And the stranger told his missus "That's the last one of these gunfights You're ever gonna drag me to" So people in this scene wanted to see bloody violence, probably bloody murder. In an age where so called talent shows have frequently focused on humiliating those deemed untalented. In an age when two men in a steel ring beating each other unconscious while other people pay huge sums to scream and bay for blood is considered mainstream entertainment. In an age where nothing is shocking and everything and anything is for sale, Tom highlights that type of madness by giving us an ambiguous reaction from a specific member of the crowd. And framing it in the context of a bygone era. Public duals, public executions and other grisly artifacts of our primate past aren’t lost to antiquity, they’ve just been rebranded and advertised in newer, cleverer ways. The stranger could be telling his missus that he’s not coming back to the gunfights because he’s sick of the violence, or it could be because this was actually a waste of his time! Either way, it’s another great comment on the human condition. 

So we have verse one setting up the human choice to stop fighting. To say “enough is enough”. Verse two then moves the focus to the bystanders, before verse three, again in my interpretation, pulls the camera out to that 50,000 foot view of humanity as a whole. It’s the line “And there ain't been a gunfight for a long time, Maybe never, but nobody knows for sure”. What this suggests to me is that Tom is talking about old enmity between two groups of people rather than any two actual combatants. Why do people from one race, religion, creed, tribe, or culture really, actually hate people from another. Most younger generations wouldn’t be able to articulate it, especially as the initial grievance becomes further and further removed by decades or centuries. “Nobody knows for sure”. Most of us are lucky enough to have never experienced war and the further it gets from us personally, the more it can seem like a mirage. Modern media makes this more accessible to us but it’s still happening on a 50” screen rather than the other side of the road from us. To me, this means that old enemies, old demons and monsters are much more a part of our cultural identity than they are our immediate reality. And as the gunslingers fade into the distance, which could be time, people forget that there was a fight in the first place. 

In Conversations With Tom Petty, when Tom tells author Paul Zollo that the band were allowed to pick some of their favourites for the Anthology, Paul asks “So Two Gunslingers is one of your favourites?” Tom Responds “Oh definitely. I love that song. I was really proud of that when it got done.” When Paul comments “It’s a funny song, but meaningful.” Tom responds, “Yeh, it’s a really good anti-war song”. Obviously, the humour in the song is that line “That's the last one of these gunfights You're ever gonna drag me to”. In a more playful way, it reminds me of Brian traipsing after his mother in The Life of Brain to attend the stoning. He definitely doesn’t want to be there and can’t wait to get away, but feels this sense of obligation. 

And even if most of what I said previously is probably layering on a depth of meaning that Tom might not have consciously been looking for, I believe that depth is there nonetheless. A great wine or a great bourbon only reveals its true character once it ages a while. And songs can be like that too. 

OK PettyHeads, that’s it for this week! I’ve loved this song from the very first time I heard it. It sits on that top shelf of Tom Petty deep cuts that are easy to overlook, but it has a cool structure with some very interesting chord changes. It has lots of small nooks and crannies that you can find interesting things in and as I’ve outlined, I think it has an incredibly powerful, timeless message to it. When Rick Rubin talks about the song Wildflowers in the Somewhere You Feel Free, he says that, if you don’t analyze it, it’s a song where Tom plays acoustic guitar and sings. Rubin then says “When in reality, maybe 50 different events happen over the course of that song. And those little elements that happen, none of them draw attention to themselves. But its reinforced with these different colours that keep it interesting and compelling and without knowing it makes you want to listen to it over and over again.” Although Two Gunslingers sounds nothing like Wildflowers, I would make the same argument about this song. It’s utterly compelling. It has so many shades and hues of both meaning and musicality that you can listen to this song five times in a row and not get sick of it at all. This one might surprise a few folks, but I’m going to put Two Gunslingers at the top table and give this one an unapologetic 10 out of 10.


Petty Trivia

QUESTION: In which of the following states did the Heartbreakers play the most often? Is it a) Indiana, b) Ohio, c) Michigan, or d) Georgia?

ANSWER: First of all, I think I should have clarified that I wasn’t asking which State Tom played the most gigs in of all the shows he played, because that would have been California, unsurprisingly. But of the four options I gave you, the Heartbreakers played Indiana 27 times between the first gig there in 1978 and their last in 2017. The Heartbreakers first played Georgia on the 30th of November, 1976, which according to Setlist.fm was only their fourth even gig, and returned to the Peach State a further 22 times, for a grand total of 23. In Michigan, the band played the Pine Knob Theatre in Clarkston 13 times and a total of 18 times in venues in other cities for a grand Michigan total of 31. This means that with a grand total of 52 shows, the answer isā€¦.. Ohio. If setlist.fm is correct the Buckeye state first welcomed the Heartbreakers on July 19, 1976, 3 years and 9 days after I was born! As far as I can see, the band returned to Ohio every time they went on tour and had a soft spot for the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls where they played nine times.


Two gunslingers walked out in the street
And one said, "I don't want to fight no more"
And the other gunslinger thought about it
And he said, "Yeah, what are we fighting for?"

I'm takin' control of my life
I'm takin' control of my life
I'm takin' control of my life now
Right now, oh yeah

Well, the crowd that assembled for the gunfight were let down
Everyone hissed and booed and a stranger told his missus
"That's the last one of these gunfights
You're ever gonna drag me to"

I'm takin' control of my life
I'm takin' control of my life
I'm takin' control of my life now
Right now, oh yeah

Well, the two gunslingers went ridin' out of town
And were never heard from no more
And there ain't been a gunfight for a long time
Maybe never, but nobody knows for sure

I'm takin' control of my life
I'm takin' control of my life
I'm takin' control of my life now
Right now, oh yeah
Now, right now, oh yeah
Now, right now, oh yeah