Monday, June 30, 2014

Battle of the Bands ~ I Won't Back Down

For those of you who participate in the IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group), you know that everyone posts on the first Wednesday of the month. If you have considered posting, but haven't for whatever reason, I encourage you to follow the link and sign up. This week the first Wednesday is this Wednesday.

And I fully intend to participate this month since I totally forgot last month and didn't.

But, Battle of the Bands also posts on the 1st and that leaves me with a dilemma. I want to give EVERYONE a chance to find this post and vote before I cover it up with my IWSG post.

So, I am posting Battle of the Bands early AGAIN in an effort to avoid conflict with the IWSG post.

It is my fervent hope that this Battle of the Bands leaves you feeling conflicted about which song is better. I love BOTH versions of this song and feel conflicted about my own vote. Since I do love them both I will do something I normally don't and tell you what I love about each one.

The song is I Won't Back Down. It was a hit for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from their Full Moon Fever album. At the risk of giving away my age (like it is a big secret), I will tell you that I owned this one on cassette tape. I think I wore the tape out on this cassette. Yeah, that means I really liked it. Every track on this one was amazing. Just loved loved loved it. I Won't Back Down might have been my favorite track of all of them. I really liked this song. I still really like this song as recorded by Tom Petty. The lyrics are something I can get behind and the tempo of the song makes you want to rock out. Or maybe wave a sign around. Whatever. Most of you will know it, but here it is...

I think that I heard the Ryan Star cover of this version as background music to a TV show that I like. I honestly cannot recall which one. I do know that I was so enamored of the song that I backed up and watched that section several times so that I could tune out the dialogue and just listen to the song. Then, I searched for it on YouTube. It is a much slower version with a more piano/acoustic feel. It is the metal fist (of the first version) wrapped in a velvet glove. I think what it is going to come down for YOU is if you like it hard and fast or delivered with a more delicate touch.

Here is Ryan Star and I Wont Back Down...

I can imagine the Tom Petty version as the one that brings people to their feet and shake their fist in the air. The Ryan Star version is the one makes people hold up cigarette lighters and might even make a few sentimental souls shed a tear. Like I said earlier... it is a matter of preference... do you like it hard and fast or tender and slow? Yeah, I will be taking notes on your votes since I think this says a lot about you. :D

Tomorrow, the rest of the Battle of the Bands are going to roll out. I hope that you will take a few minutes and visit them. Every single participant posts TOTALLY DIFFERENT MUSIC for their battles and I find that fascinating. Plus, you might discover some really cool tunes you've never heard before!

Seriously please tell me at length what you think about BOTH versions because I love it when you give me long comment. In this case, there really is no *wrong* answer.


  1. That is my favorite Tom Petty song. I love it. I love rolling down my car windows while listening to it on a warm summer evening.

  2. Ryan Star's version is too slow for me, but I do like his voice. I'm voting Tom Petty for this one.

  3. They are really, really different. Star's version was a bit too slow. Have to go with Petty on this one.

  4. I have both versions, but still like TP's better...been a Petty fan for too long to back down.

  5. Forever and Always, Tom Petty, of course.' I Won't Back Down' is one of my favorite songs. A response to the recording industry. . .

    The other choice - too polished, or just not my flavor.

  6. Tom Petty. Been a fan since Damn The Torpedoes.

  7. Well this is looking like another easy win for the original. I think that I must have a terrible sense of what you folks will like....

  8. Very different experience with each of these, but I'm going with Petty. He makes me want to take a stand.

  9. Part 1 Of 2:


    When I saw the song title in my Blogspot Dashboard my first thought was: Oh, Tom Petty Versus Johnny Cash.

    I was stunned to find that the second contestant was this Ryan Star fellow whom I’d never heard of before. I played his version all the way through just to be fair, but as I suspected, this was simply NO CONTEST. (I’m afraid you may have a shutout on your hands here, unless YOU are voting for the underdog.) Star sings it so slow that it sounds as if he’s ALREADY lost the battle and the ghost of Ryan Star is simply recalling his attitude before that bullet found him.

    I think that had you gone with Cash instead of Star you might have had at least some action here, although it wouldn’t have changed MY vote. (For as much as I love Waylon Jennings, some people would probably think me a Johnny Cash fan too. Not so and never was. Cash bores me to death with that monotone singing of his and I consider him the U2 of Country music – so astoundingly overrated that I can’t even wrap my mind around his popularity.)

    I got into Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers with their very first album in 1976 – a great debut! In L.A. the radio stations started playing this song ‘Breakdown’ – it was recorded live somewhere and I liked it IMMEDIATELY – it was so loose it was almost lazy, and Petty’s vocal was really cool. It sounded like a small audience, probably recorded in a small L.A. club on Sunset Strip or something, but the crowd was definitely into it.

    I went right out and bought the album and was actually DISAPPOINTED that the ‘Breakdown’ track on the album was a studio recording and not the (better) live version I’d been hearing on the radio. Soon afterwards the radio stations started playing the studio cut and I never heard that live version ever again. Even The Great LC (the man who has albums like Rockefeller has dollars) did not know the early live version I was referring to. I finally came to the conclusion that it must have been a promo single that Petty’s management team distributed to L.A. radio stations before the album was even released to the public, and after the album came out, the stations switched to the studio single. Too bad because I would LOVE to hear that 1976 live version again, it was very special and Petty never sounded cooler.

    Continued Below...

    1. Part 2 Of 2:

      Robin, if you like Petty and have never seen the 4+ hours documentary ‘Runnin’ Down A Dream’, I strongly recommend it. I’ve seen it all the way through twice, and some segments I’ve watched 3 or 4 times.

      In that documentary, Petty says that he liked Johnny Cash’s version of ‘I Won’t Back Down’ so much that Petty himself was almost sorry he’d recorded it, and wished he’d just given it to Cash from the beginning.

      It’s worth watching the whole documentary just for that one hilarious quip Petty makes about the evils of drug use. Cracks me up every time!

      My all-time favorite Petty song has always been ‘A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me)’. That song should have been a big, big hit but just when it started gaining traction the DJs dropped it and switched over to his duet with Stevie Nicks, ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’. In the documentary, Petty says there was no way the radio stations were going to play two Petty Top 40 hits at the same time, and that’s why they stopped playing ‘A Woman In Love’ and switched to the other.

      Nicks was begging Petty to write a song for her (she was also begging him to let her into The Heartbreakers; she said she’d leave Fleetwood Mac in a heartbeat if she could be one of The Heartbreakers) and so he wrote ‘Insider’ for her. But when it was done he apologized to her and said he couldn’t give it to her because it meant too much to him personally to give it away. So then he wrote ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’ for her instead, and of course it was a massive hit. (All this info comes from the documentary I mentioned.)

      My favorite album has always been ‘Hard Promises’, but his 2010 album ‘Mojo’ is packed with great songs and might even be his best record overall. Pretty amazing for a guy who’d been making music since 1976 to come out with such a strong album so late in his career. (‘Hard Promises’, ‘Damn The Torpedoes’, and ‘Mojo’ are, in my op, the three best TP&TH albums. ‘Full Moon Fever’ is technically considered a Tom Petty solo album, even though a couple of the band members played on some cuts.)

      Oddly, one of Petty’s biggest hits in his career, ‘Free Fallin’’, is a song I have never really cared for. And I wish I had a buck for every time I watched his MTV video for ‘You Got Lucky’ back in ’82 while just drinking a few with the regular crew.

      >>… “Seriously please tell me at length what you think about BOTH versions because I love it when you give me long comment.”

      Well, you axed for it.

      Did you ever see that short story I wrote about a suicide based on the Tom Petty song ‘Something Big’? A couple of my friends were afraid I had really off'd myself in Las Vegas. Now THAT’S intense writing! Ha! Nope. I’m still here. And hopefully tomorrow I’ll get a reply to your last Email written and sent.

      ~ Stephen

    2. Wow. Some interesting stuffs. You know A LOT about Tom Petty. I have always liked him, though I can't say that I am as informed as you are. I think I would enjoy that documentary you mentioned.

      I didn't use the Johnny Cash version because, in my mind, there is no contest there. Johnny Cash doesn't even come close to Tom Petty. I like Ryan Star version because the focus is the lyrics and it really makes me think about them. But, hey, it is clear that I am standing in a very small minority on this one. But, that's okay. I've been in the minority before and I am sure I will be there again.

  10. I can't vote. Either my modem is messed up again or your webpage is. Either way it isn't showing me the videos. That's OK, though. I remember cassette tapes. I also remember going to great lengths to record my albums to cassettes with the meters always just barely into the red to maximize the volume without too much distortion. Then I'd wear those cassettes out and make another when it died.

  11. I have heard several artists sing this song. My favorite is the deep voice of Johnny Cash but of the two artists here I choose Tom Petty! He has that certain raspy to his voice that works for this song.

  12. I guess I have nearly every Tom Petty album--I'm a big fan of his music. His version wins handily for me.

    The second version was way too slow and uneventful for me. I couldn't get into it at all and later when I woke up and it was still playing the same way I decided I was pretty turned off by it.

    Think I'll listen to Petty again to wake me up.

    Tossing It Out

  13. Looks like we're gonna keep rollin' with the shut out. Tom Petty wins by a landslide for me. Slow isn't bad, but Ryan Star's version is just too slow. At a certain point it no longer adds to the emotion, but rather makes it drag on and seem kind of dull. Just my 2 cents.

  14. Robin: I love this segment, but this is the toughest one yet. I knew the Tom Petty version, of course, but I also like the Ryan Star version. Here is why I vote for Tom Petty.

    In my lifetime attempts to achieve peace and harmony, I recognize that conflict is a part of life, and I always attempt to avoid it at all costs. However, in our lives, we must occasionally dig in. The Tom Petty version arrives at that time and his heels are dug in as he approaches the upcoming battle. He cannot be defeated.

    In the Ryan Star version, the singer has already engaged in battle, and not very successfully. However, despite the beating, he cannot be defeated.

    My choice has nothing to do with artistic talent. Like most people, music moves me, and I choose not to believe I can be on the losing end of life's struggles.

    1. Thank you for this explanation. It actually makes PERFECT SENSE to me.

  15. Petty for me. Nothing existential, just waaaay too slow for my tastes.

  16. I'm a HUGE Tom Petty fan, so going in I thought the Ryan Star version is going to have to be spectacular to sway my vote. It was not.

    Normally, I don't read the other comments before I vote, but today I was trying hard to distract myself so I spent a lot of time reading the blogs from my phone (for some reason I cannot comment from the dumb phone, so I had to wait until I opened up the computer- yes, I had to buy a new phone after washing the old one) and I read all of the comments. when I came here, I finished up reading the newer ones.

    I liked the way JJ put it about the two versions. Star does sound defeated although he's not going to give up. I agree that a lot of life is that way and maybe that should mean more to me right now, but I like the spirit of Tom's version better when you put it in the context of JJ's analysis. He's facing a battle where he is convinced he won't be defeated. I have simply got to face life that way.

    Sooo, that and the fact that as I stated right off the bat, I am a huge, Huge, HUGE tom Petty fan; He gets my vote.

    Sorry, I'm not help to the shut-out you've got going here.

    1. I liked JJ's analysis, too. It actually explains a lot about why I like the Ryan Star version so much. Who would've thought I would need someone else to lay it out for me???

      Thanks for voting FAE! I hope you are feeling better.

  17. Tom Petty's version is my favorite. Ryan Star just sounds like he missed his nap. Sorry Robin.


  18. I've always loved Tom Petty's version and never heard Ryan Star's version until right now. And this morning, Ryan's version touched me deeply...loved it!

  19. Thank you Cathrina for giving Ryan Star one vote! It is NO LONGER a shut-out!

  20. I do love Tom Petty's. It seems more like it should be an upbeat song.

  21. Hey Robin! I hope you're doing great!

    Love this TP song -- it would be hard to find a version that could top it, and unfortunately, Ryan Star is nowhere close. He took a song with groove and swagger and turned it into a funeral dirge. And took out the awesome soulful slide guitar that Mike Campbell played, and replaced it with nothing but a a "please kill me now" sense of remorse and desperation in spite of the message of the lyrics.

    So TP and the HBs by a landslide for me.


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