Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Breakdown (Live in France in 1980)

“Breakdown” is one of the great Tom Petty compositions. It’s got a slinky lead guitar riff, and the electric piano gives the song a warmth and soul that just draws you in. “What is this song trying to tell me?” You can’t help but listen. In my mind, it’s all about that Fender Rhodes (or Wurlitzer, as the case may be). That electric piano is gripping.

By this time, the Heartbreakers had turned “Breakdown” into a staple of their live shows. In the live version of the song they “breakdown” towards the end, and Petty goes into an extended vocal rap. Since he’s in France, he even throws in a little French towards the end. Emphasis on “a little”. But the performance is honest and impassioned, and the Fender Rhodes (or Wurlitzer, as the case may be) just sings.

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