How A Single Song “Ruined” Tom Petty’s Perfect Album
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers - Bert van der Waal van Dijk / Youtube
In spite of the positive reception and new fans that “Full Moon Fever” earned for Tom Petty, the singer felt there were a few things about the album that needed improvement. Fans of the song might be surprised to know that Petty told Rolling Stone in 2017 that there was one track that destroyed his otherwise flawless debut album.
“It’s funny, sometimes, ten years later, I like something I didn’t like before or vice versa,” Petty expressed. “But I hate ‘Zombie Zoo.’ I do not understand how that got on the record in 1989’s ‘Full Moon Fever,’ when I had better stuff that didn’t get on the record.”
“What frame of mind produced that? I don’t understand. Because normally, I would have thrown that away. God knows we’ve thrown away far better. That was nearly a perfect album until the very end,” he added. Tom still felt bad about having the song on his first album, even though a lot of time had elapsed since its release.
In spite of its laid-back demeanor, the Full Moon Fever sessions produced innovative results. The album was recorded primarily in lead guitarist Mike Campbell’s garage studio, with Petty, Campbell, drummer Phil Jones, and producer Jeff Lynne (who played bass and subtle textural keyboards) laying down the bulk of the initial tracks. The rest of the Heartbreakers and two of Petty’s fellow Travelling Wilburys also contributed. On the opening 45 of the LP, “I Won’t Back Down,” George Harrison played guitar and supplied decisive vocal harmonies, while Roy Orbison made a brief appearance on the eccentric rocker “Zombie Zoo.”