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Album: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Avg rating:
7.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1586









Released: 1993
Length: 3:25
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Well, she was an American girl
Raised on promises
She couldn't help thinking that
There was a little more to life
Somewhere else

After all it was a great big world
With lots of places to run to
Yeah, and if she had to die
Tryin', she
Had one little promise she was gonna keep

Oh yeah, alright
Take it easy, baby
Make it last all night ''(make it last all night)''
She was an American girl

Well, it was kind of cold that night
She stood alone on the balcony
Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by
Out on 441 like
Waves crashing on the beach

And for one desperate moment there
He crept back in her memory
God, it's so painful when something that's so close
Is still so far out of reach

Oh yeah, alright
Take it easy, baby
Make it last all night ''(make it last all night)''
She was an American girl
Comments (175)add comment
 Sasha2001 wrote:
Folks, it's not rocket science; if a song makes a critical mass of people want to get out of their seats, move around, and sing along its probably a pretty good song. If that same song makes a critical mass of people want to do those same things after 35 years it's probably a classic.

Petty never pretended that he was reinventing the wheel, but if writing lyrical hooks and catchy guitar licks is so easy, why isn't every musician doing it? The reason he's so good is because he's done it so often and for so many years. If you don't like him that's your right, but stop trying to refute his greatness, it's a fucking waist of time. 
 
And a waste of time, too! 
 ace-marc wrote:
 Laptopdog wrote:

Sorry, dstehle, you needed one more explanation point for your post to be taken seriously.

I think he means Tom Petty is probably the most over-rated artist of our time. 
Just slightly better than Huey Lewis.
And although Peter Gabriel is amazing, he does have some stinkers. 

 

I think your taste in music is over-rated. Do you see how ridiculous your statement is now? It's music!
 dstehle wrote:
Enough Tom Petty! And Peter Gabriel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Hasn’t been that much Tom Petty over the last 6 years.

Peter Gabriel OTOH… we’re still being forced to listen to his extensive collection. 
I work on 441. AKA SR7..my claim to fame
 ace-marc wrote:
 Laptopdog wrote:

Sorry, dstehle, you needed one more explanation point for your post to be taken seriously.

I think he means Tom Petty is probably the most over-rated artist of our time. 
Just slightly better than Huey Lewis.
And although Peter Gabriel is amazing, he does have some stinkers. 

 
Overplayed perhaps, but there's a big difference between that and over-rated. Petty remained popular because he wrote and performed great music...the fact that his music then got overplayed on commercial radio is an unfortunate but inevitable result of talent and fame and hardly to be laid at Petty's feet as if he was to "blame". 
The fact that my 9 year old, who has never been exposed to commercial radio and the woes of overplaying loves loves loves Petty, as did my mom till her dying days in her 80s,  as much as I do tells me more about his music than any hackneyed complaints about him being overrated. :) 
 Laptopdog wrote:

Sorry, dstehle, you needed one more explanation point for your post to be taken seriously.

I think he means Tom Petty is probably the most over-rated artist of our time. 
Just slightly better than Huey Lewis.
And although Peter Gabriel is amazing, he does have some stinkers. 

 dstehle wrote:
Enough Tom Petty! And Peter Gabriel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Sorry, dstehle, you needed one more explanation point for your post to be taken seriously.
Rock & Roll...
Sadly, I now think of 2 deceased people when I hear this song; an old friend's mom (who died way too young) and Tom Petty, who was a bit older yet still too young.  LONG LIVE RP, and all the aging rockers!!
 Sasha2001 wrote:
Folks, it's not rocket science; if a song makes a critical mass of people want to get out of their seats, move around, and sing along its probably a pretty good song. If that same song makes a critical mass of people want to do those same things after 35 years it's probably a classic.

Petty never pretended that he was reinventing the wheel, but if writing lyrical hooks and catchy guitar licks is so easy, why isn't every musician doing it? The reason he's so good is because he's done it so often and for so many years. If you don't like him that's your right, but stop trying to refute his greatness, it's a fucking waist of time. 

 
Amen!  Not to mention that Tom Petty managed to tour and put out new albums over a 40 year career and never had to resort to becoming an oldies act.  Like you said, if that's such an easy, simple thing, where are all these other bands that can make the same claim?
 haljordan wrote:
Such a well constructed song. Truly excellent.

 
Agreed.
Saw him touring this album in '77, loved it then and still do.
I had a girlfriend with that same haircut once. She was an American Girl.


just shot it up to 10
Super Rocker
(always vision that young woman in "Silence of the Lambs" pounding her steering wheel and lovin' it!)
Such a well constructed song. Truly excellent.
Tom Petty, we lost you a few days ago as of this writing.

Saw you perform at the Cow Palace in Daly City, CA on Friday, April 26, 1981, along with Stevie Nicks.
I was with my best friend Greg.  We had a blast.

It was an amazing show, and it made a huge impression on me as a young man.
It was a loud and large crowd and a raucous time. 
We were standing on our chairs, but eventually tried to get closer to the stage.
We got up close and were right there in it for most of the show.
It was pretty intense being that close to the stage.

Some people were doing hard drugs and drinking and it was creating a problem because some were having a very bad time with it and becoming violent, marring the experience.

My friend and I got ejected along with many others because some people were fighting, which was a drag because we were peaceful and got caught up in it while heading for the exit to have a smoke.  We were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

We could still hear the show from the parking lot since it was SO LOUD, and we hung out with others who had been kicked out without cause, and made some new friends.  It was a good time, and we didn't miss any of the show.

For me, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were rock and roll.  They defined my brand of rock that I enjoyed the most.

The song "American Girl" is a classic.
It reminds me of The Byrds and of my time living in California.
It brings back good memories of friends and happy times.

I hope others share their memories of going to see band play live.
I would love to hear what others experienced.

Happy 4th of July, all you American Girls (& Guys).
And may God help us all if Trump is the next Commander in Chief (then Petty's "Fooled Again" would be the appropriate song).

~ 10-3-17 ~ Farewell, Tom.  : (
 Sasha2001 wrote:
Folks, it's not rocket science; if a song makes a critical mass of people want to get out of their seats, move around, and sing along its probably a pretty good song. If that same song makes a critical mass of people want to do those same things after 35 years it's probably a classic.

Petty never pretended that he was reinventing the wheel, but if writing lyrical hooks and catchy guitar licks is so easy, why isn't every musician doing it? The reason he's so good is because he's done it so often and for so many years. If you don't like him that's your right, but stop trying to refute his greatness, it's a fucking waist of time. 

 
In Petty's case that would be 33L I believe.  BTW, I'm a fan.



I still love the first two Petty efforts. There are many gems on those two disks
Folks, it's not rocket science; if a song makes a critical mass of people want to get out of their seats, move around, and sing along its probably a pretty good song. If that same song makes a critical mass of people want to do those same things after 35 years it's probably a classic.

Petty never pretended that he was reinventing the wheel, but if writing lyrical hooks and catchy guitar licks is so easy, why isn't every musician doing it? The reason he's so good is because he's done it so often and for so many years. If you don't like him that's your right, but stop trying to refute his greatness, it's a fucking waist of time. 
 Webfoot wrote:
. . . Great song too!
 
Agreed. Surprised so many don't like it.
 MusiqueMusique wrote:
Great songwriter, great album, terrible song. "She was un Uh-meh-rickan ga-hurl"

 
Well, it was kind of cold that night
She stood alone on the balcony
Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by
Out on 441 like
Waves crashing on the beach
And for one desperate moment there
He crept back in her memory
God, it's so painful when something that's so close
Is still so far out of reach

 

Great song too!


Lotsa clueless hate on this one.

is that part that sounds like FLC's "big night out" riff from a well known song? or did FLC just steal it from Petty?


no, no, no, and NO. The PSD was better, but you are a spoiler with all the other great music you play.
Great songwriter, great album, terrible song. "She was un Uh-meh-rickan ga-hurl"
NOT ONE OF TOM'S BEST SO OF COURSE IT WAS A MAJOR HIT.......{#Sleep}
Now THAT, is rock n roll!
Anyone who doesn't love Petty can leave the room!!
Enough Tom Petty! And Peter Gabriel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 TJS wrote:
I'll never get sick of this song.

 
What's gotten into Bill?  He used to never play Tom Petty!  Now he plays him quite often.  He's even warming up to Sheryl Crow a little. I ain't complainin' though.
I'll never get sick of this song.

Everybody in my church loves this song...

 
 milleronic wrote:
All the bubbas in my head love this song!

 
All the bubbas in my family love this song!
All the bubbas in my head love this song!
Needed this, the last set was putting me to sleep.
Petty is often good for what ails ya!
Always will love the Byrds-influenced Rickenbacker sound, no matter how many times I hear this great song!! {#Bananajam} 
No doubt Petty's roots are in the Byrds. however, this is  a classic.
 Bat wrote:

When Roger McGuinn comes on they also say "hey, that's Tom Petty".
 
When early Dylan comes on some may say "Hey, that's Roger McGuinn", or "Hey, that's Tom Petty" - depending on their ages.
Turn it up, way up!!!
 lovemydog wrote:

"Was she a big fat person?"  {#Biggrin}
 
Many creepy lines in "Silence of the Lambs." Had a classmate in monetary theory who sounded exactly like Buffalo Bob when he talks to the Senator's daughter, imprisoned in his basement: "It has to put the lotion in the basket." 

There have been sequels and prequels to that movie, and Anthony Hopkins has cashed in by taking on other urbane-psychopath roles, but SotL was an instant classic. 

 haljordan wrote:
DO NOT HELP HIM GET THAT SOFA INTO THE VAN!!!
 
hahaha!! Just thinking 'bout that scene
 Bat wrote:

When Roger McGuinn comes on they also say "hey, that's Tom Petty".
 
If they're idiots.

DO NOT HELP HIM GET THAT SOFA INTO THE VAN!!!
It's a bicentennial song.
Heh. Tom Petty told Michelle Bachmann to quit using this song.
 Bat wrote:
When Roger McGuinn comes on they also say "hey, that's Tom Petty".
 Oh, you are a wicked Bat!

 fatcatjb wrote:
when Tom Petty goes on, one always knows just who the heck it is. I discovered Mudcrutch/Crystal River on RP. When I play it for people, they know immediately who it is..."hey, that's Tom Petty"

in such a crowded market, it's great to have your very own deal 
 
When Roger McGuinn comes on they also say "hey, that's Tom Petty".
Sweet sweet memories. Whew!
I wish I could go back. 
Nicely put, fatcatjb.
when Tom Petty goes on, one always knows just who the heck it is. I discovered Mudcrutch/Crystal River on RP. When I play it for people, they know immediately who it is..."hey, that's Tom Petty"

in such a crowded market, it's great to have your very own deal 
I was at a Tom Petty show one time and my wife was working at the venue.  She worked for the box office and had a desk on the concourse where she would answer questions and help people with problems with their tickets or their seats.  I had seen Tom a bunch of times by then so I spent most of the show hanging out with her.  Early in the show a woman came to the desk.  She was in her 40s and was bawling her eyes out.  "I can't see Tom Petty from my seat!!"  I told her I had seen Tom up close and she was better off just listening.
This song is timeless, an American classic.{#Dancingbanana_2}
 redeyespy wrote:


You cite its definitive cinematic use, though I liked how it played during the first day of school montage in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, too.
 

showing my youth here, but hearing this song always reminds me of its use in the Scrubs episode "My American Girl" in which Elliot undergoes a Grease-style makeover in the end
I don't hate TP...but I am amazed how popular he is. I think he's very mediocre. Greatly mediocre in every way... h8rhater wrote:
  raelic wrote:
No artist on the face of God's green earth makes me scratch my head in bewilderment quite as much as Tom Petty. Nursery rhyme quality lyrics backed with major chord ploddery, played and sung with all the verve of a hippopotamus trampling on an orchid.
 
"gods green earth", "bewilderment", "major chord ploddery", "verve", and "a hippopotamus trampling on an orchid".  The d-baggery is strong in this one.  You go... tool.
 


  raelic wrote:
No artist on the face of God's green earth makes me scratch my head in bewilderment quite as much as Tom Petty. Nursery rhyme quality lyrics backed with major chord ploddery, played and sung with all the verve of a hippopotamus trampling on an orchid.
 
"gods green earth", "bewilderment", "major chord ploddery", "verve", and "a hippopotamus trampling on an orchid".  The d-baggery is strong in this one.  You go... tool.

 Pharlap wrote:
can't help but thinking of the scene in "Silence of the Lambs", where the senator's daughter is driving in her car, this tune on her radio, just before she meets up with "Buffalo Bill".
 
"Was she a big fat person?"  {#Biggrin}

When Tom gets it right he's really, really good..... Pity about the rest of the time though.



{#Cool}
 gormeister wrote:
perfection.
 
Agree. I don't think he's ever topped this. It's a song that I have to sing along to no matter where I am. Even sitting here at my cube with others listening {#Dance}
Pharlap wrote:
can't help but thinking of the scene in "Silence of the Lambs", where the senator's daughter is driving in her car, this tune on her radio, just before she meets up with "Buffalo Bill".
You cite its definitive cinematic use, though I liked how it played during the first day of school montage in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, too.
can't help but thinking of the scene in "Silence of the Lambs", where the senator's daughter is driving in her car, this tune on her radio, just before she meets up with "Buffalo Bill".
Hannio wrote:
Ah! Yes, I too am much too erudite and my musical palate much too refined to be able to enjoy this song.
LOL! Excellent!
:roflol:
saweeeet! he rocked the superbowl halftime show!! :guitarist:
raelic wrote:
No artist on the face of God's green earth makes me scratch my head in bewilderment quite as much as Tom Petty. Nursery rhyme quality lyrics backed with major chord ploddery, played and sung with all the verve of a hippopotamus trampling on an orchid.
Ah! Yes, I too am much too erudite and my musical palate much too refined to be able to enjoy this song.
Mewsique wrote:
I like American girl.. :cheesygrin:
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steeler wrote:
Love the beginning.
Beginning, middle & end!
I like American girl.. :cheesygrin:
sdn wrote:
Does Tom Petty have some sort of chronic nasal blockage that makes him sing that way?
don't know, but he dindn't sound to bad wen he was with Bob en the boys on Traveling Wilbury's. I liked the combination... :guitarist:
Does Tom Petty have some sort of chronic nasal blockage that makes him sing that way?
perfection.
This is really Tom Petty? I didn't recognise him! :confused:
Take it easy baby. Make it last all night.
Oh yeah, alright
Love the beginning.
Marr wrote:
My wife used to love this song. But now she always thinks of that scene and gets creeped out.
It puts the lotion on its skin, or it gets the hose again Precious :eek:
Nothin' wrong with a little Petty on 'our time' daveesh wrote:
SCprof wrote:
Actually?
No, its an urban legend. You can look it up on Snopes.com.
missbadonkadonk wrote:
did you actually know that this song was actually wrote about a girl that jumped off a building at the university of Florida in Gainesville where Tom petty is actually from..and if you look at the lyrics, it talks about 441..but yeah, i knew i loved this song for a reason
Actually?
:motor:
raelic wrote:
Nursery rhyme quality lyrics backed with major chord ploddery, played and sung with all the verve of a hippopotamus trampling on an orchid.
You like him too, eh? :cowboy:
that break thingy is the same as the one in "supermodels on my d" by the fun lovin criminals. How is that?
It's only rock'n'roll, but I like it! :guitarist:
a boy in italy once sang this to me :angel: .
A classic song. No question about it.
did you actually know that this song was actually wrote about a girl that jumped off a building at the university of Florida in Gainesville where Tom petty is actually from..and if you look at the lyrics, it talks about 441..but yeah, i knew i loved this song for a reason
daveesh wrote:
Deewwwwwd!!!
Love this song and most of the others off his first 2 albums. Breakdown, You're Gonna Get It, Fooled Again, Listern to Her Heart; the list goes on. Simple, catchy pop, with an edge.
Ahh....back at the beginning, when TP actually mattered and knew how to rock - a lot of junk since Refugee.
penumbra wrote:
One hit wonder, who will never stand the test of time.
:roflol:
One of Petty's best...really stands the test of time. Very danceable too. But IMHO I think that Petty is a musical genious and love pretty much everything he has put out. However, I believe this was one of his first songs and one of his best. Long live Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers!
queenjill wrote:
Since when is girl a bad word? Who says he's generalizing about a certain group? It sounds to me as those he's singing about one American GIRL in particular. Besides -- "American Woman" was already taken.
Yes, very good point. :biggrin:
MickMan wrote:
Since when is girl a bad word? Who says he's generalizing about a certain group? It sounds to me as those he's singing about one American GIRL in particular. :chillpill:
Besides -- "American Woman" was already taken.
otto63 wrote:
Never quite liked him. He was always too american for use outside the U.S. God Bless Europe!
He's too American for some of us right here in the good ol' US of A.
raelic wrote:
No artist on the face of God's green earth makes me scratch my head in bewilderment quite as much as Tom Petty. Nursery rhyme quality lyrics backed with major chord ploddery, played and sung with all the verve of a hippopotamus trampling on an orchid.
Well put...
Pablo13 wrote:
At last i now know where the song the female victim is singing along to in her car (Silence of the Lambs)comes from.
My wife used to love this song. But now she always thinks of that scene and gets creeped out.
penumbra wrote:
One hit wonder, who will never stand the test of time.
:eek: serious or are you punkin' us? (one hit?) :eyes:
At last i now know where the song the female victim is singing along to in her car (Silence of the Lambs)comes from.
plutodazed wrote:
Although I give the song a high rating, I also rate it (unofficially) a 2 or a 3 because it is quite the mainstream song, and it shouldn't be played on RP.
Since when were 'eclectic' and 'mainstream' mutually exclusive? Also, please remember that what might be mainstream in the USA isn't always mainstream in the other parts of the world where RP has listeners.
One hit wonder, who will never stand the test of time.
There is enough Tom Petty outside RP to bring it here. Overplayed. :yawn:
you gotta dance to this one, with crazy flailing arms and jazzy kicks and head rolls!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here I go..........
Tom has been making music for over 30 years and yet this song which he wrote almost at the very beginning of his career is one of my very favourites. Have you ever seen Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers in concert. It is worth every penny you pay to see him....and I have to come to the States to see him!
otto63 wrote:
Never quite liked him. He was always too american for use outside the U.S. God Bless Europe!
I think he once sang, "You can tell the whole wide world to shove it".
otto63 wrote:
Never quite liked him. He was always too american for use outside the U.S. God Bless Europe!
Ποιο ηλίθιο σχόλιο....in other words, what a insipid comment. Blessings for EVERYBODY on this tiny little planet! Namaste! :group-hug:
otto63 wrote:
Never quite liked him. He was always too american for use outside the U.S. God Bless Europe!
well then. poor you. :guitarist:
Never quite liked him. He was always too american for use outside the U.S. God Bless Europe!
Stanford's Mixed Company did a great a capella version of this a few years ago. Is rock a capella like that RP fodder?
raelic wrote:
No artist on the face of God's green earth makes me scratch my head in bewilderment quite as much as Tom Petty. Nursery rhyme quality lyrics backed with major chord ploddery, played and sung with all the verve of a hippopotamus trampling on an orchid.
He sure plays a mean Rikenbacker!
No artist on the face of God's green earth makes me scratch my head in bewilderment quite as much as Tom Petty. Nursery rhyme quality lyrics backed with major chord ploddery, played and sung with all the verve of a hippopotamus trampling on an orchid.
catmaven wrote:
Love so many Tom Petty songs. But this one . . . the instrumentation is actually great, but the singing isn't . . . and no surprise, I'm vexed by the title's generalization about a certain group, and I hate it when they put in the word "girl." OTOH, I am equal opportunity: I also couldn't stand "Skater Boy" (a.k.a. "Sk8er Boi" or some such). Ambivalent because the instrumentation os so good. :confused:
Seeing as how TP was probably 18 or 19 when he wrote this song, I think maybe we can forgive him for using the word girl. Since when is girl a bad word? Who says he's generalizing about a certain group? It sounds to me as those he's singing about one American GIRL in particular. :chillpill:
Roverfish wrote:
Certainly worked in "Silence of the Lambs"... 8O Decent tune from Mr. Petty.
That's funny! that's what I always think of too! "It puts the lotion in the basket..." Great song in an otherwise creepy movie.....
I've always been a fan of his music. For some reason, I play this song first when I set out on a road trip. Great stuff!
Love so many Tom Petty songs. But this one . . . the instrumentation is actually great, but the singing isn't . . . and no surprise, I'm vexed by the title's generalization about a certain group, and I hate it when they put in the word "girl." OTOH, I am equal opportunity: I also couldn't stand "Skater Boy" (a.k.a. "Sk8er Boi" or some such). Ambivalent because the instrumentation os so good. :confused:
plutodazed wrote:
Although I give the song a high rating, I also rate it (unofficially) a 2 or a 3 because it is quite the mainstream song, and it shouldn't be played on RP.
I agree.
plutodazed wrote:
Although I give the song a high rating, I also rate it (unofficially) a 2 or a 3 because it is quite the mainstream song, and it shouldn't be played on RP.
But it became "mainstream" for a reason-- because it was good! A little familiarity now and then in the mix isn't so bad. :guitarist: :drummer: :dancingbanana: