Clips & Pix: Something in the Air

Boy, do I love this catchy tune, and now it’s stuck in my head! I heard it for the first time by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their 1993 Greatest Hits compilation. Because it sounds so much like he could have written it, for a long time, I thought Something in the Air was a Tom Petty song! The original version was first released in May 1969 by Thunderclap Newman, a British band with an intriguing history that involves Pete Townshend who founded and produced them – something I might explore in a separate post. Townshend also played bass on the recording under the alias Bijou Drains. The tune was written by John David Percy “Speedy” Keen, Townshend’s former chauffeur who also penned Armenia in the City, a song The Who included on their 1967 album The Who Sell Out. Something In The Air topped the UK Singles Chart in July 1969 and was the sole no. 1 hit for Thunderclap Newman who only recorded one study album before they disbanded in April 1971.

Since I really dig the Tom Petty cover, here it is, taken from The Live Anthology, released in November 2009. This fantastic box set nicely illustrates that in addition to great original songs, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were a top-notch cover band – a potential fun topic for yet another post!

And, coz’ three make a charm, let’s throw in yet another version of the song that until today I had no idea existed: The Dukes of September. Formed in 2010, this American “supergroup” included Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs. Essentially, it was a revival of The New York Rock and Soul Revue, a music project produced by Fagen’s then-future wife Libby Titus. Led by Fagen, the project involved a series of concerts between 1989 and 1992, which also featured McDonald, Scaggs and various other prominent music artists who performed a mix of their own songs and covers.

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

13 thoughts on “Clips & Pix: Something in the Air”

  1. Die Version von Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers gefällt mir nach wie vor etwas besser, denn sie hat mehr Kraft, wie ich finde. Aber der Song selbst ist wirklich gut und bleibt hängen, auch im Original, und er musste ja erstmal geschrieben werden.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this tune. Good idea for a version post. I did a one-hit-wonder on this one a while back. Good reminder to do another one of those. Let me say that it’s not likely any version will ever replace the Thunderclap Newman version in my affections. I just get a kick out of that falsetto singing and the whole hippie weirdness of it which was perfect for its time. I knew Petty did it but I couldn’t imagine Fagen’s supergroup would do it. That’s a kick. Have you ever read Fagen’s “Eminent Hipsters?” Among other things, an interesting treatise not only on life on the road but also on what life is like touring as Steely Dan vs. well, bands nobody has ever heard of

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That tune literally got stuck in my head!

    I think I prefer the Tom Petty version, though I also dig the original.

    And, nope, I haven’t read “Eminent Hipsters” but imagine it’s intriguing. Fagen seems to be an interesting character.


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