Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s Benmont Tench, Sgt. Pepper’s 50th Anniversary & Opinions on Benjamin Booker

Benmont Tench

Keyboard player Benmont Tench was instrumental in the formation of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1976. He's also had a fruitful career as a consummate sideman and session musician, working with artists like Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, U2, Johnny Cash, and more. Tench joins Jim and Greg for some lively conversation about his successful career in music. Plus, a reappraisal of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as it turns 50, and a review of the new album from soul-rocking singer and guitarist Benjamin Booker.

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Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band The Beatles

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

A half-century has passed since America first heard The Beatles' eighth album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The anniversary, along with a new remix of the album, has meant a deluge of nostalgia and media coverage. No doubt the album is important for its advancement of concept albums and studio production, but removed from the hype does the album hold up? Jim and Greg gave the album a fresh listen. For Greg, the album is about "sound over songs." While innovative, this is not The Beatles at their songwriting best. He says it is "whimsical" and "charming" and if a new band put Sgt. Pepper's out today, he'd say Try It. Jim, thinks the album's praise is based too much on the context of the political and social atmosphere of 1967 and when removed from that context, the album doesn't hold up. Jim says the song writing is very conservative and the album is largely a "mess." That said, Jim says Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! and A Day In The Life makes the album a Try It.

Witness Benjamin Booker


Greg notes that Benjamin Booker's sound was initially inspired by the question of what would it sound like "if Otis Redding strapped on an electric guitar and played in a punk band?" The resulting debut album, released in 2014, got the attention of fellow artists like Jack White. Witness is Benjamin Booker's second album, which finds him "inspired by the Black Matter Movement, and by America's changing attitudes in the era of Trump" according to Jim. Witness experiments with punk rock, glam rock, and rhythm and blues. Jim loves "the fire in his guitar" and "the vocals", and for Jim, the album is a buy it. Greg says that the album is "terse" and "direct" that "broaden[s] his scope both musically and lyrically". For Greg, the record is a buy it, as well.

Benmont Tench

Benmont Tench is one of the most prolific keyboardists in rock and roll, and his iconic organ solos on songs like "Refugee" make him the understated driving force of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers since its inception in 1976. Aside from his success with the Heartbreakers, he's found a fruitful career as a sideman and session musician for artists like Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Johnny Cash and others. Also, he released his first and only solo album in 2014, You Should Be So Lucky. Tench joins Jim and Greg for a candid and funny conversation about his experiences in the music business, the genesis of the Heartbreakers and much more. He also gives an exclusive live performance of a track off his solo record.

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