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Great B-sides: Girl on LSD by Tom Petty

The late Tom Petty was a brilliant singles artist – he wrote hit after hit of likeable, jangle rock. Contemporaries like Bob Seger and John Mellencamp were popular in America, but didn’t translate to New Zealand radio as easily; Petty’s lovable loser was easy to relate to, and songs like ‘The Waiting’, ‘Even The Losers’, and ‘Free Fallin” still sound great.

While I’m still digesting Petty’s catalogue, my impression is that his albums aren’t as consistently brilliant as his singles. One Petty album that I do enjoy all the way through, however, is 1994’s Wildflowers. It was his second solo album, although his band-mates in The Heartbreakers contribute. It was fuelled by Petty’s recent divorce, and it’s obvious to compare its stripped down, mournful sound with Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks.

There are moments of levity on Wildflowers, like the rock and roll of ‘Honey Bee’, but it makes sense that ‘Girl On LSD’ was relegated to a b-side. The song is effectively a silly rhyming game – Petty going through a list of vices and finding silly couplets.

I was in love with a girl who drank coffee
There were times when I couldn’t keep her off me

‘Girl on LSD’ wouldn’t have worked on the album, but it’s a great b-side – it’s a shame it’s never been released anywhere except for the original single, and fans have been clamouring for a deluxe version of Wildflowers. It makes for a logical thematic juxtaposition with its a-side ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’ with its reference to rolling a joint. That line in ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’ has always fascinated me; I understood that 1993’s ‘Last Dance With Mary Jane’ was about Petty quitting marijuana.

Thank to hanspostcard for pointing out this song.

I was in love with a girl on marijuana
She said, “If I’m not stoned I don’t wanna”
But she got so paranoid
Her place I would avoid
I was in love with a girl on marijuana

I was in love with a girl on cocaine
She had everything going but her brain
We?d talk endlessly for hours
But by morning it’d go sour
I was in love with a girl on cocaine

[Chorus]
Through ecstasy, crystal meth and glue
I found no drug compares to you
With all these pills
And all this weed
I don’t know just what I need

I was in love with a girl on LSD
She’d see things I’d never see
She broadened her perspective
Then I got more selective
I was in love with a girl on LSD

[Chorus]

I was in love with a girl who drank beer
Till bad breath and all she disappeared
She was blowing up real bad
But when she left I was still sad
I was in love with a girl who drank beer

I was in love with a girl on China white
We were married for a year one night
Her memory still lingers
?cause I burned all my fingers
I was in love with a girl on China white

I was in love with a girl who drank coffee
There were times when I couldn’t keep her off me
That caffeine got her goin’
But her ugly side was showin’
I was in love with a girl who drank coffee

I was in love with a girl who was a dealer
I was afraid somebody?d come steal her
We never used to fight
But the phone rang day and night
I was in love with a girl who was a dealer

Sure as hell
She got popped by the big guys

15 thoughts on “Great B-sides: Girl on LSD by Tom Petty Leave a comment

  1. This one I remember. It always reminded me of “Yer So Bad”…just the feel of it. I agree he was more of a singles artist. Full Moon Fever…while many good songs…they sound like a collection of singles than a cohesive album.

    Liked by 1 person

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