Jammin Me: Bob Dylan working with Tom Petty and Mike Campbell

By Tony Attwood

Jammin Me is not recognised by BobDylan.com as a Dylan song, but he certainly was one of the three co-writers.  It was released on the Heartbreakers album “Let me Up (I’ve had enough)” and as a single.

Mike Campbell in an interview said that he wrote the track, gave it to Tom Petty who then did nothing with it for a while and then had some extra lyrics added by Dylan.  Campbell in fact suggests,  “I guess they were picking words out of a newspaper or off the television” which is certainly one way of working…

“I wasn’t there when Bob wrote the words to it, but I was pretty thrilled to hear that he had contributed to it. We just went in and recreated the demo to it.

Heylin suggests that lines such as “Take back your acid rain, let your TV bleed” and “Take back your Iranian torture and the apple in young Steve’s eye,” sound very much like Dylan contributions.

According to Rolling Stone the song is about a man, “overwhelmed by the volume of disconnected news generated in the disinformation age”.   Indeed the album’s theme is generally agreed to be about people “who are reeling from media assaults and shattered relationships”, but who still want to hold on and make some sense of it all.

As to who wrote what, Tom Petty said that Bob wrote the verse about Eddie Murphy.  He also suggested that Eddie Murphy didn’t appreciate the commentary, although Tom Petty said that there was nothing personal in this – it was just about the total media overload.

The song and the album became a hit and received positive reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone.

The song has a real Tom Petty feel – you only have to hear those chords to know who is going to be performing and how it’s going to go.  Here are the lyrics and there is a link to the song below.

You got me in a corner
You got me against the wall
I got nowhere to go
I got nowhere to fallTake back your insurance
Baby nothin’s guaranteed
Take back your acid rain
Baby let your tv bleed

You’re jammin’ me, you’re jammin’ me
Quit jammin’ me
Baby you can keep me
Painted in a corner
You can look away but it’s not over

Take back your angry slander
Take back your pension plan
Take back your ups and
Downs of your life
In raisin land

Take back Vanessa Redgrave
Take back Joe Piscopo
Take back Eddie Murphy
Give ’em all someplace to go

Take back your Iranian torture
And the apple in young Steve’s eye
Yeah, take back your losing streak
Check your front wheel drive

Take back Pasadena
Take back El Salvador
Take back that country club
They’re tryin’ to build outside my door

The song, from 1986 fits into the Dylan compositions of the period like this

What else is on the site

You’ll find an index to our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.

The index to the 500+ songs reviewed is now on a new page of its own.  You will find it here.

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And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews


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