SotD: Lone Justice, “Ways To Be Wicked”

I’ve been listening to a decent amount of Petty over the last 10 days. It’s fair to say I’ve had a stronger reaction to his death than I might have expected. Today we get one he co-wrote with fellow Heartbreaker Mike Campbell for someone else.

I first heard of Lone Justice when they got a coveted opening slot on the North American leg of U2’s Unforgettable Fire tour. Their self-titled debut disk came out around that time, and this song–its first single–got airplay on the album rock station in Lexington that summer of 85 and reached #71 on the pop charts. It was maybe three years before I got hold of the CD; while the production is probably a little too slick, their country-rock mix and Maria McKee’s vocals are just my style. The other single, “Sweet, Sweet Baby (I’m Falling),” is a complete stunner.

Despite the buzz and rave reviews, the album wasn’t that big a success. This led to a substantial turnover in personnel and accompanying change of musical direction for the second–and final–album.   A world in which the first iteration of LJ became a mega-success is one in which I’d want to reside.

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