Why Tom Petty Defended Bob Dylan Against Bruce Springsteen

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In 1988, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne formed the supergroup Traveling Wilburys. After recording their first song, ‘Handle With Care,’ they decided to record an entire album and released ‘Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1.’

The Traveling Wilburys received great appreciation for the rest of their career, consisting of singer-songwriters with different music approaches. In their ‘Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1.’ album, one song is known as a parody or tribute to Bruce Springsteen‘s early songs. Due to that song, Bob Dylan received criticism, and Tom Petty felt the need to defend him.

Tom Petty Said Bob Dylan Didn’t Mock Bruce Springsteen

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The songwriting credit for ‘Tweeter And The Monkey Man’ belongs to all members of Traveling Wilburys, but the song was mainly written by Bob Dylan and published by his label. It is often regarded as a playful tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s songs, as the lyrics include references to Springsteen’s song titles and themes.

The setting of ‘Tweeter And The Monkey Man’ is New Jersey, which is Springsteen’s home state and the location for many of his songs. Moreover, the song title references in ‘Tweeter And The Monkey Man’ include ‘Mansion On The Hill,’ ‘The Factory,’ ‘The River,’ ‘Thunder Road,’ and more.

As ‘Tweeter And The Monkey Man’ has many references to Bruce Springsteen, some fans thought Traveling Wilburys was poking fun at Springsteen. However, in an interview with Rolling Stone, Tom Petty revealed that they weren’t trying to mock anyone, and Bob Dylan meant this song as praise.

Although some believed that the song ‘Tweeter And The Monkey Man’ was an ironic song that aimed to mock Springsteen’s musical efforts, the reality was different. Bob Dylan intended to praise Springsteen’s talent rather than mock him, according to Tom Petty.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Tom Petty said the following:

“We weren’t trying to mock anybody. Dylan said he wanted to set a song in New Jersey and use references to Springsteen songs. He meant it as praise.

You can listen to ‘Tweeter And The Monkey Man’ below.