Tom Petty – Don’t Come Around Here No More

When I first heard this song in the 1980s…the instrument that stood out was the sitar. I’ve been in love with that instrument since I heard Norwegian Wood. I want one and if I find a cheap one I will get it. One strum and you are back in the sixties and it fit this song well…or this song fits the sitar.

Sitar - Wikipedia

After Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers toured in 1983, they took some time off, and Petty started working with Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics. This was the first song they wrote together, and the psychedelic sound was a big departure from Petty’s work with The Heartbreakers.

Petty released Southern Accents and it was going to be a double album produced by Stewart…but ended up being a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers single album, with Jimmy Iovine producing some songs and Stewart producing others. Personally I never thought this song fit with most of the other songs but I liked the album all the same.

Even in the 80s I wasn’t in love with videos after a few years but…this one I loved. It remains one of my favorite music videos.

The song peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100, #20 in Canada, #50 in the UK, and #42 in New Zealand in 1985.

From Songfacts

Stewart tells the full glorious story in The Dave Stewart Songbook, but here are the highlights: Eurythmics had a huge hit with “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” and became a phenomenon in the United States. They played the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, and Stewart met Stevie Nicks backstage after the show. She had broken up with Joe Walsh the day before, so she took Stewart home with her and they had a romantic encounter. The next morning, Stevie kicked him out, and Stewart flew to San Francisco for his next gig. After the show, he used a Portastudio to create a track using a drum machine, a synthesizer and a sitar. Reflecting on the last 24 hours, Stewart says: “I really liked Stevie and she seemed vulnerable and fragile when I was leaving that morning. I was thinking about that and the situation she was in and I started singing, ‘Don’t come around her no more.'”

A few days later Stewart was staying with producer Jimmy Iovine, who was working on Stevie’s Bella Donna album. Stewart played him his demo, and they started writing the song for Stevie. Stewart didn’t know that Nicks and Iovine were once a couple, and when she came over to record the song, tensions boiled over and she left in a huff. Iovine decided to give Tom Petty the song, and had him come by, where they finished it up. Petty and Nicks had worked with Iovine on the duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” which went on Stevie’s album, so it was only fair that Petty got this one.

The video used an Alice In Wonderland theme, which was Stewart’s idea – it reflected how he felt coming to Los Angeles. It was directed by Jeff Stein, who used a black-and-white tiled background and oversized, elaborate costumes starring Tom Petty as the Mad Hatter. Stewart appears in the beginning of the video playing the sitar on a giant mushroom. At the end, the girl becomes a cake and is eaten by the band, something that caused enough of a stir that they created a version where she doesn’t get eaten. The video was a huge hit on MTV, helping introduce Petty to a younger audience and building anticipation for his next videos. (Read our interview with Dave Stewart.)

MTV ordered a shot of a grinning Petty while Alice gets served edited out of the video before they would air it. “They said it was just too lascivious,” he told Billboard. “They were like, ‘Well, you can do it, but you can’t enjoy it that much.'”

Louise “Wish” Foley plays Alice in the video. At the casting call, she was dressed demure, like Alice would, while the other girls auditioning (mostly models) were to the nines. Foley went on to land roles in the TV series Santa Barbara and Family.

Don’t Come Around Here No More

Don’t come around here no more
Don’t come around here no more
Whatever you’re looking for
Hey! don’t come around here no more

I’ve given up, I’ve given up
I’ve given up on waiting any longer
I’ve given up, on this love getting stronger

I don’t feel you any more
you darken my door
Whatever you’re looking for
Hey! don’t come around here no more

I’ve given up, I’ve given up
I’ve given up, you tangle my emotions
I’ve given up, honey please admit it is over

[Chorus]

Stop walking down my street
Who do you expect to meet?
Whatever you’re looking for
Hey! don’t come around here no more