Tom Petty – Here Comes My Girl

This song was on Tom Petty’s third album Damn the Torpedoes.

This was written the same week as “Refugee.” Both songs started as demos written by Heartbreakers guitar player Mike Campbell on a 4-track recorder in his house…Petty liked both and they finished them off…not a bad week when you get these two songs. Petty later said the chorus was inspired by The Byrds.

The song peaked at #59 in the Billboard 100, #82 in Canada, and #41 in New Zealand in 1980. I would have bet that it charted higher than that.

Mike Campbell:  “It’s very similar to “Refugee” – those two were written the same week. I made some demos and Tom liked those two. “Here Comes My Girl” was interesting because we had the chorus and Tom wasn’t sure how to do the verse, he kept trying to sing it different ways and he finally came across sort of half-talking it, and that’s when the song seemed to come to life.”

Tom Petty: “I struggled with that song for a little while.” “I felt, ‘I have to learn this thing. I’m not going to let it get away from me. And then I got the idea for the narration. And once I started that, it started falling into place.”

From Songfacts

In this song, Petty keeps getting torched by a girl, but he keeps going back to her, as he can’t resist her charms when she’s near. He half-sings the verses, where he tells himself he can’t keep doing this. The chorus is full throated, reflecting his excitement when his girl comes by, making him forget all that other stuff he said about her.

In our interview with Mike Campbell, he explained: “‘Here Comes My Girl’ was interesting because we had the chorus and Tom wasn’t sure how to do the verse, he kept trying to sing it different ways and he finally came across sort of half-talking it, and that’s when the song seemed to come to life.”

Damn The Torpedoes was the first album the band released on a major label. Their first two albums came out on a small label called Shelter Records, which was acquired by MCA. After some legal maneuvering where Petty filed for bankruptcy and the label sued the band, MCA set up a label called Backstreet Records, which was dedicated to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This didn’t end the tension between Petty and MCA. Petty held back the tapes for their next album, Hard Promises, when MCA tried to raise the price from $8.98 to $9.98. Petty won that battle and the album came out at the lower price.

The song predates MTV, but Petty still made a video for it, something few American bands did. Along with “Refugee,” the video was directed by John Goodhue and is simply footage of the band performing the song in a studio setting. Petty went on to deliver some incredibly innovative videos to MTV, earning him their Video Vanguard Award in 1994.

This plays on the series finale of The Office when Jim and Pam are dancing at Dwight and Angela’s wedding.

Here Comes My Girl

You know sometimes, I don’t know why
But this old town just seems so hopeless
I ain’t really sure, but it seems I remember the good times
Were just a little bit more in focus

But when she puts her arms around me
I can somehow rise above it
Yeah, man when I got that little girl standin’ right by my side
You know, I can tell the whole wide world to shove it, hey

Here comes my girl
Here comes my girl
Yeah, and she looks so right, she is all I need tonight

Every now and then I down to the end of the day
And I have to stop and ask myself why I’ve done it
It just seems so useless to have to work so hard
And nothin’ ever really seems to come from it

But then she looks me in the eye and says
We’re gonna last forever
And man, you know I can’t begin to doubt it
No, ’cause it just feels so good and so free and so right
I know we ain’t never goin’ to change our minds about it hey

Here comes my girl
Here comes my girl
Yeah, and she looks so right, she is all I need tonight (watch her walk)

Every time it seems like there ain’t nothin’ left no more
I find myself having to reach out and grab hold of something
Yeah, I just catch myself wondering, waiting, worrying
About some silly little things that don’t add up to nothin’

But then she looks me in the eye and says
We’re gonna last forever
And man, you know I can’t begin to doubt it
No, ’cause it just feels so good and so free and so right
I know we ain’t never gonna’ to change our minds about it, hey

Here comes my girl
Here comes my girl
Yeah, and she looks so right, she is all I need tonight