Tom Petty – Jammin’ Me

I remember I had the album this was on…Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) and I was disappointed. I always liked this song though. The album did not live up to Southern Accents the previous album.

Although this is a 1980s song…Steve Jobs, Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, and Vanessa Redgrave are singled out…as well as events in the world…the idea behind it is more relevant today than 1987.

I’ve always thought this song was about information overload on our senses…being overwhelmed in the disinformation age…and this was 1987! How about now?

Mike Campbell, the guitarist for The Heartbreakers, wrote the music for this and gave Petty the demo. Tom held it for a while and didn’t do anything with it until one day when he was working with Bob Dylan. They came up with some lyrics by picking words out of a newspaper and off the television. Tom pulled out Mike’s demo, and they inserted those words over the track. The song is about the deluge of information and marketing messages that can prove overwhelming.

This song peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100, #41 in Canada, and #38 in New Zealand in 1987. It was written by Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Mike Campbell.

From Songfacts

Many of Petty’s songs start as demos written by Campbell. Mike also wrote the tracks for Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” and “The Heart Of The Matter,” and helped Petty produce this album. 

In 1986, the band toured with Bob Dylan in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, which led to Dylan’s contribution on this song. In 1988, Petty and Dylan played together in The Traveling Wilburys, a band whose other members were Jeff Lynne, George Harrison and Roy Orbison.

In the lyrics, Petty mentions various places and events that were in the news and getting constant media exposure. Actors Vanessa Redgrave, Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy also show up.

Jammin’ Me

You got me in a corner
You got me against the wall
I got nowhere to go
I got nowhere to fall

Take back your insurance
Baby nothin’s guaranteed
Take back your acid rain
Baby let your T.V. 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 some place to go

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

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 tr yin’ to build outside my door