Something in the Air

A major change in this cover version is the format of the lyrics. Something in the Air is a fairly ominous call to arms. The original was released in May of 1969 when the Vietnam War was still raging at its most furious. Speedy Keen said that told ZigZag magazine in 1975 of the song “It was a reflection of what I was seeing at the time”. But rather than using the overtly observational third verse and the line “Hand out the arms and ammo. We’re gonna blast our way through here”, Tom repeats the first. He also switches up the first line of the second verse from the sinister “Lock up the streets and houses Because there’s something in the air” to the much more optimistic and carefree “Run through the fields and houses because there’s something in the air”. If ever you have to try to define the word zeitgeist, using “something in the air” as a synonym is pretty much the best you can do in my opinion and this is why Tom is able to co-opt an observation on the vietnam war into a song that carries a much more hopeful tenor.

Today’s episode covers the second single from the Greatest Hits release, “Something in the Air”.

Song video :

Live Anthology version :

Fish version :

Thunderclap Newman version :

The podcast I promoted in this week’s episode, Booked on Rock, can be found here:

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All music, including the theme song, provided by my very best friend Randy Woods. Check him out at

The Tom Petty Project is not affiliated with the Tom Petty estate in any way and when you’re looking for Tom’s music, please visit the official YouTube channel first and go to for official merchandise.

A last very special thanks to Paul Zollo. Without his book, “Conversations with Tom Petty”, this podcast wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to research. And further thanks to Warren Zanes for his outstanding book “Petty, the Biography”.

Producer: Kevin Brown

Executive Producer: Paul Roberts

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