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Tom Petty and Ringo Starr Play on Benmont Tench Solo Song

Benmont Tench
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

He’s been one of rock’s premier sidemen for nearly 40 years. Now Benmont Tench, the keyboardist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, is stepping into the spotlight with his debut single, and he’s brought along some old friends.

The song, ‘Blonde Girl, Blue Dress,’ features Petty on bass and Ringo Starr on tambourine, with harmonies contributed by the excellent bluegrass duo of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Tench wrote it for Mudcrutch when he, Petty and Mike Campbell reunited with their pre-Heartbreakers bandmates in 2008, but chose to keep it for his debut solo album, ‘You Should Be So Lucky.’

“Originally we had Ringo set to play drums on it, but there was some kind of mix-up about dates and we were under the gun, so Jeremy Stacey stayed on the kit,” Tench told Rolling Stone. “The next day Ringo rang up and said, ‘Let’s cut it!’ And we had a perfectly good take, but it was missing a certain something. I asked him to come put some jangle on it, he turned up 20 minutes later with a canvas bag full of tambourines, played it twice and suddenly it all came into focus. He’s really something, that Ringo!”

‘Blonde Girl, Blue Dress’ is now streaming at Rolling Stone. ‘You Should Be So Lucky’ will be released on Feb. 18.

Next: Top 10 Tom Petty Songs

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