Tweeter and the Monkey Man (5:27)

Cover of Volume 1

From Volume 1 and 2 other releases

The songwriting credits goes officially to all members of the band, but the song is published by Bob Dylan’s Special Rider Music label, which indicates Dylan as the main writer. This is contradicted to a slight degree by George Harrison’s account of the song in “The True History of the Traveling Wilburys” documentary: “‘Tweeter and the Monkey Man’ was really Tom Petty and Bob . Well, Jeff and I were there too, but we were just sitting there around in the kitchen, and he was for some reason talking about all this stuff that didn’t make much sense to me, you know, it was that Americana kinda stuff and we got a tape cassette and put it on and then transcribed everything they were saying.”[2]

“Tweeter and The Monkey Man” is sometimes regarded as a playful homage to Bruce Springsteen’s songs. The lyrics include the titles of many Springsteen songs, and the song borrows many of Springsteen’s themes and settings. For instance, the setting of the song itself is New Jersey, Springsteen’s home state, and places like Rahway Prison and Jersey City are mentioned by name. Springsteen song title references include: “Stolen Car”, “Mansion On The Hill”, “Thunder Road”, “State Trooper”, “Factory”, “The River”, “Lion’s Den”, and the song made popular by Springsteen but written by Tom Waits, “Jersey Girl”. Additionally, “Lion’s Den” and “Paradise” are each mentioned and prominently enunciated in the song, each being the title of a Springsteen song released after the Traveling Wilburys album.


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