A look back at a great American Rock and Roll band.
“If you're phony, they will feel it in the farthest row of the arena. You have to really care. And you have to make yourself care time and time again.” – Tom Petty
Tom Petty, leader of the heartland rock group he fronted, The Heartbreakers, left us last October, literally a week after his last live performance in his adopted town of Los Angeles, CA. In addition to releasing 13 albums of new material with the band, he also released three solo albums, two live anthologies, two as leader of the band Mudcrutch and two albums with the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. One of the last of the true, honest no-sellout Rock and Rollers, even as heartland Rock lost favor with the mainstream public, Petty's fans never seemed to abandon him, even giving Petty his first and only #1 Billboard Top 200 album in 2014, 40 years after recording his first professional demos.
The Heartbreakers (l-r) Mike Campbell, Ron Blair, Stan Lynch, Tom Petty and Benmont Tench. Los Angeles, 1981, photo by Lynn Goldsmith. Blair left the band in 1981, to be replaced by Howie Epstein.
Starting off as a Rock and Roll band more in tune with Midwesterners like Bob Seger and a sound that drew from 1960's bellweather The Byrds, the band were nurtured by the late Leon Russell and released two albums on Shelter Records. After Shelter was sold to MCA, the band sued for artistic and creative control of their music, eventually winning their case and releasing their landmark third LP, Damn the Torpedoes, which climbed to #2 on the charts in 1979 and established the band as one of the promising new stars of the coming decade.
Not only did they keep their momentum up, they went on to become of the great American Rock and Roll bands. always focused on staying true to their belief that the music mattered, and more importantly, so did their commitment to the fans who supported them, even refusing during this period to accept an extra dollar jacked upon new releases by their label's distributor.
Our tracks this week: Title, Year, Source
1. Strangered In The Night, 1976, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
2. Refugee, 1979, Damn the Torpedoes
3. Do Me Like That (Mudcrutch version), recorded 1975/released 1995, Playback
4. Change of Heart, 1982, Long After Dark
5. Listen To Her Heart, 1977, You're Gonna Get It
6. Casa Dega, 1979, B-side to "Don't Do Me Like That" single
7. Even the Losers (album version), 1979, Damn the Torpedoes
8. I Need To Know, 1977, You're Gonna Get It
9. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around (Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), 1981, Bella Donna
10. A Woman In Love (It's Not Me), 1981, Hard Promises
11. Spike, 1985, Southern Accents
12. You Got Lucky, 1982, Long After Dark
13. Breakdown (live in Los Angeles), 1985, Pack Up the Plantation (original recording on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1976)
14. American Girl (live in Los Angeles), recorded 1983/released 2009, Live Anthology (original recording on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1976)
Love to you all.
Ben "Bear" Brown Jr., owner
Ace of Spades PDX