16 Songs, 1 Hour 7 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With his last solo album, 2006’s Highway Companion, Tom Petty began feeling his age, reflecting on how much of his life was now past. Now at 60, he again teams up with his Heartbreakers and re-finds his, well, “mojo” with this compelling modern version of the blues. The Heartbreakers have always been a solid rock for Petty, and their playing has always served the songs to the point where their musicianship’s often been overlooked. But Mike Campbell is among the best second men in rock, and his lead guitar playing has defined Petty’s sound for years. Here, it comes out blistering, as if the band have spent their entire career studying Chicago blues. There’s the slow creep of “Takin’ My Time,” the full-on highway attack of “U.S. 41,” and the heartbreak shuffle of “Let Yourself Go,” where Petty takes his FM-radio croon and his classic rock stature and applies it to the music that influenced his influences. “Don’t Pull Me Over” sparkles with a touch of country honky-tonk in its visions of falling stars on moonlit nights. It’s an unexpected and welcomed move from a guy more often likened to folk-rock and the jangle of The Byrds.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With his last solo album, 2006’s Highway Companion, Tom Petty began feeling his age, reflecting on how much of his life was now past. Now at 60, he again teams up with his Heartbreakers and re-finds his, well, “mojo” with this compelling modern version of the blues. The Heartbreakers have always been a solid rock for Petty, and their playing has always served the songs to the point where their musicianship’s often been overlooked. But Mike Campbell is among the best second men in rock, and his lead guitar playing has defined Petty’s sound for years. Here, it comes out blistering, as if the band have spent their entire career studying Chicago blues. There’s the slow creep of “Takin’ My Time,” the full-on highway attack of “U.S. 41,” and the heartbreak shuffle of “Let Yourself Go,” where Petty takes his FM-radio croon and his classic rock stature and applies it to the music that influenced his influences. “Don’t Pull Me Over” sparkles with a touch of country honky-tonk in its visions of falling stars on moonlit nights. It’s an unexpected and welcomed move from a guy more often likened to folk-rock and the jangle of The Byrds.

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About Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Beginning in 1976, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were one of America's finest rock & roll bands ever, combining the ringing guitars of the Byrds with the gritty rhythmic drive of the Rolling Stones. Petty's tales of American losers and dreamers were simple and direct, but emotionally charged. The Heartbreakers were a lean, tight band that could handle hard rock & roll and melodic pop equally well. The group gained critical attention and solid sales with their first album, but 1979's Damn the Torpedos was their commercial breakthrough, selling over two million copies; it couldn't have come at a better time, since Petty filed for bankruptcy before its release.

During the '80s, Petty sold consistently well, as he expanded his sound with the release of each album. In 1989, he released his first solo album, Full Moon Fever, which became his biggest hit yet. That momentum carried over into the next Heartbreakers release, 1991's Into the Great Wide Open, which went platinum. As they were preparing their next album, the group released a greatest-hits album in 1993 that contained the hit single "Mary Jane's Last Dance." Greatest Hits was the last album the group released on MCA Records. In 1994, Petty began a new contract with Warner Bros, releasing Wildflowers toward the end of that year; Wildflowers became another multi-platinum success for him. In 1995, MCA Records released a five-disc box set called Playback.

In the summer of 1996, Petty & the Heartbreakers released Songs and Music from She's the One. The Rick Rubin production Echo followed three years later. The year 2002 saw the release of The Last DJ, a scathing attack on the corporate greed inherent in the music business. It was followed in 2006 by a Petty solo album, Highway Companion. Another Heartbreakers album, Mojo, appeared on Reprise Records in 2010. Returning to their rehearsal space, The Clubhouse, in 2011, Petty & the Heartbreakers spent time demo'ing and recording what would become their 13th studio album. The harder, rockier Hypnotic Eye was released in July 2014, and became the first number one album in their career. On October 2, 2017, Petty was found at his home in cardiac arrest, and he died at a hospital in Santa Monica later that day. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

ORIGIN
Gainesville, FL
GENRE
Rock
FORMED
1975

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