Tom Petty: facts about the artist that have remained under lock and key for a long time

What was Tom Petty really like, who gave us all the hit "Mary Jane's Last Dance"?

Amazing stories from the life of Tom Petty

Musical legend and leader "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" by Tom Petty was a real genius. There is really something to remember about this talented songwriter, active fighter for the rights of artists and just an amazing person. Few people know, but Tom's whole life was a continuous struggle - for fame, for fans and for his work. One of the most respected representatives of rock - what was Tom Petty really like, who gave us all a hit "Mary Jane's Last Dance"?

He predicted his last tour

Tom Petty. Photo: The Enquirer/Meg Vogel.
Tom Petty. Photo: The Enquirer/Meg Vogel.

A few months before Tom's untimely death, he predicted that the America will be for him last. And so it happened. In an interview with a magazine "Rolling Stone the artist stated:

“I think this trip may be the last in the country. This may be the last big gig of my career."

The tour, which included 50 concerts, was successfully completed and came to an end in Hollywood Bowl In Los Angeles September 25, 2017. Just a week later, Petty was gone.

He suffered from a serious addiction in the 90s

Tom Petty
Tom Petty

For years, this man managed to hide the details of his addiction, from which the musician suffered in 90s. But in 2015, the truth surfaced: then an unauthorized biography Petty, which has become one of the most talked about aspects of his legendary life. Subsequently biographer Warren Zanes shared his opinion on why Tom became addicted to substances at such a mature age:

“It happens when the pain becomes too much and you live in a world, in a culture where people have turned to drugs and other forbidden pleasures to stop the pain. He's a rock and roll guy, and during that period, Petty reached a point in his life where he didn't know what to do with the pain he felt."

According to Zeins, once petty told him:

“You start to lose your soul. One day you realize: “I lost myself. I hang out with people, but not because I want to… Doing anything has always been against me. I didn't want to be a slave, but that's hard to get away from. It's an ugly thing…”

In the end, Petty got into rehabilitation center.

Meeting Elvis Presley inspired him

Elvis Presley, 1978. Photo: Roger Marshutz
Elvis Presley, 1978. Photo: Roger Marshutz

When Petty was 11 years., cousin took him to a concert Elvis Presley - then the king of rock and roll starred in the film "Follow Your Dream" in central Florida. As the story goes, on that day, Petty returned home completely different.

“He came out shining like an angel! It seems to glow and walk above the ground. I have never seen anything like it in my life. We were stunned by how this guy looked!” - Petty recalled the first meeting with Presley.

Throughout his career, Petty believed that meeting Elvis instilled in him obsession with rock and roll.

He dropped out of high school

Tom Petty in his youth
Tom Petty in his youth

Inspired Elvis Presley and The Beatles, Petty started playing the guitar, and by the age of 14 formed his first band "The Sundowners". In the end, he decided that he would move towards his dream by any means possible. He dropped out of Gainesville High School in Florida to devote himself entirely to music.

At the time, Petty worked as a gravedigger and gardener at the University of Florida. He soon joined Mudcrutch, a group that was the forerunner of the hugely successful "Heartbreakers". The enormous risks were fully justified.

He lost everything in the fire

Tom Petty
Tom Petty

In 1987 Petty was having breakfast with his family when he suddenly smelled smoke. In the next second, his house was engulfed in flames. Fortunately, all family members managed to get out before anyone could get hurt. Petty later recalled how the hose melted in his hands when he tried to put out the fire. All property turned into a pile of ashes, but even this is not the worst. Later it turned out that the fire was deliberate Someone doused their staircase with lighter fluid and then set it on fire.

Many years later, the crime was never solved.

He took guitar lessons from a member of the Eagles.

Don Felder
Don Felder

After Petty's death, the band's guitarist "Eagles" Don Felder talked about their long friendship, which began when Tom was still a child. Turns out Don was giving Petty guitar lessons.

“One day Tom came to me - he was about 13 years old. He played bass in some school band but wanted to play guitar. They already had two guitarists, but that did not stop Petty ... I saw potential in him, so I began to teach him how to play.

He fought with his label for the benefit of the fans

Petty's many problems with record labels are well-documented, which is why today there are a lot of stories on this topic.

One of the highlights was the battle with "MCA Records"who wanted to sell his 1981 album "Hard Promises" for $9.98, which was a dollar more than the regular price of an album in the US at the time.

Petty was outraged and refused to release the album unless the label lowered the price. At one point, he even threatened to rename the album to "Eight Ninety Eight" (which in English means "Eight ninety-eight"). Ultimately label gave up, and the battle itself served as an inspiration for other artists who fought for their rights in later years.

His record company dropped the album classic

Tom Petty. Photo: George Rose
Tom Petty. Photo: George Rose

Another interesting story related to the album "Full Moon Fever", which went down in history as one of the greatest for the period of the 80s-90s. But at the time of release, not everyone considered him great. In particular, Petty's label: "MCA Records" were not just not happy from the record, but at all refused from her! This decision shocked everyone, especially Tom.

Fortunately, the musician did not lose heart. He took a break to record with Traveling Willburys together with George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne. A little later I learned about his album Warner Bros Records, and offered to help with the release. And although "MCA Records" still released "Full Moon Fever", this moment significantly strengthened the relationship between Petty and Warner Bros..

He broke his arm in the studio

Tom Petty
Tom Petty

It happened in 80s: Petty and his team worked in the studio. At some point, Tom got so angry that he hit the wall with his fist heavily ... and broke his left arm. They put it in his hand metal knitting needles, and subsequently he was forced to re-learn how to play the guitar.

The arm eventually began to function normally again, but years later the severe pain returned. Petty himself attributed it to old age.

He sued the tire company

In 1987 the tire company "B.F. Goodrich" released an ad with a jingle that is very reminiscent of the song "Mary's New Car". Petty and his team were so furious that sued to the company. Subsequently, manager Tony Dimitriades said that "BF Goodrich" did approach Petty with a request to use his song, but was refused.

“We refused them – we gave them a categorical answer. And now they're back and doing an ad that we think is based on the same song. We gave up a significant amount of money in order not to be associated with BF Goodrich. But now they do it anyway, which we think is an element of deception. We believe that a performer should have the right to draw the line on where their voice or image is used commercially."

petty won lawsuit, and the company was forced remove ads from the air.

He voiced a character in the animated series "King of the Hill"

Lucky ("King of the Hill")
Lucky ("King of the Hill")

Few people know, but Petty often made guest appearances on the popular animated show. "King of the Hill". It first happened in 2004 when he voiced a character named Lucky. This character was described by the creators as "Tom Petty Unsuccessful".

The musician liked this lesson so much that from 2004 to 2009 he appeared in the TV series 28 times! Or rather, his voice. According to one of the authors Mike Judge, Petty had a lot of fun during this period:

“We all grew up with his music, his unique voice, and it was great to have him voice Lucky in King of the Hill! It was always a pleasure to work with him - such a funny and open guy. He will be greatly missed…”

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