The Petty Archives

Video Review: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Playback
By Steve Simels
Entertainment Weekly #312 - February 2, 1996

Tom Petty is often underrated as a musician, perhaps because he has no larger agenda beyond making good records, but he's consistently overrated as a video innovator like with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: Playback. For this longtime Petty fan, that's the revelation gleaned from the 17 career-spanning clips here, from the 1979 pre-MTV "Refugee" to the 1993 "Mary Jane's Last Dance." Most of the songs visualized are, in fact, terrific, but not one of them is illuminated or enlarged in any significant way; in the end, you're left with nothing more than a bunch of celebrity cameos (Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway, Kim Basinger) and the memory of Petty wearing dopey hats. C+