1990s
The Petty Archives

Petty's Peace
By Michael Quinn
TIME - May 18, 1992

As violence devoured Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King case acquittals, they leaped into action ... no, not Daryl Gates and the L.A. Police -- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.

Their Peace in L.A. single was produced even as the uprising unfolded about them. "I was watching the TV," says Petty. "I was upset by it. I could either pace around the room or write a song." In a morning, Petty penned an ominous rock dirge that condemns the results of the police-brutality trial it calls for calm ("We all feel betrayed/But we've got to be strong") By mid-afternoon the band was recording the song, which arrived at radio stations a day later. "I left the mastering lab and heard it over the air driving home." Earnings from Peace in L.A. will help rebuild the city.

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Rolling Stone #633 - June 25, 1992

Less than forty-eight hours after L.A. started to burn, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Peace in L.A." was on the radio. "I wanted to make a statement," says Petty, who will donate the track's proceeds to victims' charities. "Everyone was outraged. People of all colors were pissed off. I felt trapped."

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Take the Highway Live (1992)
By Steve Simels
Entertainment Weekly #127 - July 17, 1992

One song at a time, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers can sound like the greatest rock & roll band of all time, but in a live setting, over the space of an hour or two, their refined proficiency can tend toward the admirable but tedious. That, at least, is the impression left by Take the Highway Live, a document of last year's tour behind their Into the Great Wide Open album. Here the band runs through impeccable versions of some of its better recent material plus a couple of well-chosen covers (Charlie Rich's ''Lonely Weekends,'' the Count Five's garage classic ''Psychotic Reaction''). Meanwhile, director Julien Temple (Absolute Beginners) keeps the camera moving with great imagination, and the whole thing sounds absolutely fabulous cranked through a stereo system (which is the best way to watch most videos, since virtually all new movies are released in stereo). B

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May
Rolling Stone #645 - December 10, 1992

While the nation stayed glued to televisions, watching the Los Angeles riots, residents of that city sat more paralyzed than anyone. For Tom Petty, the feeling of helplessness transformed itself into "Peace in L.A.," a single he wrote and had on the airwaves within two days of the outbreak of violence. "There was nothing I could do, but I didn't want to just sit and watch TV," Petty said. "Once I had the song, I thought it would be of no use if we didn't put it on the radio right away. I knew I had only a quarter of an hour to write it. I wasn't thinking about anything but getting it out."

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By Jancee Dunn
Rolling Stone #666 - September 30, 1993

"We should do this once a month," said Stan Lynch of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, after the band launched the Viper Room, the Sunset Strip club co-owned by Johnny Depp. Also on the bill: Evan Dando, a vibrant Maria McKee and Shane McGowan, who raised $14,000 for the Starlight Foundation, a charity for terminally ill children. "I love the idea of clubs in the '30s and '40s," said Depp. "It's some of the only culture we have in Hollywood."

The 100 Top Music Videos
By Elysa Gardner
Rolling Stone #667 - October 14, 1993

14. Don't Come Around Here No More | Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1985
"The first thing I remember about the conception of this video," says Tom Petty, "was Dave Stewart saying that when he heard this song, he pictured himself on top of a giant mushroom, playing the sitar." Petty explains that he and Stewart, who co-produced Petty's 1985 album, Southern Accents, knew from the start that they wanted something "really, really different" for the video of "Don't Come Around Here No More," the first single off that album, "because we thought it was a very unusual single anyway. There was sort of a psychedelic resurgence going on at that time, and we were having a lot of fun with it." That sense of trippy gaiety was carried over to video, a feast of colorful, often distorted images based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Directed by Jeff Stein with assistance from Kathy Dougherty -- and a lot of creative input from Petty and his band -- the video commences with Stewart atop his mushroom, beckoning to a model dressed like Alice, who winds up as the guest of honor at a tea party presided over by Petty, in the guise of the Mad Hatter, who devours with his cohorts the cake into which Alice ultimately transforms. "The cake was Jeff Stein's idea," remembers Petty, "and we had to do that whole scene in one take, since there was only one cake."

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Greatest Hits (1993)
By Tom Sinclair
Entertainment Weekly #197 - November 19, 1993

You've got to give Tom Petty his due. After years of churning out terrific singles, he's finally released a greatest-hits album that is just what it says it is. There's nothing petty about this generous collection — Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: Greatest Hits has 16 gems, one new tune, and a cover of Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air" — which bears eloquent testimony to the durability of Petty's tough-'n'-tender heartland pop. A+

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Rolling Stone #670 - November 25, 1993
Tom Petty wasn't taken aback when Seliger asked him to pose on a camel for a 1991 cover shoot. "I'd ridden one in Egypt once," Petty recalls. "I figured it would be just like another joy ride around the pyramids. But this time, it turned out to be a mother camel with her screaming baby. If you've ever heard a camel cry, you know that's a significant wail. It was a long day, but Mark got an amazing shot. Of course, I was a little disappointed the camel didn't make the cover." Later, for the 25th-anniversary issue, Petty wanted to be shot grocery shopping "because he's a down-to-earth guy," says Seliger. "We didn't use that picture, but I still like something about it."