The Petty Archives

Petty's sound: future rock
By Brad Brockbank
Stanford Daily - Wednesday, June 7, 1978 

Tom Petty is the Renaissance of Rock and Roll.

I've said it before: There's a lot of crap that's floating around the AM airwaves that some would call music. Maybe it's the sound of the '70s, but the '80s are almost here and I have a feeling, after seeing Petty play at Memorial Auditorium Saturday, that the '80s may just spell the return of good, solid Rock. And at the forefront of the Rock Revival will be a young man named Tom Petty.

Petty broke into the BeeGee-esque AM scene a few months ago with a hard-driving sound on a song called "Breakdown." The composition quickly rose into the Top 40 and floated around for awhile before falling into Oblivion. The song came from the album "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers," which was the group's first effort.

Now, Petty has released a new album, "You've Gonne Get It," and is touring extensively to promote it. Saturday night's performance was a good showcase for the group. It is maturing quickly and it is attracting a following.

The show began almost an hour late, much to everyone's discontent. Finally, at 8:50 p.m., Wha-koo came on stage and delivered a 50 minute set that didn't deserve an encore and didn't get one. There is little about the band that makes one sit up and take notice. Lead singer Dave Palmer anchors a strong vocal performance when he calms down enough to sing and lead guitarist Chuck Cochran can play rehearsed scales and make people think he's doing something more difficult than he really is. But besides a tight harmony and a capable drummer, Wha-koo still has quite a way to go. 

10:20 p.m.
Things changed at 10:20 p.m. when the stage darkened and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers stepped on. Opening with "When The Time Comes," a song from the new album, Petty gave a blistering performance. THough in the end it had lasted only an hour, the group performed 14 songs with intensity, and few people left unsatisfied.

Petty's avant garde sound is centered around short, high-energy songs that have their roots in the '50s and '60s. Besides performing five songs from each of his albums, including "Breakdown" and "I Need To Know," his new hot single, Petty betrayed his influences by performing a few early Rock and Roll classics. "Shout," made popular by the Animals in the '60s, was Petty's first encore. He soon came out again to perform Chuck Berry's "Route 66." The final song of the night was a searing rendition of "I Fought The Law." 

It was over
When it was all over, the band had delivered a powerful message: They are the group of the future to watch.

Last time the group appeared in the Bay Area, they played second bill to Be-Bop Deluxe at Winterland. Petty stole the show then, but this time, when they play Winterland this Saturday, they won't have to. They will be the show. In fact, they are quite likely to be THE show for some years in the future.