The Petty Archives

Inflamed tonsils may force Petty to delay tour abroad
The Montreal Gazette - Thursday, February 14, 1980

A European tour by Tom Petty may have to be postponed -- at press time it looked like the singer might have his tonsils removed. Petty planned to take a few weeks off after the close of his American tour in late January to determine whether he needed a tonsillectomy. If so, the European gates, which were to follow immediately, will be rescheduled pending his recovery.

Petty's tonsils became inflamed after his Saturday Night Live appearance last November. He lost his voice after a show in Philadelphia on Nov. 13, and had to postpone a concert in Boston the following day. Another show was also postponed and three other canceled due to the throat problem, but Petty's singing on the remaining 35 U.S. dates has generally been good.

"At times they pushed the echo a bit to cover up things he couldn't sing," said one source. "But there's no Stevie Nicks syndrome; he's not straining to hit the high notes."

In fact, after rescheduling two concerts to give himself some free time prior to his appearance at L.A.'s 18-000-seat Forum, Petty added a surprise date the next night at the most intimate Whisky a Go-Go. His voice was in fine shape for the two-hour show there, which included cover versions of the Animals' Don't Bring Me Down and the Dave Clark Five's Any Way You Want It.

Although a tonsillectomy may be "more dangerous at Tom's age," according to one associate there could be some fringe benefits. "We haven't decided what to do with his tonsils yet. We'll either auction them off or have them put in formaldehyde and made into a music box."