The Petty Archives

Tom Petty presents a solo album
By Bill DeYoung
Gainesville Sun - April 26, 1989

Twelve months and four million Traveling Wilburys after it was first announced, Tom Petty's solo album has arrived.

Called "Full Moon Fever," the album is the Petty's first without the Heartbreakers, the band of buddies he's been playing with since they left their native Gainesville together in the early '70s. Its bare-bones acoustic sound is a far cry from the Heartbreakers' hammering hard rock.

Wilburys Back Tom Petty's Solo Effort
By Chris Helm
Chicago Tribune - April 28, 1989

It's that time of year for romance, baseball and, judging from the past week, a full lineup of new releases.

Tom Petty steps up his first solo album, "Full Moon Fever" (MCA), but the head Heartbreaker is not all alone. Fellow Wilburys Jeff Lynne, George Harrison and the late Roy Orbison, and bandmates Mike Campbell, Howie Epstein and Benmont Tench, are among the teammates here.

Recordings: Recent Releases
Review by Jon Pareles
The New York Times - April 30, 1989

Tom Petty: 'Full Moon Fever' MCA 6253, all three formats
The 1980's barely touched Tom Petty, who has stayed with chiming, country-tinged rock since the early 1970's; the only change is that now he enunciates lyrics more clearly. "Full Moon Fever," made without his regular band, the Heartbreakers (but with the Heartbreakers' guitarist, Mike Campbell), offers a slightly smoother fersion of Mr. Petty's usual strumming guitars and harmony choruses. The songs are concise and clam, built to sink in. Some proffer affectionate cliches: others are animated, behind the easy-rolling melodies, by a sullen, smoldering resentment that Mr. Petty brings to the surface in "I Won't Back Down."

Right On Track: Up & Coming For '89
By Sean McDonald
The Observer -- May 3, 1989

The first solo album from Tom Petty is now out. Full Moon Fever (MCA) is being supported by the single "I Won't Back Down." The album has guest appearances by all of Petty's fellow Wilburys except Bob Dylan. Petty, Jeff Lynne and Heartbreaker guitarist Mike Campbell (who co-produced some of the tracks on Orbison's album) produced the album. This album does not mean the end of Petty and the Heartbreakers. Work has already begun on a new album.

  • 1989-05-04_Ohio-State-Lantern

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Reviews: First solo LP shows rock roots
By James Dallas
Ohio State Lantern -- May 4, 1989

Under a full moon, we see Tom Petty, as he is driving down the road of his musical career. With his latest release, "Full Moon Fever," he takes a big right turn off of Heartbreaker Drive and turns down Nostalgia Avenue.

"Full Moon Fever," released at the end of April, finds Petty glancing into his rear-view mirror, looking back into his past and the influences of his music. The reflection that we see is a strong "solo" effort by a mainstaying rocker.

Petty's first solo LP is packed with reflections of the roots of rock and roll.

Petty and the Wilburys: Supergroup Success Story
By John Milward
The Philadelphia Inquirer - May 4, 1989

Supergroups are almost always a disaster.

Take, for example, one of the original rock supergroups, which brought together Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker from Cream, Steve Winwood from Traffic and Rick Grech from Family. The name they chose was prophetic: Blind Faith. It lasted for one album and one tour.

The reason supergroups are routinely tumultuous is that they're rooted in an awkward balance of egos. Where a band typically learns to blend its individual personalities while struggling toward success, the supergroup is composed of performers already accustomed to the perks and prerogatives of stardom. Where a hungry band might argue about who ate the last slice of pizza, supergroups tussle over more substantive issues. Like the spotlight.

Conceptually, the Traveling Wilburys sounded like trouble. Consider the formidable lineup: a legend (Bob Dylan), an ex-Beatle (George Harrison), a faded rock star (Roy Orbison), a contemporary rock star (Tom Petty) and a pop artist- producer who'd gone commercially cold (Jeff Lynne). The fact that this unlikely aggregation put together such a low-key and likable album, and that it became a major hit, makes the Traveling Wilburys rock's against-all-odds supergroup.

  • 1989-05-05_Boca-Raton-News

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Review -- Full Moon Fever
By Gary Graff
Boca Raton News - May 5, 1989

FULL MOON FEVER Tom Petty (MCA): During the past two years, Petty's been on a roll: 1986's "Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)" was one of the best efforts from the California rocker and his group, the Heartbreakers; he was one of the Traveling Wilburys; and he lent a land on the late Roy Orbison's new album. "Full Moon Fever," Petty's first solo album, continues the streak -- a dozen songs that offer a broad range of musical styles and lyrical approaches, reflecting the low-key, relaxed feel of the Wilburys and the last Heartbreakers album. Among its numerous highlights are steamroller rockers like "Runnin' Down a Dream" and "Depending on You," the playfully nostalgic "Apartment Song," a raucous sociology lesson called "Zombie Zoo," the wonderfully ambiguous lost love sentiments in "Free Fallin'," and a Xerox rendition of the Byrds "Feel a Whole Lot Better." The solo Petty offers no dramatic departures, but the overall quality makes this "Fever" worth catching.

  • 1989-05-05_The-Straits-Times

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Short Stop For A Traveling Wilbury
The Straits Times - May 5, 1989

Tom Petty (below) caught the Full Moon Fever, his first album without the Heartbreakers, in spells, though he started on it two years ago.

The Traveling Wilburys project sidetracked him, then Roy Orbison got him to help with his comeback album, Mystery Girl. When he had a relapse of the Fever, he added in the odd note-phrasing and kinks from other groups -- like The Byrds and The Searchers -- sounds he had picked up along the way.

Tom Petty: Full Moon Fever
Review by David Silverman
Chicago Tribune - May 11, 1989

Tom Petty | Full Moon Fever | ★★★½
Though most of this album was recorded before his work with the Traveling Wilburys and Roy Orbison, "Full Moon Fever" is the last of Petty's recent projects to hit the streets. It could be called Petty and the Wilburys, as Jeff Lynne (coproducer), George Harrison and Orbison appear, but there's no mistaking Petty's rock edge. Even without the Heartbreakers, it's a wonderful mix of depth and free-wheeling fun: the piercing simplicity of "Alright For Now," the exuberant "Free Falling" and the LP's first single, "I Won't Back Down." All were made to be played on a warm summer's eve, cruising in a convertible with the top down.

Excellent ★★★★ | Good ★★★ | Fair ★★ | Poor ★