The Petty Archives

Music Review: Petty's new album wins, uses traditional sounds and effective vocal bits
By Gregg Dunn
Central Michigan Life - July 26, 1989

If one listens to "Full Moon Fever" by Tom Petty, it appears the Heartbreakers and Traveling Wilburys have made a big impression.

In fact, much of the album is tainted with Heartbreaker and Wilbury personnel.

Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers plays guitars, mandolin, and bass, while helping produce his record. Heartbreaker keyboardist adds his expertise on "The Apartment Song."

Wilbury members, George Harrison and Roy Orbison, play on "I Won't Back Down," and "Zombie Zoo" respectively.

Petty & Heartbreakers Take a Classic Stance
By Chris Willman
The Los Angeles Times - July 27, 1989

The stage design for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' current tour is the interior of a tent with the air of a huge stately drawing room, garnished with such furnishings as cattle horns, a suit of armor, a totem pole, a stuffed bear and Egyptian hieroglyphics--all emblems that, one way or another, suggest classic.

Indeed, this is the tour that presents Petty, who plays the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa tonight, as "classic rocker," as in "classic rock" the radio format, as in familiarity.

Opening the Southern California leg of their tour on Tuesday at San Diego State University's Open Air Theatre, Petty and band turned in a hits-and-almost-nothing-but-the-hits show that gave the people what they wanted, few punches or surprises pulled. Packed with one great song after another as the show was designed to be, it was what you might call classically predictable.

Petty's interest in so soundly reaffirming the status quo seems curious at this time. The album the tour is ostensibly promoting, "Full Moon Fever," has been widely touted as Petty's first "solo" record, mostly without the Heartbreakers, and is indeed something of a pleasant departure, if not exactly a radical one.

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Tom Petty: a heartbreaker no longer
By David Bauder
Merced Sun-Star - July 28, 1989

'Full Moon Fever' sounds like the Traveling Wilburys
Judging by his first solo album, "Full Moon Fever," it seems Tom Petty's heart is no longer with the Heartbreakers.

He's a Wilbury now.

Brevity in lyrics and simplicity in music seems to be the lessons he's taken from his tenure with the Traveling Wilburys.

"Full Moon Fever" can almost get an identical critical assessment as the Traveling Wilburys' record: Both albums are filled with breezy "feel-good" songs that are essentially lightweight but sound terrific.

All his fellow Wilburys, save Bob Dylan, make appearances. Co-producer Jeff Lynne, who also had his hand in writing seven of the 12 songs, is the most prominent.

Petty's laconic nature is occasionally funny, like on this perverse nursery rhyme from "Yer So Bad": "My sister got lucky, married a yuppie. Took him for all he was worth. Now she's a swinger, dating a singer. I can't decide which is worse."

Petty featuring material from new album at State Fair
The Valley News - Monday, July 31, 1989

"The strangest thing about the album is that it wasn't planned at all. It sort of happened by accident."

For an album that, in the words of Tom Petty, happened by accident, Full Moon Fever is a truly special work from an artist who has already recorded and written some of the most compelling and soul-stirring music in rock history. After only 12 weeks, the album has risen to number three of the Billboard charts.

As his first album without the Heartbreakers -- whom he remains very much a part of, despite any rumors to the contrary -- Full Moon Fever stands apart from Petty's previous works.
Set against layers of distinctive and moving guitar textures, Petty's lyrics, melodies and vocals have an immediate, fresh intimacy. The 12 songs themselves are by turns tough ("I Won't Back Down"), urgent ("Free Fallin'," "Runnin' Down a Dream"), mysterious ("A Face In The Crowd") and witty ("Zombie Zoo"), as Petty creates his reliably less-than-innocent characters and unfolds his stories and ironies about "a world come mad," to quote another song, "Yer So Bad."

Full Moon Fever was recorded mostly in early 1988 before some interesting musical relationships would mysteriously cross and, of course, result in the Traveling Wilburys, teaming Petty and Jeff Lynne with George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison for an album that would earn great critical acclaim and sell over 4 million worldwide -- including more than 2 million in the U.S. alone.

Because of Petty's Wilburys commitments, work on Full Moon Fever temporarily came to a halt, and Petty returned to the studio in late 1988 and early this year to finish the album. The wait was worth it.

Petty to play Columbus Sept. 10
By Christopher Sadler
Ohio State Lantern -- August 10, 1989

For those of you who wanted to go see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Tuesday night at Blossom Music Center but were unable to go, there is good news. Petty and the band have added a stop to this year's tour. They will play at the Ohio Center on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

If the Sept. 10 show is anything similar to the concert Tuesday, Tom Petty fans should get tickets to see and hear these rock 'n' roll stars.  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Mike Campbell, Stan Lynch, Benmont Tench and Howie Epstein) played several songs off of their latest album, "Full Moon Fever," as well as various other music.

Review: T.P. doesn't heartbreak fans
By Mohan Submarmanian
The Jambar - August 10, 1989

The pulse of American rock music is steady and strong thanks to Gainesville, Fla. native Tom Petty and his band the Heartbreakers. Playing before a near capacity crowd at Blossom Music Center Tuesday night, Petty proved that he is the best American rocker around. Sorry, Bruce.

The show started with "Real Love" from Petty's new solo album, but it was the classics "American Girl" and "Listen to her Heart," that christened the evening, launching the crowd into a dancing and singing celebration. Petty kept the crowd moving with a stirring rendition of "Free Fallin'."

Petty's latest LP Full Moon Fever, was a solo project featuring only one Heartbreaker on every song, lead guitarist Mike Campbell. Many fans wondered if Petty would tour solo, but Petty eased all worries by telling the crowd, "...these are the wonderful, fabulous Heartbreakers and I'd never leave home without 'em." The Heartbreakers are: Benmont Tench, keyboards, Stan Lynch on drums, Howie Epstein on bass, and Campbell on lead. Few bands are cohesive as these guys.

Tom Petty Returns with a 1st Rate Performance
By David Silverman
Chicago Tribune - August 11, 1989

After more than two years away from the road, Tom Petty was begging a little forgiveness: "We're just trying to learn to act responsible again, you know, get the feel of this thing."

It had been a while for one of rock's true rebels, a 28-month break that saw Petty's stock rise with a jaunt into the fanciful land of the Wilburys and a first (platinum) solo album besides. But there was little to apologize for Thursday night at Poplar Creek as he returned with his longtime musical companions, the Heartbreakers.

For the 18,000 or so faithful, who braved snarled highway traffic and tropical cloudbursts on the way to the show, the payoff was one of the summer's finest performances as Petty wheeled through a two-hour set of old and new.

Tom Petty And Professionalism At Mann
By Tom Moon
The Philadelphia Inquirer - August 16, 1989

More than anything else, last night's rock and roll show at the Mann Music Center was a lesson in the pros and cons of professionalism.

The Replacements, notorious bad boys of the genre, began their opening set five minutes EARLY. Led by a coherent, emotive Paul Westerberg, the band crammed 12 songs into 40 minutes without shortchanging any of them. (Among the highlights: an ironic, twisted-smile treatment of the Rolling Stones' ''Happy," and the furiously determined "Alex Chilton.")

If the Replacements' surprisingly focused set was a tribute to the ''knuckle-under-and-work" ethic favored by so many young bands (and resisted by the Replacements for so long), then headliner Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' appearance was old-pro advice about how to keep punching the clock in interesting ways.

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Same old Tom Petty entertains his fans
By Kate Kelley
Beaver County Times - August 25, 1989

Stemming the tide of relentless reunion tours and stagey reorganizations or classic rock bands nervous about their retirement funds is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

They never broke up, nor have they said "farewell" once in their 13-year history. They look the same as ever, sound the same, and their sold-out Strange Behavior tour is earning them more money than other old-timers because they don't have any showy brass or backups to pay.

It's just Tom, a few of his childhood friends and an extraordinary amount of natural talent. The secret of Petty's success just might be in the childish grin he bears every time he thanks his audience. He simply likes to play, and his appreciation of the audience seems genuine.