Tom Petty heads home for inspiration
By Lisa Robinson
The Montreal Gazette - August 6, 1981
NEW YORK -- Even though superstar guitarist Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers spent give years working their way out of their Gainesville, Fla., hometown, they all plan to return to their roots this year -- at least for part of the year -- to live.
Petty will keep his home in Los Angeles, but plans to live several months a year where he came from, and try to do some new, productive work.
Although many Los Angeles-based musicians often move to New York City for a while in an attempt to give their music some added "urgency," Petty dismisses his idea as "romantic nonsense."
He says, "It's living in a garret transposed to being jostled on the streets and having lousy weather. New York rock 'n' roll superstars all travel in limousines, anyway." He adds, "Aggravation doesn't produce art."
Petty's new LP, Hard Promises, has already sold over a million copies in the three months since its release, but his new single, Woman In Live (the follow-up to The Waiting), has been surpassed in radio air play by the duet he wrote for, and sings with, Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks -- Stop Dragging My Heart Around.
Certain shows on Petty's current three-and-a-half month tour of the United States and Canada will be recorded for a live album that he'll release in time for Christmas.
He and The Heartbreakers (MIke Campbell, Stan Lynch, Ben Tench and Ron Blair) will add some previously unrecorded songs to the set so that the album will contain new material.
Editor's Note: This is a response to this concert review.
Tom Petty concert review criticized
by Robert Roth (letter to editor)
Beaver County Times - August 9, 1981
It may not be of overwhelming importance to the majority of your readers, but the article concerning (what should have been concerning) the Tom Petty concert had as much appeal to me and my fellow readers as it had truth. Quite obviously the some 7,000 spectators went to see Tom Petty. I can back this statement up by simply saying no one I spoke to knew who the warm-up group was. It would therefore seem to me that the article naturally should concern the group which put on a spectacular and vastly superior show, Tom Petty of course!
Now don't get me wrong, Joe Ely wasn't bad, if your interests lie in country music, but then if they did, why would one be going to see T.P.? In the future I might suggest that reporters cover the main attraction and not be sidetracked by a sideshow. Certainly if one person's opinion was printed, then why not mine?
Tom Petty was great!
Superstar Stevie goes solo
By Neal Hall
The Vancouver Sun - August 12, 1981
Stevie Nick's new solo album, Bella Donna, is something she wanted to do for years but couldn't because of the demands of Fleetwood Mac.
"I signed the record contract [with Modern Records] two years ago but couldn't find time to record until thus February, when there was a break in [Fleetwood Mac's] recording," said the 33-year-old Nicks over the telephone from Torono. "It's been solid Fleetwood Mac all the time."
Fleetwood Mac takes a long time to produce each album. Too long, says Nicks. "It took 12 months to make last year's live album and 13 months for Tusk. But that's not me, that's Lindsay [Buckingham] who likes being in the studio night after night," she says in her husky, sensual voice.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will play Gainesville, Oct. 7
By Dave Hunter
Gainesville Sun - August 15, 1981
The rumor is true, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are coming home. University of Florida Student Government Productions chairman Chris Qualmann confirmed Friday that the band would appear in the UF's O'Connell Center at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7.
The group, one of the hottest acts in rock 'n' roll today, is composed of Gainesville natives Tom Petty, Stan Lynch, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, and Ron Blair. And, according to Qualmann, the lure of playing before the home town crowd is so strong, that the promoter, Beach Club Concerts of South Carolina, is building a mini-stage inside the O'Dome to compensate for the Technical shortcomings of the hall.
The mini-stage will contain the sound and lighting equipment the group uses to play bigger halls. With the mini-stage, the seating capacity of the O'Connell Center will be got to 11,800 but Qualmann said that Petty, the promoters, and SGP made the decision based on the fact that this is the group's hometown.
According to Qualmann, the concert date came about because of Petty's wish to play Gainesville.
Critique: Petty knows how to entertain
By Divina Infusino
The Milwaukee Journal - Monday, August 17, 1981
East Troy, Wis. -- Few performances this year have hit the heart of rock 'n' roll like Sunday night's show by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Alpine Valley Music Theater.
Petty knows the makings of a great concert -- the careful balance between being theatrical and being spontaneous, between the need for familiarity and the need for surprise.
Starting with "American Girl," the concert's drama and tension spiraled steadily. It temporary receded into songs that were slower or less widely known, like "Listen to Her Heart," only to plunge into an emotion-charged "Here Comes My Girl," his hit about love as a refuge from the world.
Dressed in a splashy, flowered cowboy shirt, the long, lean, blond Petty stalked the stage, playfully toying with his five-piece band and the audience of 12,500.
Tom Petty sparks tumultuous show
By Lennox Samuels
The Milwaukee Sentinel - August 17, 1981
East Troy -- It was like being in a seat that had an obstructed view. Every now and again, two young women would leap to their feat and whirl about by dervishes.
But then, that's the kind of adulation that people's champion Tom Petty now commands. The rock star and his Heartbreakers anchored a musical orgy with about 12,500 fans Sunday night at Alpine Valley Music Theater.
First on stage was the Naughty Sweeties, a feisty Los Angeles pop group that fought the audience's indifference with a 40-minute set of solid rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll.
Led by lanky Ian Jack, the Sweeties forced the crowd to pay attention by ripping such songs as "My World" and "Ready, Steady, Gone." Jack mounted a 20-foot high bank of speakers for the set's climax, the angry indictment of L.A.'s jargon, "Tower of Babble."
Then Petty and the Heartbreakers descended on the stage like the Light Brigade. Petty obviously was infused with the spirits, but that only made the show less inhibited.
By Pamela White
The Minnesota Daily - Wednesday, August 19, 1981
After the first few numbers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers laid down the tone: they were going to deliver a down-to-earth concert. There would be no flash, no theatrics, no unnecessary embellishments -- just a lot of straightforward rock 'n' roll.
It could have been a dangerous approach. The Heartbreakers have had so many radio hits in the last few years that a concert featuring one radio blockbuster after another could have been something of a letdown to the 16,000 or so people who showed up to hear their idol. But the music, despite its familiarity, carried the crowd through two hours of energetic euphoria. It was a quality concert that went on low gear to high solely on the strength of the music, which is all most people would want anyway. If the concert was a little heavy on predictability, it was fun as well.
Moore on Pop
By Susan Moore
The Australian Woman's Weekly - August 26, 1981
RECORD PICK: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers -- Hard Promises. (Backstreet Records). This album is a rejuvenating jangle of music and ideas, structured simply for best effect.
Petty's lyrics carry a subtle punch. The Waiting is perhaps the outstanding track, but most are pretty persistent, including A Thing About You and The Criminal Kind. Stevie Nicks, from Fleetwood Mac, does a whimsical duet with Petty on Insider but it's a song that never quite gets off the ground.
Tom Petty perpetrates a free-range style of rock -- unprententious, but insistent and sincere.
For Summer Fun - Some Are Reruns
By Robert Cushing
The Ithacan - September 3, 1981
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | Hard Promises
The Waiting is one of the most memorable songs ever written. Tom Petty's musical vein stretches years of popular songwriting, covering The Byrds, The Searchers, and even a little Mindbenders thrown in.
With its 12-string guitar opening to its glorious Mike Campbell solo, The Waiting is representative of Tom Petty's best stuff. Unfortunately, the rest of Hard Promises is a real letdown. And it pains me to say it -- but some of it is downright embarrassing.
Granted, Petty can't pull off ten "Waitings" on one album. But I never expected vapid lyrics and boring melodies from the same guy that has brought us American Girl and Listen To Her Heart. And of course, the anticipation of his new album is enlarged by the fact that Damn the Torpedoes is about as complete in context as an album can get; every song is good, and some are absolutely mindboggling. With all of this said, I might go as far as to say Tom Petty is one of the premier songwriters of our day. And he certainly can play live with the best of them.
But Hard Promises isn't a complete failure. It might even turn out to be Petty's most commercially successful album to date. Artistically, however, Petty has fallen from grace on this one. Maybe it's just the fact that he tries too hard to please everyone.
Keep an eye out for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. His next album has the potential to be his best due to his previous output. And the waiting will be the hardest part.