The Petty Archives

Tom Petty offers 'Free' single online
By Jay Sherman
Norwalk Hour - Friday, March 5, 1999

LOS ANGELES (BPI) - MP3, the controversial data compression technology that has drawn fire from the music industry, got a big boost when rocker Tom Petty made free downloads of his latest single available online in the format.

Petty's song, "Free Girl Now," was posted Monday at MP3.com, a Web site that offers thousands of songs stored in the format. The access is tied to the April 13 debut of Petty's latest release, "Echo."

Tom Petty rocks on
By Phillip Elwood
The San Francisco Chronicle - March 8, 1999

Tom Petty, his Heartbreakers and the night's guest, Lucinda Williams, stomped off his seven night series of performances (spread over a couple of weeks) at the Fillmore on Sunday night with a definitive performance of good ol' rock 'n' roll, the likes of which we've not heard since his few nights of similar appearances a couple of years ago.

Petty's music over the years has shown an integrity virtually unmatched on the rock scene. His band, with him for more than two decades, is the best in the business of traditional, hard-core rock, in large measure because they've stayed together and thus play (magnificently) together.

When Petty kicked off "Reelin' and Rockin," Chuck Berry's 1958 classic, the Fillmore crowd, jam-packed into the historic hall where Berry himself often played in the late '60s, waved their arms, moved their bodies, reveling in a song that all of them know but few have ever heard played as well as by the Heartbreakers.

Petty Gets Cozy For 7-Night Stand
By Neva Chonin
The San Francisco Chronicle - March 9, 1999

Heartbreakers, fans in Fillmore lovefest
The opening concert of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' sold- out, seven-night stand at the Fillmore seemed like a giant high school dance, where everyone knew every word to nearly every song in the band's repertoire. As the lights dimmed for the opening act at Sunday's show, a disheveled figure in an untucked shirt and black leather vest schlepped to the microphone. "Um, hi, how ya doin'?" Petty said, grinning at the packed floor. "I'll be back in a li'l while. Right now, I just want to introduce you to one of the world's greatest singer-songwriters." Opener Lucinda Williams made her appearance, and the evening's headliner trotted off to a wave of applause. Later, Williams' band joined the crowd watching Petty's show. It was that kind of night.

Tom Petty's Free Girl no longer
By Richard John
CANOE -- March 15, 1999

Tom Petty has followed in the footsteps of fellow musicians Billy Idol and Public Enemy in more than one way.

Each posted new material on the internet in MP3 format, and as of today, they've all had their free offerings removed.

Tom Petty was the latest artist to buck the trend and put the frighteners into the established music industry when he chose to post the ironically-titled new track 'Free Girl Now' on MP3.com, the internet's defacto home to legitimate MP3 files.

Recordings: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | Echo | (Warner)
By Greg Kot
Chicago Tribune - April 11, 1999

Over 12 albums, Tom Petty has recycled the sound of his favorites over and over again: the Stones, the Byrds, Dylan, the Beatles. And he keeps returning to his favorite theme: the difficulty of maintaining independence in a world that won't easily allow it. That said, "Echo" is retro in the best possible way, with the Heartbreakers digging in their heels, stubbornly defying trends and playing the garage band again on ravers such as "Free Girl Now" and "I Don't Wanna Fight." Oddly enough, the quietest moments are where "Echo" hits the hardest. When Petty drawls, "I've got a room at the top of the world tonight/And I ain't comin' down," he sounds as defiant as an outlaw making his last stand.

Recordings: Reverberating off rock
By Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle - Sunday, April 11, 1999

Tom Petty maintains high standards on satisfying 'Echo'
Echo | Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers | Warner Bros.
Like Bruce Springsteen's Tracks album last fall, this is galvanizing rock 'n' roll. But also like Tracks, it falls into a classic-rock pigeonhole and may get scant airplay or attention outside of devotees.

Wake up, America. While the hip go hopping along, rock is alive and well - just as it was when Springsteen and Petty unleashed inspired albums and tours during disco's rein in the late '70s.

Here, Petty and company are in rare form for their first studio effort since the 1996 soundtrack for She's the One. This is no burned-out gang of geezers going through the motions, but a tight, professional band bolstered by Petty's reliably strong material.

Record Rack: Petty Proves Competence Doesn't Lead to Boredom
By Elysa Gardner
The Los Angeles Times - April 11, 1999

★★★ | TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS | "Echo" | Warner Bros.
If Petty is one of the most predictable artists around, he's also among the most reliable. On his new album (due in stores Tuesday), the 46-year-old singer-songwriter and his longtime band serve up taut, guitar-driven songs that are as instantly familiar, utterly unsurprising and easily satisfying as a good steak dinner.

That's not to say that this music could or should be dismissed as a guilty pleasure. Petty and the Heartbreakers have always deftly combined a lyrical folk-pop grace with a lean, raw potency worthy of any alternative rocker's admiration. That duality continues in buoyant, muscular numbers such as "Counting on You" and "About to Give Out," such jangling nuggets as "This One's for Me" and "Accused of Love," and the tender ballad "Lonesome Sundown."

Petty has also maintained his flair for lyrics that poke wry fun at life's and love's foibles while celebrating their possibilities. From the gritty, witty "Swingin' " to the pining "Room at the Top" to the delicately resolute "No More," these songs unabashedly endorse freedom, faith and stubborn fortitude.

Petty's Fans Get Lucky, as Usual
Review by James Sullivan
The San Francisco Chronicle - April 11, 1999

Not for Petty the shiny lacquers or trendy flourishes of so many of his rock-radio counterparts, and that's his simple secret. "Echo," his 11th studio album, due in stores Tuesday, is exactly what rock fans have always expected of him -- a little bit of folk-psychedelia and a lot of sturdy rock 'n' roll. The surprise is that he's kept his career on such an even keel for so long.

Rarely has the gangly 48-year-old made concessions to glossy production or stylization, and here he sounds just as cool, calm and collected as ever. More of our mass-appeal pop celebrities should be so lucky; witness the excitement that surrounded Petty's recent return engagement at the Fillmore, when Courtney Love was just one of several famous musicians in the crowd.

'Echo' of the fast
By J.D. Considine
The Baltimore Sun - April 13, 1999

With their latest release, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers stay in character, rarely straying far from familiar touchstones. This isn't a collection of retreads, though. Sly twists keep the Petty trademark sounding fresh
To Americans, there is no personality trait more noble or admirable than rugged individualism.

Other cultures may prize conformity and warn that the nail that sticks out gets hammered down, but here in the U.S. of A., we value those who march to the beat of a different drummer. We see the ability to stand one's ground as a true test of moral fiber.