The Petty Archives

POP REVIEW: Petty Still Polishing Verties of the '60s
By Jon Pareles
The New York Times - April 14, 1999

Tom Petty writes songs about stubborn folks: taciturn, determined, ordinary people who may get snubbed or pushed around, but who won't back down. He's mighty stubborn himself. Since he arrived in the 1970's, his musical taste has been unswerving.

Mr. Petty and his trusty band, the Heartbreakers, are 1960's classicists who find undying verities in Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and the Beatles, and they don't have much use for newfangled notions. Like a grandfather sitting on a porch by an interstate, Mr. Petty watches impassively as hip-hop and trip-hop, thrash and jungle, grunge and trance all rush by, while he's content to rock at his own pace.

The Best and Worst of the '90s
University of Washington Ledger - April 14, 1999

As humanity is unmercifully thrust into the new millennium, we, the staff at The Ledger, felt it out duty to recap some of the best and worst of the '90s. Part of this is for you the reader but really we are just using it as an excuse to pipe off again and you are forced to listen to us (we're Liberal Arts students, we can't help it). So here is out gift to you, the best and worst movies CD's, and songs of the '90s. Each selection was carefully scrutinized, probably unfairly, yet the votes are in. Without further adieu we now present our choices for best and worst of the '90s.

Best CDs
Tom Petty, Wildflowers- Petty holds a well full of never ending original lyrics and music. Some bands make it big after their first CD, but are never to be heard from again. Petty, on the other hand, has distinguished himself from these one hit wonders.

Petty: Old Reliable
By Roger Catlin
Hartford Courant - April 15, 1999

ECHO |Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers | Warner Bros. Records
You have to credit Tom Petty for his reliability.

Every few years he emerges, laconically, with his crooked smile, bringing another batch of rock songs, never once bowing to prevailing trend. It has been a long time since a Tom Petty album -- even longer since a regular, full studio album with the Heartbreakers. (His previous release, in 1996, was a soundtrack "She's the One"; 1994's "Wildflowers" was technically a solo album; aside from a greatest-hits collection and a boxed set, the only other thing this decade from the band was 1991's "Into the Great Wide Open.")

A lot has happened since then, including a long-running marriage that ended in divorce. Some of that sadness ekes out of "Echo." But more often he tries his hardest to look on the bright side and keep things rocking a bit harder than he has in the recent past.

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CD Review: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers make the waiting worthwhile
By Bob Schildt
The Lycourier - April 15, 1999

Certainly one of the remaining legends in rock music, Tom Petty offers a level of certainty with every new album he produces. Ever since his critically acclaimed Full Moon Fever, it is obvious that Petty had certainly upped his game. Despite a somewhat disappointing soundtrack two years ago for the altogether disappointing movie "She's the One," Tom has rebounded and rejoined the Heartbreakers for one of his finest efforts of his illustrious career. The soundtrack and his 6 CD box set put off his studio work for over half a decade but the wait was definitely worth it.

Tom Petty Returns
By Patrick MacDonald
The Seattle Times - Thursday, April 15, 1999

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have come roaring back with "Echo" (Warner Bros.), one of the best albums in the band's nearly quarter-century career. The first studio release from Petty and the Heartbreakers since the disappointing 1996 soundtrack for "She's the One," its 15 cuts show Petty back in top form as a songwriter and singer, and the Heartbreakers tighter than ever.

Although some cuts are a little too familiar, with Petty resorting to tried-and-true formulas, most of the songs reflect a revitalized, confident, feisty Petty, full of swagger, energy and humor.

"Free Girl Now," already a hit single, is the kind of fist-pumping, hard-driving rock song audiences love. It's bound to be in the set list when Petty and the Heartbreakers crisscross the country this summer on a big arena tour, which is sure to play here. "About to Give Out" is another rousing rocker, also destined to energize concertgoers.

Sound Opinion
By Bartley Kives
Winnipeg Free Press -- Thursday, April 15, 1999

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers | Echo | Warner | ★★½
After flirting with fuzz-rock and dancing around with Kim Basinger's corpse in that bizarre video, Tom Petty must have lost a marble or two or 17 some time in the '90s. The squinty-eyed Bob Dylan fan that used to make good ol' honest rock 'n' roll sounds flatter than a week-old glass of ginger air on this bloodless new record, a tired rehash of previous Stones-meet-Neil Young guitar ditties and sentimental mushiness. It's tough, because Petty's the sort of guy you want to see rise from the post-grunge ashes like some sort of ragged, hoary Phoenix. But there's nothing you can do with lyrics like "She's a lonely girl, lost in the world" but cringe and hope that maybe, just maybe the next track will be better. He really is a heartbreaker.

  • 1999-04-16_Gainesville-Sun

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Tom Petty echoes the past
By Steve Morse
Gainesville Sun - Friday, April 16, 1999

With ticket prices skyrocketing for big-name rock acts, it's refreshing to see Tom Petty keeping his tickets under $50 for his summer tour.

"I don't want to wind up just playing to the elite," says Petty. "I see some people that don't mind that, but I don't think my fans would appreciate it too much.

"I think sometimes we're fools for not going for the dough, but I don't want to feel that we're taking advantage of people," adds Petty, a Gainesville native who now lives in Los Angeles. "We're not at the point where we're trying to cash in and retire or anything."

Petty, whose new album, "Echo," reaffirms his role as one of rock's great songwriters, is so adamant on the ticket issue that he also dismisses the "golden circle" seating concept that has been fashionable in recent years.

"I won't go for golden circle seating," Petty says of those higher-priced seats. "I always resisted that and have huge arguments with promoters about it. I just don't think that one part of the audience ought to be treated better than the other."

  • 1999-04-17_The-Free-Lance-Star

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Tom Petty won't back down: Singer delivers his signature rock sound on 'Echo'
By Brian McCollum
The Free-Lance Star - April 17, 1999

The math goes like this: Rock 'n' roll is simple. Tom Petty is simple. Tom Petty, then, is rock 'n' roll.

Logicians can quibble with the equation, but let's keep this, well, you know. On "Echo," Petty's 14th studio album and his first full-fledged effort with the Heartbreakers in eight years, the mode is 100 percent rock 'n' roll. Not always raucous, not even consistently upbeat, but grounded, genuine, and no-frills nonetheless.

You talk to Petty, and you get the message. The secret to long-term success? Very basic: "You just put out a good record." Selecting the right songs? Easy: "If it's not happening, there's no need to beat your head over it." Finding the right sound? Almost Zen-like: "You're given so many colors, and whatever you mix them into is what you get, you know?"

Tom Petty Gets Personal
By Jim Farber
New York Daily News - Sunday, April 18, 1999

Tom Petty ambles into a room like a cowboy who just spent too much time on his horse. He moves slowly, measuring each gesture, mirroring those movements in spare and deliberate speech.

Petty's hair isn't combed, his shirttail is untucked and his jeans fit loosely. It's just the rumpled image you'd expect from Petty, one of rock's most low-key and steady hit makers.
In both his demeanor and music, you'll find his intensity lurking below the surface. Glimpses of it arise as soon as Petty begins discussing the dramatic changes in his life and work that paved the way for his new album, Echo.

The LP arrives amid considerable fanfare. In May, Petty will be featured as VH1's Artist of the Month; on May 16, he appears on the network's Storytellers series, and in June, he begins his first tour with the Heartbreakers in four years, arriving June 30 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., and July 2 and 3 at Jones Beach Theater.

Yet all this activity surrounds Petty's most personal, revealing and saddest music to date.