The Petty Archives

Review: Tom Petty's Surrealistic Visions
By Peter Watrous
The New York Times - February 4, 1990

Of all the rock-and-roll stars from the mid-1970's who are still working, Tom Petty seems the least dated and the most eccentric.

Mr. Petty writes with a gorgeously creepy leer that infects even his happiest songs with a touch of paranoia and misanthropy. Combined with nicely stagnant tempos, his lyrics make his songs surreal. And his videos, which are inseparable from the songs, add to the surrealism by borrowing imagery from "Alice in Wonderland," using grotesque close-ups and capturing the already surreal pastel blankness of southern California.

But Mr. Petty can be other things, too, and on Wednesday night at Nassau Coliseum he and his band, the Heartbreakers, managed to bring the natural good-time sounds of a bar band to an auditorium show. That is hard to do.

Tom Petty delivers the goods for Providence
By Colin Woodard
The Tufts Daily - Monday, February 5, 1990

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers treated the crowd at Thursday night's Providence show to an enjoyable evening tour of Petty's quarter-century accumulation of southern rock. Petty, confident and comfortable, sang from a stage adorned with medieval glaves, pillar-sized pole arms, a full suit of armor and a stuffed polar bear.

"Tonight is Mike Campbell's birthday," declared Petty early on at the spotlight passed over to Campbell, the Heartbreaker's lead guitarist. "Anything can happen on Mike's birthday."

A lot did happen on Mike's birthday, so much that many were curious if the lead guitarist would be celebrating another birthday when the band comes to Boston this month.

The Year In Music
By Debby Levinson, Marie E.V. Coppola, and Annabelle Boyd
The Tech - Tuesday, February 6, 1990

Tom Petty -- Full Moon Fever
Petty's first solo effort is even more satisfying that his already fine work with the Heartbreakers. He owes a large deby to the folk-rock of the 60's, a debt he repays with his stellar cover of the Byrds' "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better When You're Gone." There isn't a weak track on the album, and if this is an example of Petty's most mature work, his next recording with the Heartbreakers should be spectacular.

Tom Petty Plays At Spectrum
By Scott Brodeur
The Philadelphia Inquirer - February 7, 1990

Try to name an American band better than Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are going through a divorce. Bob Dylan never really had a band. And REM just hasn't been around long enough.

Since breaking out of Gainesville, Fla., in 1976 with a strong, self-titled debut, Petty and his powerful, four-piece band have clawed their way to the top with a versatile, catchy and accessible style of rock.

The group proved that with a smorgasbord of hits last night that the sellout crowd at the Spectrum gobbled up.

Top 40 Survey
By Steve Cruse
The Daily Iowan - February 8, 1990

Tom Petty, "Free Fallin'" -- I know it's later for additional '80s retrospectives, but it occurred to me recently that the past decade could well be designated the Era of the Ominously Twisted Love Song. Think about it: Over the last 10 years, we had "Tainted Love," "When Doves Cry," "With Or Without You," "The One I Love," "Love Will Tear Us Apart," "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," everything by the Cure, and now this -- the most delicately frightening serenade since "Patience." It's rather incredible.

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Petty Is A Heartbreaker At Coliseum
By Jeff Ruisi
The Stony Brook Statesman - February 8, 1990

Petty Not Trivial
Tom Petty has been in and out of the spotlight since the beginning of his musical career. But Petty has the right to the rewards and respect that he is finally getting. With his new hit album, Full Moon Fever, Petty has finally achieved the quality and sincerity that he has been looking for in his music. Although, on the album, he doesn't play with the Heartbreakers, he wouldn't think twice about not touring with them.

The Heartbreakers are Petty's equals, and when they play together they play as a whole, as they did Wednesday night, when they took the stage, at the Nassau Coliseum, as a full and complete force.

They came to do one thing, play music. There wasn't a fancy light show nor was the band jumping around like a circus act; this just isn't Petty's style. He is laid back and portrays a very relaxed image, and his music compliments this. With such hits like "Free Fallin'" and "Face in the Crowd," Petty promotes a philosophy, which is at times soothing and at times heartbreaking.

Lenny Kravitz Doesn't Rule, Tom Petty At His Peak
By Amy Longsdorf
The Morning Call - February 10, 1990

During his opening set Tuesday night at Philadelphia's Spectrum, Lenny Kravitz, sporting granny glasses and dreadlocks, sang songs of peace, love and understanding. Unfortunately, the singer's well-meaning anthems -- such as "Freedom Train" and "Does Anybody Out There Even Care" -- have scant melodic content and little subtlety. Nearly every number in Kravitz' 35-minute set was punctuated by "Hey Jude"-like primal screams and fuzzy, meandering guitar solos. Worse yet was Kravitz' cockamamie cover of Hendrix's "If 6 Was 9," which only widened the gap between the singer and his musical heirs.

The finest moments of Kravitz' set came during slow-groovers like "My Precious Love" and especially the title track of his debut LP, "Let Love Rule," perhaps the singer cut his insinuating five-member back-up band more slack. Karl Dennison's saxophone solos and keyboardist Ken Crouch's organ pounding represented some of the evening's high points.

Petty, on the other hand, is clearly at the peak of his powers as a singer and a songwriter. Playing with his longtime co-horts, the Heartbreakers, the singer moved easily from jingle-jangle folk to free-wheeling rock 'n' roll.

Petty chose well from his extensive catalog. There were just enough crowd favorites, like "Breakdown," "Free Fallin'" and "Refugee," to balance some of the less-familiar, more-offbeat numbers, such as the lovely "Face In The Crowd." Bravo to Petty and band for a two-hour show completely lacking in cliche and pretense.

Petty concert approaches
By Sarah Chesney
The Augustana Observer - February 15, 1990

Tom Petty, on his latest tour, will be bringing his great musical talents to Iowa City, Iowa on Saturday, February 17.

Petty, along with his band The Heartbreakers, will be performing Petty's latest hits, such as "Free Fallin'," off his newest solo album Full Moon Fever, as well as hits recorded with The Heartbreakers. The opening act for Tom Petty will feature the musical talents of Lenny Kratviz.

Petty Goes For Broke And Horizon Crowd Loves It
By Greg Kot
Chicago Tribune - February 16, 1990

Since emigrating from Florida to Los Angeles with a band called the Heartbreakers in the mid-'70s, Tom Petty has helped define the American rock mainstream and collected a trophy case full of platinum albums.

But nothing could have prepared him for the astonishing string of successes he's had in the last year. First there was his stint in the Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne, which yielded one of 1988-89's best-selling albums.