The Petty Archives

sound off: DVD Documentary
Charleston Post & Courier -- October 25, 2007

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: "Runnin' Down A Dream (Warner Bros)" | A+
With the advent of reality television and digital video, it seems that even emerging artists often have their own "Behind the Music" episodes even before their first album is released.

Therefore, when a documentary about a seasoned, proven artist is released, it almost always deserves a look. "Runnin' Down a Dream" doesn't just deserve a look, it should be required viewing for rock fans.

Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich ("The Last Picture Show") directed this film, which tells the 30-year history of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Using photographs, live concert footage, and even home video from the band member's own collection, "Runnin' Down a Dream" tells the fascinating story of an artist who has not only written some of rock's most enduring songs, but who also took the title of one of his own songs, "I Won't Back Down," very seriously.

The stories of Petty locking horns with his record company over various issues, as well as the tales about former bandmates Stan Lynch and Howie Epstein, unfold with a storytelling style that keeps you glued to the screen.

This is easily the best music documentary to come along in years. It is a bit disconcerting that fans can only buy this DVD set at one major music retailer, but the fact that the set includes an extra DVD with a full-length concert in Petty's hometown of Gainesville, Fla., as well as a CD of rare tracks, makes this marketing inconvenience seem OK.