Gift guide: Rock & Roll Books
By Darcie Stevens
The Austin Chronicle - Friday, November 30, 2007
Rock & Roll Heaven | by Robert Dimery and Bruno MacDonald | Barron's Educational Series, 256 pp., $24.99
The Police: 1978-1983 | by Lynn Goldsmith | Little, Brown & Co., 192 pp., $29.99
Runnin' Down a Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | by Peter Bogdanovich, edited by Warren Zanes | Chronicle Books, 237 pp., $39.95
Everyone knows the 27 Club – Jimi, Janis, Jim, Brian, and Kurt – but in a lifestyle notorious for excess, Robert Dimery and Bruno MacDonald's list of 120 fatalities takes the glamour out of glam. From spreads of Mississippi blues legend Robert Johnson (poisoning) to the Godfather of Soul (heart failure), Rock & Roll Heaven plays historian, photographer, and gossip hound, and it's as addictive as Tim Buckley's – er – Keith Moon's – um – Tommy Bolin's – man – Hillel Slovak's vice. As sad and morbid as the plane crashes and cancers are, this is a trivia lover's must-have, a fascinating collection of music history. Walking her own path of era-defining rock, famed photographer Lynn Goldsmith compiled five years of Police portraits and live shots for her piece of the reunion. The Police: 1978-1983 is gorgeous. Chock-full of personality from the trio that almost never was, as well as a poolside Speedo sequence that might win over a whole new generation of Roxannes, the matte hardcover is interspersed with quotes from Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers that paint more than a candlelit picture of the band. Goldsmith also makes an appearance in Runnin' Down a Dream, the companion coffeetable book to Peter Bogdanovich's four-hour documentary on the legend that is Tom Petty. Matching interviews Bogdanovich conducted with the Heartbreakers to rare photos, paraphernalia, and stories from Earl, Dream is the story of a band from Gainesville, Fla., that defined American rock & roll. It's a complete experience flipping through these glossy pages that run from generation to generation, from Mudcrutch to the Traveling Wilburys, helped along the way by Petty's eldest, Adria, and friends like Johnny Depp. As Petty says: "I mean, you won't see me taking all of this down to the pawnshop. I plan on keeping it."
Tom Petty to Play Super Bowl Halftime Show
The Epoch Times - December 6, 2007
(Reuters) -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will play the coveted halftime slot at the Super Bowl in Arizona on Feb. 3, organizers of the year's No. 1 television event said Sunday.
This year, nearly 140 million Americans watched Prince play at the football extravaganza. Other recent acts have included the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and U2.
The National Football League's annual championship game will be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, near Phoenix. It will be televised by Fox.
Petty's performance will mark a rare occasion where the veteran rocker is closely aligned with a corporate sponsor, in this case the North American arm of Japanese tire firm Bridgestone Corp., which has lent its name to the halftime event.
Petty, 57, is an outspoken opponent of sponsorship of rock concerts, and his last album with the Heartbreakers, 2002's "The Last DJ," was a pointed assault on corporate greed. His spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
Petty picked for Super Bowl show
By Bill Dean
Gainesville Sun - Wednesday, December 5, 2007
GAINESVILLE - In October, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers basked in the release of a Peter Bogdanovich documentary and video boxed set, and on Sunday the Gainesville native and band were tapped for another singular accomplishment - playing the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 3 in Phoenix.
Joining such other halftime alumni as the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Prince (and getting the nod over such rumored candidates as The Eagles and Bruce Springsteen, according to Rolling Stone magazine), Petty's choice represents a selection both edgy and popular, industry watchers say.
"It says a lot for the Super Bowl producers, for one thing, to have that kind of taste, and I think it's smart of Tom Petty to do that," said Ray Waddell, Billboard magazine's executive director of content for touring and live entertainment. "He doesn't do a lot of these commercial type ventures. And he's maintained a mystique; he's not everywhere you look."
Editor's Note: This article frustrates me.
Rock 'n' roll is sure Petty sometimes
By Ken Hoffman
Houston Chronicle - Thursday, December 6, 2007
I happened to mention that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers aren't exactly legendary rock 'n' roll superstars - just my opinion - so why were they picked to play the halftime show at Super Bowl XLII in February?
In recent years, actually since 1993 when Michael Jackson and - how's this for irony? - 3,500 local children performed during the Super Bowl, the gridiron stage has been reserved for the biggest names in show business. Since then, Diana Ross, ZZ Top, Stevie Wonder, Phil Collins, Aerosmith, U2, Paul McCartney, Shania Twain, Prince and the Rolling Stones have played the Super Bowl halftime show.
Oh, yeah, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake made a little noise during the Super Bowl held in Houston in 2004. Few remember, though, that Kid Rock, P. Diddy, Nelly and Jessica Simpson also performed during that halftime show.
Runnin' Down A Dream
By Andrew Murfett
Melbourne Age - December 6, 2007
Every great rock artist deserves a glorious audio-visual package like this.
Every great rock artist deserves a glorious audio-visual package like this. Petty and his band the Heartbreakers are still close to the peak of their powers decades in. This four-disc box-set is nirvana for fans. Director Peter Bogdanovich's film occupies two discs and charts Petty's life growing up in Florida and being hypnotised by Elvis Presley in grade five. After breaking out of Gainesville, Petty and band drove to LA. "The first time you hear a Tom Petty song, it sounds like a classic," Eddie Vedder says, in the first of many celebrity-laden tributes. About a quarter of the way in, things get very interesting and candid. There are drugs, of course, and tawdry revelations about his family life. The discretion of the filmmaker with what could have been grubby material is admirable. Listening to the music on offer, it's intriguing to hear how much of the band's sound has influenced contemporary acts such as the Strokes. Two further discs, one featuring a 30th anniversary concert and another jammed full of fan-friendly musical curios ice this package. Now, can we finally have another Tom Petty tour, please?
DVD review: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream
By Joel Selvin
The San Francisco Chronicle - December 9, 2007
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: RUNNIN' DOWN A DREAM | 2007 | NOT RATED | WARNER BROS. | $29.99 (FOUR DISCS)
Although four hours seems like a long time for a documentary on Tom Petty, left, and the Heartbreakers, "Runnin' Down a Dream" doesn't seem the slightest bit fat or indulgent, and it's loaded with an astonishing amount of great music - enough to surprise even longtime fans. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, who began his career with a highly regarded documentary about director John Ford, the film benefits immensely from extensive home-movie archives that capture the band's earliest days in intimate detail. All the principals talk - Petty comes off as a decent, no-bull guy as amazed by his success as any of us are - but it is the performance footage that lights up the screen. They treat potentially delicate issues, such as the firing of longtime drummer Stan Lynch and the heroin overdose death of bassist Howie Epstein, without flinching. Perhaps because he is a down-to-earth guy, Petty may have been underrated over the years, but the sheer quantity of good music packed into the two-disc film is staggering - from the beginnings as a band called Mudcrutch to the 2006 30th anniversary concert at Gainesville, Fla., which is included in its entirety on a third disc (a fourth disc contains an audio CD of previously unreleased nuggets from the documentary's soundtrack). "Runnin' Down a Dream" rocks so hard, the four spellbinding hours just fly by. Don't miss this.
Tom Petty: How I found the real Tom
By Andrew Perry
The Daily Telegraph - December 13, 2007
Peter Bogdanovich's four-hour film about veteran US rocker Tom Petty is one of the best 'rock docs' for a long time. He tells Andrew Perry the secret of his success
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises in pop in 2007 came this summer, when a re-issue of two seemingly forgotten LPs from the late 1980s by the Travelling Wilburys topped the album charts. The band was a supergroup, featuring Bob Dylan, ex-Beatle George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne from ELO, and Tom Petty.
At the time, this astonishing aggregation of top-flight artists was rather frowned upon, their easy-going breed of rock viewed as a waste of talent, an indulgence from indolent superstars. On release back then, the two albums barely scraped into the Top 20. The timelessness of the music has eventually won through.
In a new movie documentary about Petty, it emerges that the seeds of the Traveling Wilburys were sown at his birthday party in London, on the night of the great storm of 1987. Petty and his band, the Heartbreakers, had been touring as Bob Dylan's backing band, and, while the wind howled outside, he was introduced to Harrison and Lynne, who had been invited along by Dylan's management. A couple of months later, the Wilburys were up and running.
Gift guide: Music DVDs
By Darcie Stevens
The Austin Chronicle -- Friday, December 21, 2007
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers | Runnin' Down a Dream (Warner Bros.) | ★★★★½
Tom Petty is the Ralph Nader of rock & roll, a true consumer advocate. And his Heartbreakers – Mike Campbell (guitar), Benmont Tench (keys), Ron Blair (bass), Steve Ferrone (drums), and multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston – have withstood more than most could stomach. Director Peter Bogdanovich brings in his best work since 1972 Oscar winner Paper Moon: the four-hour-plus Runnin' Down a Dream, oral history of an American band for the ages, from Petty's childhood to last year's 30th anniversary tour. Comprehensive is an understatement given candid interviews with Heartbreakers past and present; producers Jimmy Iovine, Jeff Lynne, and Rick Rubin; and celebrity superfans. The Traveling Wilburys in session – Petty, Roy Orbison, Lynne, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison in a candy shop – live shots, and numerous videos propel this Dream. The four-disc set comprises the 2-DVD documentary, 2006's homecoming concert in Gainesville, Fla., and an unreleased soundtrack (a Saturday Night Live performance with Dave Grohl on drums, Top of the Pops in 1977, and Hank Williams' "Lost Highway"). "I don't really understand it," admits Petty of his songwriting, "but I do know that the best ones often just appear. You're sitting there with your guitar or the piano, and bang! There it is. It just falls out of the sky. ... It's a spiritual thing."
Watch This: 'Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream'
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Monday, December 31, 2007
Although four hours seems like a long time for a documentary on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Runnin' Down a Dream" doesn't seem the slightest bit fat or indulgent, and it's loaded with an astonishing amount of great music -- enough to surprise even longtime fans.
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, the film benefits immensely from extensive home-movie archives that capture the band's earliest days in intimate detail.
The sheer quantity of good music packed into the two-disc film is staggering -- and a 2006 30th-anniversary concert is included in its entirety on a third disc (a fourth disc contains an audio CD).