The Petty Archives

Runnin' down the DREAM
By Larry Rodgers
The Arizona Republic - February 3, 2008

Classic catalog makes Tom Petty a natural for Super Bowl show
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers have recorded a string of timeless hits rivaled by only a few other elite acts. Their infectious, jangly rock draws concert fans from their teens to their 60s, has earned respect from peers and has landed the group in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Free Fallin', American Girl , I Won't Back Down, Breakdown, Learning to Fly, Refugee - that quiver of hits that incite mass sing-alongs in concert made the Grammy-winning singer-guitarist a solid choice to perform tonight at Super Bowl XLII.

"Tom Petty writes quintessential American rock and roll," says Howard Kramer, curatorial director for the hall of fame in Cleveland. "His body of work completely stands the test of time."

Petty says making memorable songs that defy musical trends always has been the priority of the group, which was spawned in Florida.

Petty wins over crowd with classic hits
By Larry Rodgers
The Arizona Republic - February 4, 2008

Classic rocker Tom Petty listened to his heart and staged an anthem-filled halftime show that had smiling fans singing along at Super Bowl XLII.

Performing on a lighted red stage shaped like the logo used by his band, the Heartbreakers - a heart pierced by a Flying V guitar - Petty stuck to recognizable hits from the first half of his 32-year career.

The show was more low-key than last year's acclaimed set by Prince, and most fans stayed in their seats at halftime to take in Petty's classics.

Surrounded on the field by 1,000 fans who'd been recruited to cheer during his 12-minute set, Petty launched things with one of his most famous tunes, American Girl. The 1976 song is quintessential American rock and roll, fitting for a football game watched by nearly 100 million in the United States.

Tom Petty rocks halftime show
By Rob Longley
CANOE - February 4, 2008

GLENDALE, Ariz. - He's no Mick Jagger and the Boys (two years ago) or even Prince (last year) but Tom Petty rocked out the Super Bowl halftime show rather nicely.

It certainly livened up the proceedings after a dull first half in Super Bowl XLII, which saw the New England Patriots clinging to a 7-3 halftime lead.

Performing on a funky guitar-shaped stage, Petty opened with one of his classics, American Girl, to the delight of the sellout crowd at University of Phoenix Stadium and a made-up mosh pit of young Phoenix-area kids.

Halftime belongs to the Heartbreakers
By Jim DeRogatis
Chicago Sun-Times - February 4, 2008

In the four years since Nipplegate, the infamous wardrobe malfunction that guaranteed that MTV will never produce another Super Bowl halftime show, the NFL has played it safe with a procession of classic-rock heroes: Paul McCartney (2005), the Rolling Stones (2006) and Prince (2007).

To this list we can now add Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who outshined them all with a simple but stellar turn at Super Bowl XLII in Arizona on Sunday night.

Thanks to their leader's charmingly low-key and laconic persona and the seemingly effortless anthem nature of many of their songs, it has long been entirely too easy to take the Heartbreakers for granted. Some good radio hits and solid performers onstage, some rock fans might say. But no way are they in the same league as McCartney or the Stones.

Here I have to disagree: An argument can be made that if we set aside flash and pedigree and strictly judge the musical merits, no other American or British rock band has been as worthy of stadium status for the last 32 years as the Heartbreakers.

Steady-as-it-goes Petty show
By Greg Kot
Chicago Tribune - February 4, 2008

NFL won't back down from rolling out veteran acts since Janet Jackson debacle
The Type-A personalities in charge of the NFL and its precious image don't like surprises, and they picked a fail-safe performer for their Super Bowl halftime show Sunday.

Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers are rock-'n'-roll lifers who have consistently delivered solid songs and shipshape performances for 30 years. The only hint of glitz came at the outset: an aerial shot that showed a giant, neon-lit replica of a Flying V guitar piercing the heart-shaped stage. That was one of those so-cheesy-it's-cool moments left over from '70s arena concerts, an acknowledgment that rock shows on TV are frankly pretty boring. So why not go for a little spectacle?

But Petty and the Heartbreakers don't do spectacle. They're a bar band -- and a very good one. With his Southern drawl and sleepy-eyed expression, the bearded Petty never gave the impression that this was anything but another gig. He put the focus squarely on the songs.

The Stubborn Voice of a Troubadour
By Jon Pareles
The New York Times - February 4, 2008

Tom Petty was not an obvious choice for halftime entertainment at Super Bowl XLII. His most recent album, "Highway Companion," came out in 2006, and he is by no means a staple of pop radio or MTV. Petty, 57, is yet another of the mature performers chosen for the Super Bowl halftime since Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction in 2004.

But Petty and his band, the Heartbreakers, are still touring arenas -- his next tour starts in May -- and the brawny, ringing riffs of his songs still give audiences clear arena-rock cues. From the first chords of "Free Fallin' " on Sunday night, tens of thousands of cellphones were lit up and waving in the air.

Tom Petty plays it cool at Super Bowl
By Derrik J. Lang
USA Today - February 4, 2008

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' surprisingly subdued Super Bowl halftime show was as uncomplicated in person as it looked on television. There were no wardrobe -- or any other kind -- of malfunctions.

Moments before the performance, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers calmly waited on the Patriots' side of the field. Once given the go signal, the musicians quickly took the stage, picked up their instruments and started performing. They made playing a concert for about 100 million people look almost effortless.

Petty Sees Beyond Hype, Plays Solid Set
By Curtis Ross
The Tampa Tribune - February 4, 2008

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' unpretentious, no-frills rock 'n' roll might seem out of place amid the glitz
and glamour now associated with Super Bowl halftime shows.

But the six-piece crew held strong in front of what probably was its biggest ever television audience.

The show opened in darkness as an illuminated outline of a Gibson Flying V guitar moved toward and eventually pierced a heart to form a stage shaped like the Heartbreakers' logo.

A blast of pyrotechnics - the sort of rock show cliche in which Petty never indulges - announced the start of the set before Petty and Mike Campbell's guitars kicked off "American Girl."

Perseverance pays off for Tom and Tom
By Mike Bianchi
Orlando Sentinel - February 5, 2008

If you want to attain Super Bowl glory, reach your professional pinnacle and walk in the pantheon of legends, take it from two guys I've known for a long time.

Take it from Tom and Tom.

Tom Petty and Tom Coughlin.

One's a slow-talking, laid-back old rocker. The other's a yelling, screaming, hard-line old coach. But as the Super Bowl unfolded Sunday night, I couldn't help but marvel at how similar their paths to greatness turned out to be. They both made it big because, more than anything, they are two of the most driven, dedicated men in the history of their professions.