We don’t really make bad records, though some people might like some more than others. And we have never really done a bad show. So I think in a way maybe we’ve been taken for granted. –Tom Petty
Petty knew where he stood, what he’d contributed, some others did too but often, particularly it seems in the UK, he was underestimated. He put the Roll back into Rock, stripped songs down, with lyrics that often empathised with the underdogs (He was always rooted) and so helped transform music away from 70’s excesses just as much as the Ramones.
12th June 1977, the Free Trade Hall with was when I first saw Tom Petty, a memory which never died. After the punk filled year of 76 it wasnt that easy for some people to accept his music, but for me it was a musical journey which i never left.
Of his later work Highway Companion stands out. A range of genres flow together, with the Dylanesque Down South, the mildly West Coast pop of Flirting With Time and the beautifully melancholic Square One. All are immaculately crafted yet retain a poetic simplicity.
‘Everybody has to fight to be free’ Tom sang on the track Refugee. When Petty toured with the Heatbreakers in July this year there were some critics that bemoaned the fact that band didn’t bang out more hits from the 1970’s, immune to the catalogue and mix of music Petty had produced over his 40 years in the industry. It’s unfortunate that now we now have to fight to ensure that his music, in all it’s manifestations, is heard, whilst I fear that it will just be a handful of songs that get air play.