Trivia / Tom Petty

  • Executive Meddling: In his 1994 song "You Don't Know How It Feels", the line "Let's roll another joint" either had "joint" reversed, making it sound like 'toinj' or edited to have "roll another joint" replaced with "hit another joint," which actually does nothing to hide the drug innuendo and actually makes it a Double Entendre, as "hit another joint" can also mean "go somewhere else."
    • Also Averted in several close-calls. In one early example, the record company wanted him to change the word "cocaine" to "champagne" in "Listen to Her Heart". The strange thing is, the context of the song makes it anti-cocaine.
    • He famously fought MCA Records (successfully) and their decision to raise the price of Hard Promises for $8.98 to $9.98 as part of a "superstar pricing" policy (Steely Dan's Gaucho and the Xanadu soundtrack were also selected; Steely Dan fought the pricing increase just like Tom did). He even threatened to name the album "The $8.98 Album".
  • Old Shame: Following the Confederate flag controversies of the 2010s, he apologised for and repudiated his use of Confederate symbols during the Southern Accents tour in the 1980s.
  • The Pete Best: The other guys from Mudcrutch that didn't go on to be part of the Heartbreakers (Tom Leadon and Randall Marsh) were this until that band reformed in 2007 and put out two acclaimed albums. Instead, the person that best fits this trope is Jim Lenahan, who was Mudcrutch's original lead singer, whose departure allowed Petty (the band's bassist) to take over as frontman. A few years later, as Mudcrutch was transitioning into the Heartbreakers, Petty asked Lenahan if he wanted to be the band's stage and lighting director. He accepted, and he remains in that role to this day.
  • Promoted Fanboy: During his career, Petty got to work with many of the musicians he grew up idolizing. He befriended his boyhood hero George Harrison and played with him in The Traveling Wilburys, and he produced solo records for Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman of The Byrds (the later of which was the last project that Petty was involved with to be released before his death).
  • Troubled Production: Several:
    • Damn the Torpedoes, with Tom being sued by multiple parties for "breach of contract" and filing for bankruptcy, while paying for the sessions out of his own pocket.
    • Very much Southern Accents, for many reasons (it didn't help that the record company wanted the album Christmas Rushed) with the result that Tom slammed his hand into a wall and pulverized his hand.
  • What Could Have Been: After Kurt Cobain's death, Dave Grohl did a stint as a drummer for the Heartbreakers in November 1994 (which included an SNL appearance), eventually getting offered a permanent place in the band. He declined, recording what eventually became the Foo Fighters' debut album.
    • During the Southern Accents sessions, Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell would give demo tapes of instrumentals for Tom to flesh out and add lyrics and vocal melodies to. Around the same time, Don Henley was looking for collaborators for his next album and got in contact with Campbell; one of the demos Tom Petty rejected turned into "Boys Of Summer", arguably Henley's Signature Song as a solo act.
    • "Don't Come Around Here No More" was initially written with Stevie Nicks in mind - she felt she couldn't improve on the demo version that was played for her and suggested Tom keep it for himself.
    • Petty always had several different projects going on at the same time. Although it is unclear if was in the middle of working on anything right before he died, he did have plans for 2018 and beyond, including:
      • A 2018 solo tour in which he performed his 1994 Wildflowers album in its entirety
      • A follow-up to the Heartbreakers' Hypnotic Eye, as well as a third Mudcrutch record, were intended to eventually be recorded.
      • Right after his 40th anniversary tour wrapped, he planned to head into the studio to produce the second album by Los Angeles garage rock band The Shelters, who he raved about in his final interview.
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