Rock Special — Fall 1980

Editor’s Note: This … article thing …. strikes me as extremely fangirlish and hilarious. I’m easily amused.

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Tom Petty: Heartstopping Heartbreaker On The Attack!
Rock Special — Fall 1980

Along with his group the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty is wreaking havoc as rock’s new sensation. We’ve got some great news on Tom’s next album, so before he stops your heart, read on!
Hot flash Tom Petty fans! Stop right there! Hold everything! Tom Petty, the rock and roll animal of Southern California, is finishing the tracks for his new fourth release as we write — and it’s gonna be HOT!

In fact, Tom’s coming back better than ever now. If you were ecstatic over third l.p. “Damn the Torpedoes,” catch your breath — and hold it. Tom’s new tunes’ll blow you away!

Tom hasn’t been this prolific in years. Indeed he has sometimes bemoaned a less than lightning-speed songwriting output. Tom has always had high standards for himself and this time out he’s delivering high-speed rock and roll songwriting, studio time and revved-up sound. It’s a relief to hear that he’s finally making a fourth album to satisfy the rock and roll rank of fans and listeners alike all over the U.S.A. To be the Best you gotta keep it up, right?

For Tom Petty fans, “Damn the Torpeodes” was your hungry basic rock and roll choice from the first minute it hit record racks. And it was never far from your turntable in the weeks that followed, especially when he toured the States to support the new album’s release. The fact is that it was one of those rock and roll albums that stick in the mind, to a lesser extent maybe than his first album, but important in that nonetheless.

This fourth album release from Rockin’ Tom Petty promises to be as challenging as anything he’s done to date. In just the sheer speed with which he has done and is describing it, it would seem that there must be some blistering rock and roll being brewed. Not to mention an equal and more emotionally affecting complement of the heavy, well-written and subtly sung mysterious love songs about elusive females who never seem to hang around long enough and leave bittersweet memories behind. Tom’s always had that stuff under his hat as well when in his hottest periods of rock songwriting, so we can expect now that he’ll be creating some of our dreams as well as dance numbers for the next few months.

It is interesting to find Tom being paid more attention to recently as “the next Mainstream New Waver,” or “that guy who usedta tour with the Ramones.” The fact is that Tom wears no tag except for “good rock and roller” (he hopes!), and doesn’t want to wear one. So those of you who are quick to attach one to talents like Petty’s to try and pin down their uniqueness had best listen twice and then think. There’s stuff going on in Tom’s music that’s more together than most of the New Wave and tighter than anything we’ve heard since the Sixties when it was a flourishing form.

Listeners have been reminded of the Byrds, Dylan, and groups from the Animals to the Bobby Fuller Four. Despite moving from Florida’s Daytona Beach where he started, to California where Leon Russell got him recording for his L.A. label Shelter Records, Tom has resisted the impulse to do either an Allman Brothers or a Beach Boys on himself. That’s mostly because that’s not where he was coming from musically in the first place. The kind of the music he saw around him almost made Tom Petty get physically sick at times. He was no Lynyrd Skynyrd or Eagles and had no intention of becoming so.

He would never compromise his artistic intentions to make rock and roll in favor of the almightly buck or the trend of audience taste. Luckily for him, Leon Russell and Denny Cordell shared his dream and liked his style enough to support Petty through the first rough year it took to go national. From California and Florida support gigs and clubs Tom had soon moved up to national touring with the Ramones and was soon more of a mover in the record stores than those critics’ pets have been to date. From critic and club phenomenon, Tom has moved into the mass success rates.

Recent reports from Europe also indicate that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers went down a treat with Europeans on their winter tour there in 1979-80. So rejoice that Tom Petty is out there to satisfy the hordes and grab a ticket when he tours. Real rock and roll is back at last! Anything that’s rock and roll is fine, but too much Tom Petty ain’t enough!

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