By Michael Quinn
TIME — May 18, 1992
As violence devoured Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King case acquittals, they leaped into action … no, not Daryl Gates and the L.A. Police — Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
Their Peace in L.A. single was produced even as the uprising unfolded about them. “I was watching the TV,” says Petty. “I was upset by it. I could either pace around the room or write a song.” In a morning, Petty penned an ominous rock dirge that condemns the results of the police-brutality trial it calls for calm (“We all feel betrayed/But we’ve got to be strong”) By mid-afternoon the band was recording the song, which arrived at radio stations a day later. “I left the mastering lab and heard it over the air driving home.” Earnings from Peace in L.A. will help rebuild the city.