Rolling Stone Fact-Checks Famous Rock Songs
By Andy Greene
Rolling Stone — February 23, 2011
From Bob Dylan To Nas, 11 songs with a shaky grasp on history
Tom Petty – ‘Swinging’
Tom Petty never mentions which Sonny Liston fight he was referring to in his 1999 song “Swingin’,” but it could only be Liston’s infamous 1965 bout with Muhammad Ali. “She went down swingin’,” Petty sings near the end of the song. “Like Sonny Liston.” Just 20 seconds into the fight Liston fell down to the ground, despite the fact that Ali didn’t even make contact with him. It’s since been called the “phantom punch” by journalists and historians. People are still debating what happened that day, but Liston certainly didn’t go down swinging: He just went down.