Tom Petty: Rock'N'Roll Guardian is the first intimate portrait of one of rock’s most enduring figures.
After shaky beginnings with his first band, Mudcrutch, the boy from northern Florida founded Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 1976.
The band’s third album, Damn The Torpedoes, went multi-platinum and Tom Petty was on course to become the rock ’n’ roll fan who revered its fifties pioneers while building a career that spawned its own future classic rock ’n’ roll songs.
Tom Petty has sold over 60 million records but his rise to superstardom was never a foregone conclusion. Mudcrutch, his home-grown band from Gainesville in Florida, self-destructed soon after it relocated to Los Angeles.
Next, Petty and Mudcrutch alumni Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench regrouped with two other ex-Gainesville musicians, Stan Lynch and Ron Blair, to form Tom Petty &The Heartbreakers.
Building an audience was an uphill battle from the beginning. Misidentified as a New Wave band they soon fell out with their label over their contract, Petty was made bankrupt and not until Damn The Torpedoes did they hit the big time.
Even then new dramas threatened to cloud the band’s future although Tom Petty’s predisposition to find trouble was more than matched by his steely determination to overcome it. He was also touched by personal loss, including the deaths of Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Heartbreakers bassist Howie Epstein.
He pressed on and endures as a champion of the music and the code of ‘keep on keeping on’.
Songs like ‘American Girl’, ‘The Waiting’ and ‘I Won’t Back Down’ touch people from all walks of life because what Petty sings about – love won, love lost and hardship overcome.
Born too late to be in the vanguard of rock’n’roll first time round, he has nonetheless proved a truly memorablekeeper of the flame.
This is his story...