- 03 Oct 17
Tom Petty’s rock’n’roll journey has been a long and often arduous one. From his early days with The Heartbreakers in the bars of Gainesville, Florida, through his collaborations with people like Bob Dylan and on to his work with one of the most successful supergroups ever, The Traveling Wilburys, his career has been littered with legal battles, personal traumas and even an attempt on his life. With his debut solo album ‘Full Moon Fever’ currently storming up the American charts, he takes a reflective look over the last ten years in the company of Liam Fay.
On the rock’n’roll highway, big star juggernauts rarely if ever dim their lights in deference to up and oncoming traffic. However, in the case of Tom Petty, many respected and established musicians have come down from their ivory towers just so they could hitch a ride with him.
From his early days, Petty has had a penchant for hanging out with superstar session-men and musicians of high repute. Indeed, his own band, The Heartbreakers, are now one of the most sought-after groups of rock henchmen in the world, with names like Benmont Tench, Mick Campbell and Howie Epstein appearing on an average of between 20 and 30 albums per year. Petty himself insists that most of his collaborations come about by accident but it’s obvious that he has a strong sense of rock’s tradition and wants to absorb as much of its legacy as possible by meeting and working with past masters.
His most recent musical co-operative venture was, of course, with the Traveling Wilburys, in which he found himself working alongside Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and the late Roy Orbison. Out of the blue, the fab five took the world’s rock charts by storm, sold more records than many of the more heavily-touted young guns (4 million worldwide, so far), revitalised a few careers and in the process became one of the most successful supergroups of all time.