Rock storyteller Warren Zanes takes you on a colorful, chronological journey of Tom Petty’s life in this new authorized biography. Zanes simultaneously speaks as a fan, insider, peer and biographer, moving effortlessly between each perspective. But to be clear, this is a warts-and-all presentation, not just fluffy praise. Through interviews and first-hand accounts, he provides insight into the era, the surroundings, and the people behind the scenes of the Petty camp. This includes childhood friends, family, band members and more.
He may be a big rock star known for monster radio hits, like “Free Fallin’,” “American Girl,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” but Zanes paints him to be a guarded and reserved one and despite having his fair share of highs and lows (including divorce and heroin addiction) he did his best to stay out of the media circus and gossip rags for the majority of his career. This served him well and he’s almost flown under the rock radar, while managing to create a consistently amazing body of work, a soundtrack to many fans’ lives.
Petty clearly fought hard to keep this band of brothers together and this could be his greatest achievement … demonstrating Petty’s loyalty to his craft, his music, and his band mates.
As a kid growing up in Gainesville, Florida, Petty had a dream and he followed it. Inspired by Elvis Presley at an early age, he knew he wanted to play music for a living and so in 1974, at age 24 and after ten years of playing in local bands, he packed up and drove cross-country to California to land a record deal.
At the end of the day, it comes back to his band, The Heartbreakers. Petty clearly fought hard to keep this band of brothers together and this could be his greatest achievement, as they celebrated forty years together, demonstrating Petty’s loyalty to his craft, his music, and his band mates. This is what makes him a true American treasure, a musician worth appreciating.