Skip directly to content

LA Times features Tom Petty as a Striver

Latest Blog Posts

  • November 14, 2006
    LA Times features Tom Petty as a Striver
    Tom is highlighted in LA Times West Magazine as one of 37 Southern Californias who is a striver-those who started with nothing and reached great heights. He is in great company...John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, David Geffen, Walt Disney, Jackie Robinson...legends. Below is the excerpt about Tom:

    TOM PETTY
    1950-
    Musician

    One night in the spring of 1978, a 53-year-old cabbie named Albert Ruiz wove his way down Hollywood Boulevard. The radio was tuned to KHJ. Player, Andy Gibb, Kiss-they all blended into one, and then magic: the opening riff of \"Breakdown.\" \"Tom Petty!\" shouted Ruiz. \"That song is my girlfriend\'s favorite. Is rock and roll, man!\"

    As it was for Ruiz, so it was for America. Tom Petty had come from Gainesville, Fla., where his father jumped from job to job and his mother worked for the tax collector. There was drinking. There was fighting, and then one Christmas, they gave their son a cheap acoustic guitar. He was 12, formed a band, eventually toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd and decided California was the place to be. The Heartbreakers landed in \'74. Record companies flourished. A&M, RCA, Capitol. In a phone booth at Ben Frank\'s, Petty got the number of Shelter Records. Eventually they signed him. Weeks turned into months. Living on advances. Hanging out in seedy motels. Trying to make something happen in the studio. Then one night, 2 a.m., \"Breakdown\'s\" descending chords miraculously appeared. Even the losers get lucky sometimes.

    \"Breakdown\" hit Billboard\'s Top 40 in October 1977. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
    0
webcrew's picture
on Tue, 2006-11-14 16:00
Tom is highlighted in LA Times West Magazine as one of 37 Southern Californias who is a striver-those who started with nothing and reached great heights. He is in great company...John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, David Geffen, Walt Disney, Jackie Robinson...legends. Below is the excerpt about Tom:

TOM PETTY
1950-
Musician

One night in the spring of 1978, a 53-year-old cabbie named Albert Ruiz wove his way down Hollywood Boulevard. The radio was tuned to KHJ. Player, Andy Gibb, Kiss-they all blended into one, and then magic: the opening riff of \"Breakdown.\" \"Tom Petty!\" shouted Ruiz. \"That song is my girlfriend\'s favorite. Is rock and roll, man!\"

As it was for Ruiz, so it was for America. Tom Petty had come from Gainesville, Fla., where his father jumped from job to job and his mother worked for the tax collector. There was drinking. There was fighting, and then one Christmas, they gave their son a cheap acoustic guitar. He was 12, formed a band, eventually toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd and decided California was the place to be. The Heartbreakers landed in \'74. Record companies flourished. A&M, RCA, Capitol. In a phone booth at Ben Frank\'s, Petty got the number of Shelter Records. Eventually they signed him. Weeks turned into months. Living on advances. Hanging out in seedy motels. Trying to make something happen in the studio. Then one night, 2 a.m., \"Breakdown\'s\" descending chords miraculously appeared. Even the losers get lucky sometimes.

\"Breakdown\" hit Billboard\'s Top 40 in October 1977. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.