Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tom Petty: Don't Come Around Here No More

Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He is best known as the lead vocalist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but is also known as a member and co-founder of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys (under the pseudonyms of Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr. and Muddy Wilbury) and Mudcrutch.

Tom Petty
He has recorded a number of hit singles with the Heartbreakers and as a solo artist, many of which remain heavily played on adult contemporary and classic rock radio. His music has been classified as rock and roll, heartland rock and even stoner rock. His music, and notably his hits, have become popular among younger generations as he continues to host sold-out shows. Throughout his career, Petty has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. In 2002, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Views on artistic control
Petty is known as a staunch guardian of his artistic control and artistic freedom. In 1979, he was dragged into a legal dispute when ABC Records was sold to MCA Records. He refused to be transferred to another record label without his consent. In May 1979, he filed for bankruptcy and was signed to the new MCA subsidiary Backstreet Records.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
In early 1981, the upcoming Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, which would become Hard Promises, was slated to be the next MCA release with the new list price of $9.98, following Steely Dan's Gaucho and the Olivia Newton-John/Electric Light Orchestra Xanadu soundtrack. This so-called "superstar pricing" was $1.00 more than the usual list price of $8.98. Petty voiced his objections to the price hike in the press and the issue became a popular cause among music fans. Non-delivery of the album and naming it Eight Ninety-Eight were considered, but eventually MCA decided against the price increase. In 1987, Petty sued tire company B.F. Goodrich for $1 million for using a song very similar to his song "Mary's New Car" in a TV commercial. The ad agency that produced the commercial had previously sought permission to use Petty's song but was refused. A judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting further use of the ad and the suit was later settled out of court.

Some have claimed that the Red Hot Chili Peppers single "Dani California", released in May 2006, is very similar to Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance". Petty told Rolling Stone, "I seriously doubt that there is any negative intent there. And a lot of rock 'n' roll songs sound alike. Ask Chuck Berry. The Strokes took 'American Girl' for their song 'Last Nite', and I saw an interview with them where they actually admitted it. That made me laugh out loud. I was like, 'OK, good for you' ... If someone took my song note for note and stole it maliciously, then maybe [I'd sue]. But I don't believe in lawsuits much. I think there are enough frivolous lawsuits in this country without people fighting over pop songs."

Tom Petty & Stevie Nicks
'Stop Draggin My Heart Around'
"Don't Come Around Here No More" is a song written by Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and David A. Stewart of the Eurythmics. It was released in February 1985. The original inspiration was a romantic encounter that Stewart had with Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac. Dave Stewart explained that the title's phrase was actually uttered by Nicks. She had broken up with Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh the night before, and invited Stewart to her place for a party after an early Eurythmics show in Los Angeles. Stewart did not know who she was at the time, but went anyway. When the partygoers all disappeared to a bathroom for a couple of hours to snort cocaine, he decided to go upstairs to bed. He woke up at 5am to find Nicks in his room trying on Victorian clothing and described the entire scenario as very much reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. Later that morning, she told Walsh, "Don't come around here no more".  A few days later Stewart was staying with producer Jimmy Iovine, who was working on Stevie's Bella Donnaalbum. Stewart played him his demo, and they started writing the song for Stevie. Stewart didn't know that Nicks and Iovine were once a couple, and when she came over to record the song, tensions boiled over and she left in a huff. Iovine decided to give Tom Petty the song, and had him come by, where they finished it up. Petty and Nicks had worked with Iovine on the duet "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," which went on Stevie's album, so it was only fair that Petty got this one.