Author(s): Andrea M. Rotondo
Tom Petty may be one of rock'n'roll's preeminent artists today - having sold more than 60-million records - but his rise to superstardom was never a foregone conclusion. His band Mudcrutch was a household name in his hometown of Gainesville, Florida, in the mid-1970s, but the band self-destructed just months after moving to Los Angeles in search of a record deal. Tom Petty and former Mudcrutch alums Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench then regrouped with Gainesville ex-pats Stan Lynch and Ron Blair to form Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 1976. The new group fought to build an audience only to endure conflict with the record label, which caused Petty to go bankrupt before emerging from a scathing lawsuit with the sweeping anthems - 'Refugee' and 'Don't Do Me Like That' - that catapulted the band's third album Damn The Torpedoes to multi-Platinum status. Tom Petty: Rock 'n' Roll Guardian is the first intimate portrait of one of the most enduring figures on rock'n'roll's world stage. Petty is the ultimate underdog that made good and his honest approach to the craft of songwriting has brought him the respect of music industry insiders and fans alike.
The soundtrack of many lives wouldn't be nearly as rich without Tom Petty's enduring body of work. Songs like 'American Girl', 'Listen To Her Heart', 'The Waiting', 'I Won't Back Down' and 'Learning to Fly' resonate with individuals from all walks of life because what Petty sings about - love won or lost and overcoming hardship - is essential to just about everyone's journey in life. Over the years, Petty has redefined the future of American music by giving a nod to rock'n'roll's forbearers while building on the very foundation they laid years ago. Tom Petty's compelling catalog illuminates the fact that he is now - and will forever be - rock'n'roll's true guardian.
Andrea M. Rotondo has followed the career of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers since the band's debut album in 1976 and has seen them perform hundreds of times both in the United States and abroad. She has written for a variety of publications like Mix and Billboard.