Listen: Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll / Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers TomPettyAnything.mp3
This band got off to a slow start. Maybe it was simply his motorcycle jacket on their album cover, but Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were thrown into the punk category by US radio programmers. Those radio gate keepers were a very intimidated, non-musical and paranoid bunch. Their heyday was nearing an end.
Proving their ineptitude, to them, Talking Heads, Blondie, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Ramones, Television, The Sex Pistols, The Patti Smith Group and Eddie & The Hot Rods all sounded the same: they were punk bands the American public didn’t want to hear. Wrong and wrong.
Sharing bills with both The Ramones and Blondie were probably temporary bad moves, because on to the unplayable scrapheap they went. Funny enough, fans of those bands were the first to appreciate them. Right up to the present day, it’s hard finding many folks, regardless of musical tastes, to hate on Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
Howard Thompson was the guy who turned me on to them. He’d convinced Island in the UK to release their debut album. The single, ‘Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’, charted soon after over there, and he sent me a copy. I preferred it then, and now, to that first album’s eventual hit, ‘American Girl’ – and it unfortunately seems lost in the band’s history, never getting any mentions ever again.