He was a Heartbreaker, a Traveling Wilbury, a Hall of Famer, a father and an inspiration. Obviously the man wore many hats and he was good too. But what don’t we already know about the singer/composer? What nuances are there to discover? Read five little-known facts about beloved Tom Petty below.
1. Elvis Presley changed Petty’s life
Wildly enough, we might not have Tom Petty’s catalog of music today if it weren’t for a chance encounter with Elvis Presley.
In the summer of 1961, Petty was not quite 11 years old and living in Gainesville, Florida, where he was born. At that time, Petty’s uncle, Earl Jernigan, was working on the set of a movie called Chase this dream in Ocala, Florida, which featured Presley. Petty’s uncle had invited young Tom Petty to watch said shoot, and it was then that Petty saw the King of Rock and Roll for the first time.
“He came out beaming like an angel,” Petty said of Presley in a 2005 interview. “He seemed to shine and walk above the ground. It was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life.
He continued, “That’s what started my love of music. And I had never thought much about rock ‘n’ roll until then.
2. Petty fought for Lower the price of his record
Always a man for the people, Tom Petty made sure his fans got a fair price when it came to buying his music. In 1981, Petty was preparing to release his fourth studio album, Hard promises. Petty’s label at the time, MCA Records, announced that it intended to sell Petty’s record for $9.98 instead of the list price of $8.98.
Petty refused to release the record unless the label lowered the price; he wanted his fans to have a fair price. “If we don’t take a stand, one of these days the records will be at $20,” Petty said at the time.
MCA eventually agreed to lower the price, and the album sold for $8.98.
3. He didn’t like televised singing contests
More than likely, Petty would have turned down the opportunity to judge music competitions like american idol Where The voice. In fact, Petty was not a fan of game shows.
“If they had tried to offer my generation, someone who had won a game show, it would have been hysterical, the play would have been laughed at,” Petty said in a 2014 interview. who had broken records, it was such a different time.”
4. Petty was a voice actor
While Petty is world famous for his rock from the heart, his voice lent itself to more than just song.
Petty had a recurring role on the animated comedy series king of the hill from 2004 to 2009 as the voice actor for Elroy “Lucky” Kleinschmidt. He also starred as the mayor of Bridge City in Kevin Costner’s 1997 film. The postman.
5. Mr. Petty is technically Doctor Little
In December 2021, four years after his death, Petty received a special honorary doctorate from the University of Florida. “[He’s] widely considered among the most distinctive and influential musicians of the past 50 years,” said Joseph Glover, rector of the university.
“His presence remains strong, as evidenced by numerous radio broadcasts and the popularity of events such as Tom Petty’s birthday party held in Gainesville,” Glover added. “On the UF campus, Petty’s famous ‘I Won’t Back Down’ has become a mantra at sporting events, and I’ve personally heard the president [Kent] Fuchs sings it.
Well done, Doctor Petty.
Photo: Martin Atkins / Sacks & Co. / Cami Opera