The Biography

Book - 2015
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The New York Times Bestseller

*One of Rolling Stone 's 10 Best Music Books of 2015*

An exhilarating and intimate account of the life of music legend Tom Petty, by an accomplished writer and musician who toured with Petty

No one other than Warren Zanes, rocker and writer and friend, could author a book about Tom Petty that is as honest and evocative of Petty's music and the remarkable rock and roll history he and his band helped to write.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, with more than a little hillbilly in his blood, Tom Petty was a Southern shit kicker, a kid without a whole lot of promise. Rock and roll made it otherwise. From meeting Elvis, to seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, to producing Del Shannon, backing Bob Dylan, putting together a band with George Harrison, Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne, making records with Johnny Cash, and sending well more than a dozen of his own celebrated recordings high onto the charts, Tom Petty's story has all the drama of a rock and roll epic. Now in his mid-sixties, still making records and still touring, Petty, known for his reclusive style, has shared with Warren Zanes his insights and arguments, his regrets and lasting ambitions, and the details of his life on and off the stage.

This is a book for those who know and love the songs, from "American Girl" and "Refugee" to "Free Fallin'" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance," and for those who want to see the classic rock and roll era embodied in one man's remarkable story. Dark and mysterious, Petty manages to come back, again and again, showing us what the music can do and where it can take us.

Publisher: New York :, Henry Holt and Company,, 2015.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780805099683
Branch Call Number: 782.42166 P512Z
Characteristics: x, 323 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm


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Oct 30, 2018

Nottalottabout the person Tom Petty, his motives, his leadership style but these biographies always get me back in touch with the wonderful music and so it was worth it. This was written a couple of years before Petty died of an overdose and there was some discussion of his heroin addiction, so I guess we know how that turned out (except his widow and family state that it was a "medical" overdose). So, people ask me why I read so many of these R&R biographies and the answer is I am looking for the secrets of creativity. What's the difference between this person who achieves great success and the person who has a day job and plays gigs at night and on the weekends, all within a 50 mile radius of his/her basement apartment? Is it the willingness to handle a great deal of sacrifice at the outset? I can never get the answers from these books. It always seems like the subject just slides into fame and fortune. One thing I give the author of this tale, though, is that he acknowledges how different the music industry is now than when Petty (and most of the other R&R biography subjects) had success. Just like the whole entire world from political systems to agriculture, it's gone global, it's corporate, and it's data driven. "Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out."

Jul 27, 2018

Excellent peer-to-peer biography that fills in enigmatic singer in his family background, where he grew up, pre-Heartbreaker band, & who was in his inner circle. Tom Petty doesn't have the charisma of say Elvis & braggadocio of say Springsteen ,but his talent & longevity shined though. Interesting chapter on his half Cherokee redneck father who have inner demons trying to conform in the 1950s middle class Caucasian America.

Jan 04, 2018

Thoroughly enjoyed Zanes' "Petty" biography and listened to the Heartbreakers and to Tom Petty's solo discography along the way. It gave me a renewed sense of appreciation for all the great music Tom Petty gave us, and getting a peek into his life and creative process was fascinating.

Oct 03, 2017

Devestated to hear about the loss of Tom Petty.
A great & under appreciated talent.
Sadly missed amd gone too soon.

LPL_PolliK Oct 02, 2017

RIP, Tom Petty - 10/2/2017. With a heavy heart, we say goodbye to an artist who has provided hit after hit, songs that became touchstones in our American soundtrack. His music is entwined with times in my life I'll never forget. Find out more about the man behind the tunes.

Mar 24, 2016

Tom petty's Life and Career and bands cool Book.

Jan 20, 2016

A great read. Really gets to the heart of TP and the Heartbreakers story. Not just a superficial overview. Glad to see that WPL picked it up!

LPL_DirectorBrad Nov 23, 2015

Fantastic biography of a life and the life of a band. Zanes is a great interviewer and fleshes out the story of Petty and the Heartbreakers very well. Not to be missed if you're a music bio fan.


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