Tom Petty

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I think for it to be unhip to be idealistic is weird, you know? I mean, even all the best rebels to me had some sense of hope in them.

Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty (20 October 1950 - 2 October 2017) was an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He was the frontman of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and was a founding member of the late 1980s supergroup Traveling Wilburys.


I don't understand the ones that have no sense of hope and invest in hate. That's not gonna work out, you know? It's a waste of your time.
It's alright if you love me,
It's alright if you don't.
I'm not afraid of you runnin' away,
Honey I get the feeling you won't.

Interview With Alan Bangs (1999)

Interview with Alan Bangs (1999)
  • Young people are very cynical now, you know? Very cynical! They've been taught cynicism, they've been — they've been bred cynicism. So, I think it's important to give them hope and realism in the same package, you know? You can be realistic but there should be — there should be hope in it. Because hope's what we're about. If we don't have hope then we don't go on.
  • I think for it to be unhip to be idealistic is weird, you know? I mean, even all the best rebels to me had some sense of hope in them.
  • I don't understand the ones that have no sense of hope and invest in hate. That's not gonna work out, you know? It's a waste of your time!

Rolling Stone interview (2002)

"Tom Petty Is Pissed" in Rolling Stone (23 October 2002)
  • You don't hear any more of, 'Hey, we did something creative and we turned a profit, how about that?' Everywhere we look, we want to make the most money possible. This is a dangerous, corrupt notion. That's where you see the advent of programming on the radio, and radio research, all these silly things. That has made pop music what it is today. Everything — morals, truth — is all going out the window in favor of profit.
  • I don't think it's a good attitude in your life to feel that you have to be rich to have self-esteem. You know, I saw a billboard in New York I wish I had photographed. It was for the TNN network. It said three words against a patriotic background of red, white and blue — BIGGER, YOUNGER, RICHER. Now, I find that fascinating: 'Bigger, younger, richer.' This whole idea of being wealthy has gone too far. I never ride in a limousine, you know. I feel gross if I get in a limousine. One good thing about the sixties was it sort of was the opposite back then. You looked silly trying to appear rich.
  • It's funny how the music industry is enraged about the Internet and the way things are copied without being paid for. But you know why people steal the music? Because they can't afford the music. I'm not condoning downloading music for free. I don't think that's really fair, but I understand it. If you brought CD prices back down to $8.98, you would solve a lot of the industry's problems.
  • An act like ours wouldn't even be around today if someone hadn't brought us along and let us make mistakes and grow at our own pace. Today it seems that if you don't have a hit — or even if you do — they have no use for you the next time.
  • I'm frustrated by what I hear. Maybe it's not meant for me. Personally, I'm way too bright for a lot of the hip-hop lyrics to affect. I'm much too smart to think that jewelry or how cool I am is really going to change much about my personality. If you're dumb enough that it entertains you, have a great time. But I am seeking more than that.
  • I don't believe in censorship, but I do believe that an artist has to take some moral responsibility for what he or she is putting out there. And I think a lot of these young kids are going to have to learn the hard way before they realize that you can actually do some damage if you're being careless or frivolous in what you're saying.
  • I think television's become a downright dangerous thing. It has no moral barometer whatsoever. If you want to talk about something that is all about money, just watch the television. It's damn dangerous. TV does not care about you or what happens to you. It's downright bad for your health now, and that's not a far-out concept. I think watching the TV news is bad for you. It is bad for your physical health and your mental health. The music business looks like, you know, innocent schoolboys compared to the TV business. They care about nothing but profit.
  • Artists aren't necessarily business people. And they aren't necessarily aware of all the things that go on in their names. Some just want to make some music, but there is a lot of greed among artists as well. Whether or not we know it, we are all to blame. I think it's time — starting with the artist — to try to be a little more responsible and aware of what goes on in our name.

Esquire interview (2006)

"What I've Learned: Tom Petty" in Esquire (30 June 2006)
  • I feel sorry for kids these days. They get so much homework. Remember the days when we put a belt around our two books and carried them home? Now they're dragging a suitcase. They have school all day, then homework from six until eleven. There's no time left to be creative. The hardest part for me is when my thirteen-year-old is complaining about the workload. I agree with him. I'm supposed to be responsible and support the teacher. But it's like, "You're right, son. This is bullshit."
  • If we're born in God's image, then God knows how we can fuck up. And he knows that you really didn't mean it.

Interview with Warren Zanes (2008)

Interview with Warren Zanes
  • It’s very uncomfortable to hear them used when I don’t agree with what’s being said. But I recognize that those songs have entered into a bigger life, a life all their own. They belong to the audience. How they’re used isn’t always something I can control.
    • Commenting on his music being used in political campaigns


  • It's alright if you love me,
    It's alright if you don't.
    I'm not afraid of you runnin' away,
    Honey I get the feeling you won't.
  • There is no sense in pretending,
    Your eyes give you away.
    Something inside you is feeling like I do,
    We've said all there is to say.
    • Breakdown
  • Well she was an American girl, raised on promises.
    She couldn't help thinkin' that there was a little more to life somewhere else.
    After all, it was a great big world with lots of places to run to.
    Yeah, and if she had to die tryin', she had one little promise she was gonna keep.
  • And for one desperate moment
    There he crept back in her memory.
    God it's so painful, something that's so close
    Is still so far out of reach.
    • American Girl
  • Little miss queen of hearts you're a strange thing.
    Why you wanna stay so vague?
    I'm wandering through this mess you've made
    To see what I can save.
    • Too Much Ain't Enough
  • I need to know(I need to know)
    I need to know(I need to know)
    If you think you're gonna leave,
    Then you better say so.
  • She's gonna listen to her heart.
    It's gonna tell her what to do.
    She might need a lot of loving,
    But she don't need you.
  • Restless sleep, twisted dreams
    Moving targets, silent screams.
    Restless city, restless street
    Restless you, restless me.
    • Restless
  • My baby is a rock n' roller.
And I'd show you stars you never could see
Baby, it couldn't have been that easy to forget about me.
  • Somewhere, somehow somebody
    Must have kicked you around some.
    Tell me why you wanna lay there
    And revel in your abandon.
    Listen it don't make no difference to me baby,
    Everybody's had to fight to be free.
    You see you don't have to live like a refugee
    • Refugee, written with Mike Campbell
  • You know, sometimes, I don't know why,
    But this old town just seems so hopeless.
    I ain't really sure, but it seems I remember the good times
    Were just a little bit more in focus.
  • It just seems so useless to have to work so hard,
    And nothin' ever really seems to come from it.
    • Here Comes My Girl
  • I just catch myself wonderin', waitin', worryin' bout some silly little things that don't add up to nothin'.
    • Here Comes My Girl
  • And I'd show you stars you never could see
    Baby, it couldn't have been that easy to forget about me.
    • Even the Losers
  • Baby, even the losers get lucky sometimes.
    Even the losers keep a little bit of pride.
    They get lucky sometimes.
    • Even the Losers
  • I was talkin' with a friend of mine,
    Said a woman done hurt his pride.
    Told him that she loved him so, then
    Turned around and let him go.
    Then he said "you'd better watch your step"
    Or you're gonna get hurt yourself.
    Someone's gonna tell you lies
    Cut you down to size...
  • Louisiana rain now is falling just like tears.
    Running down my face washing out the years.
    Louisiana rain is soaking through my shoes.
    I may never be the same when I reach Baton Rouge.
    • Louisiana Rain
  • Oh baby, don't it feel like heaven right now,
    Don't it feel like something from a dream.
  • The waiting is the hardest part.
    Every day you see one more card.
    You take it on faith, you take it to the heart.
    The waiting is the hardest part.
  • She's a woman in love
    And he's gonna break her heart to pieces.
    She don't want to see.
    She's a woman in love, but it's not me.
  • Somewhere deep in the middle of the night,
    Lovers hold each other tight.
    Whisper in their anxious ears,
    Words of love that disappear.
    • A Thing About You
  • I'm an insider, I been burned by the fire.
    And I've had to live with some hard promises.
    I've crawled through the briars,
    I'm an insider.
    • Insider
  • Good love is hard to find.
    You got lucky, babe.
    You got lucky, babe, when I found you.
  • Well I fought for you;
    I fought too hard.
    To do it all again babe,
    It's gone too far.
  • I don't believe the good times are over.
    I don't believe the thrill is all gone.
    Real love is a man's salvation;
    The weak ones fall, the strong carry on.
    • Straight Into Darkness
  • Honey don't walk out, I'm too drunk to follow.
    You know you won't feel this way tomorrow.
    Well, maybe I'm a little rough around the edges,
    Inside a little hollow.
    I get faced with some things sometimes
    That are so hard to swallow.
  • I was born a rebel
    Down in Dixie on a Sunday morning.
    Yeah, with one foot in the grave,
    And one foot on the pedal.
    I was born a rebel.
    • Rebels
  • There's a southern accent, where I come from.
    The young 'uns call it country, the Yankees call it dumb.
    • Southern Accents
  • For just a minute there I was dreaming.
    For just a minute it was all so real.
    For just a minute she was standing there, with me.
    • Southern Accents
  • Yeah and it's over before you know it.
    It all goes by so fast.
    Yeah, the bad nights last forever,
    And the good nights don't ever seem to last
    • The Best of Everything
  • Wherever you are tonight,
    I wish you the best of everything, in the world.
    And I hope you found
    Whatever you were looking for.
    • The Best of Everything
  • Take back your insurance,
    Baby nothin's guaranteed.
  • There were times apart, there were times together.
    I was pledged to her for worse or better.
    When it mattered most I let her down.
    That's the way it goes, it'll all work out.
    • It'll All Work Out
  • 'Cause it can feel like perfection,
    But never all the time.
    And you don't wanna be alone again.
    Oh my, my.
    • Ain't Love Strange
  • And no I can't find no reason to explain the way that I feel.
    I remember things being more clearer, at one time things were more real.
    • All Mixed Up
Well I won't back down,
No I won't back down.
You could stand me up at the gates of hell,
But I won't back down.
Yeah runnin' down a dream
That never would come to me.
Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads.
I'm runnin' down a dream.
  • All the vampires walkin' through the valley
    Move west down Ventura Boulevard.
    And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
    All the good girls are home with broken hearts.
  • I wanna glide down over Mulholland.
    I wanna write her name in the sky.
    Gonna free fall out into nothing.
    Gonna leave this world for a while.
    • Free Fallin'
  • Well I won't back down,
    No I won't back down.
    You could stand me up at the gates of hell,
    But I won't back down.
  • No I'll stand my ground, won't be turned around
    And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
    Gonna stand my ground,
    And I won't back down.
    • I Won't Back Down
  • Well I know what's right, I got just one life
    In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
    But I'll stand my ground
    And I won't back down.
    • I Won't Back Down
  • It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down;
    I had the radio on, I was drivin'.
    The trees went by, me and Del were singin',
    Little runaway, I was flyin'.

    Yeah runnin' down a dream
    That never would come to me.
    Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads.
    I'm runnin' down a dream.

  • I felt so good, like anything was possible.
    I hit cruise control and rubbed my eyes.
    The last three days the rain was unstoppable.
    And it was always cold, no sunshine.
    • Runnin' Down a Dream
  • But not me, baby,
    I've got you to save me.
    Aw, yer so bad.
    Best thing I've ever had.
    In a world gone mad,
    Yer so bad.
  • I remember her standing in the tall grass and cattails
    Away from the windows at the end of the day.
    Watching the men from the landing in the tall hats & coat-tails.
    She'd never look different, but something would change.
    • A Mind with a Heart of Its Own, written with Jeff Lynne
  • Well some say life
    Will beat you down,
    And break your heart,
    Steal your crown.

    So it started out
    For God-knows-where.
    I guess I'll know
    When I get there.

    • Learning to Fly
  • I don't want to end up
    In a room all alone
    Don't want to end up someone
    That I don't even know.
    • King's Highway
  • Into the great wide open,
    Under them skies of blue.
    Out in the great wide open,
    A rebel without a clue.
  • In the dark of the sun will you save me a place?
    Give me hope, give me comfort, get me to a better place?
    • The Dark Of The Sun, written with Jeff Lynne
  • Here am I a fallen arrow.
    My load is wide, my street is narrow.
    My skin is thicker, my heart is tougher.
    I don't mind workin', but I'm scared to suffer.
    You know? You know?
    • All or Nothin', written with Mike Campbell and Jeff Lynne
  • Well she grew up hard, and she grew up fast
    In the age of television.
    And she made a vow to have it all;
    It became her new religion.
    • All the Wrong Reasons, written with Jeff Lynne
  • You and I will meet again
    When we're least expecting it.
    One day in some far off place
    I will recognize your face.
    I won't say good-bye my friend,
    For you and I will meet again.
    • You & I Will Meet Again
  • I want her more than diamonds,
    I want her more than gold.
    I want her more than anything
    Anyone could hold.
    • Built to Last, written with Jeff Lynne
  • Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain.
    I feel summer creepin' in and I'm tired of this town again.
  • Oh, my, my. Oh, hell, yes.
    Honey, put on that party dress.
    Buy me a drink, sing me a song.
    Take me as I come 'cause I can't stay long.
    • Mary Jane's Last Dance
Think of me what you will,
I've got a little space to fill.
  • You belong among the wildflowers.
    You belong in a boat out at sea.
    you belong with your love on your arm.
    You belong somewhere you feel free.
    • Wildflowers
  • But let me get to the point, let's roll another joint,
    And turn the radio loud, I'm too alone to be proud.
    You don't know how it feels,
    You don't know how it feels, to be me.
  • People come, people go.
    Some grow young, some grow cold.
    • You Don't Know How It Feels
  • Think of me what you will,
    I've got a little space to fill.
    • You Don't Know How it Feels
  • It's time to move on, time to get going
    What lies ahead I have no way of knowing.
    But under my feet, baby, grass is growing.
    It's time to move on, it' s time to get going.
    • Time To Move On
  • I'll be the boy in the corduroy pants.
    You be the girl at the high school dance.
    • You Wreck Me, written with Mike Campbell
  • It's good to be king, If just for a while.
    To be there in velvet, yea to give 'em a smile.
    It's good to get high, and never comedown.
    It's good to be king of your own little town.
    • It's Good To Be King
  • Yeah, the world would swing if I were king.
    Can I help it if I still dream time to time?
    • It's Good To Be King
  • It's good to be king and have your own way,
    Get a feeling of peace at the end of the day.
    • It's Good To Be King
  • It's good to be king and have your own world
    It helps to make friends, it's good to meet girls.
    A sweet little queen who can't run away;
    It's good to be king, whatever it pays.
    • It's Good To Be King
  • Excuse me if I
    Have some place in my mind
    Where I go time to time.
    • It's Good To Be King
  • I remember feeling this way,
    You can lose it without knowing.
    You wake up and you don't notice
    Which way the wind is blowing
    • Don't Fade On Me, written with Mike Campbell
  • If we don't get to a higher place and
    Find somebody, can help somebody,
    Might be nobody no more.
    • A Higher Place
  • I'm so tired of being tired.
    Sure as night will follow day,
    Most things I worry about
    Never happen anyway.
    • Crawling Back To You
  • You follow your feelings, you follow your dreams;
    You follow the leader into the trees.
    And what's in there waiting, neither one of us knows.
    You gotta keep one eye open the further you go.
    • Wake Up Time
  • Some days are diamonds.
    Some days are rocks.
    • Walls (Circus)
  • Baby, you've got a heart so big,
    It could crush this town.
    But I can't hold out forever.
    Even walls fall down.
    • Walls (Circus)
  • I saw an angel, I saw my fate.
    I can only thank God it was not too late.
    • Angel Dream (No. 4)
  • Now I'm walkin' this street on my own,
    but she's with me wherever I go.
    • Angel Dream (No. 4)
  • I hope you never need no one,
    Hope you treasure your independence.
    I hope you never fall in love
    With someone like you.
    • Hope You Never
  • No more songs tonight,
    I'm drivin' to the break of day.
    No more words tonight,
    We've got enough to throw away.
    • Supernatural Radio
  • We're overdue for a dream come true.
    Long time, nothing new.
    We're overdue for a dream come true.
    • Hung Up And Overdue

Echo (1999)

  • I've got someone who loves me tonight.
    I've got over a thousand dollars in the bank,
    And I'm all right.
    • Room At The Top
  • Look deep in the eyes of love
    And find out what you were looking for.
    • Room At The Top
  • Redemption comes to those who wait,
    Forgiveness is the key.
    • Lonesome Sundown
  • And I don't want to question or even celebrate
    All the joy you took and then gave back too late.
    • Echo
  • And I don't want to mean anything to you,
    I don't want to tempt you to be true.
    • Echo
  • They say be careful who you believe,
    Be careful who you trust.
    Did you smile when you pulled the trigger
    That dropped me in the dust?
    • Billy the Kid
  • Oh my love if I reveal
    Every secret I've concealed,
    How many thoughts would you steal,
    How much of my pain would you feel?
    • Rhino Skin
  • One more night, God I've had to fight
    To keep my line of sight on what's real
    One more day I fear I've lost my way
    I don't know how to say what I feel.
    • One More Day, One More Night
  • There goes the last DJ
    Who plays what he wants to play,
    And says what he wants to say.
    Hey, hey, hey.
    There goes your freedom of choice;
    There goes the last human voice.
    There goes the last DJ.
  • As we celebrate mediocrity,
    All the boys upstairs want to see
    How much you'll pay for
    What you used to get for free.
    • The Last DJ
  • There was no use in pretending,
    No magic left to hear.
    All the music gave me
    Was a craving for light beer.
    • Money Becomes King
  • I keep waking up all by myself,
    With a blue jay in my brain.
    Flappin' his wings, making me sing,
    it was just about to rain.
    • Dreamville
  • There was Rock 'N' Roll across the dial.
    When I think of her, it makes me smile.
    • Dreamville
  • But if you shoot at everyone you see,
    Can't be my friend 'cause you might shoot at me.
    • When a Kid Goes Bad
  • I can't save you from yourself, you gotta want it.
    • You and Me
  • How about a cheer
    For all those bad girls
    And all the boys
    That play that rock and roll?
    They love it
    Like you love Jesus.
    It does the same thing
    To their souls.
    • Have Love Will Travel
  • And you may think it's all over.
    But there'll be more just like me
    Who won't give in;
    Who'll rise again.
    Can't stop a man from dreaming.
    • Can't Stop the Sun, written with Mike Campbell
  • And it's hard to say
    Who you are these days.
    But you run on anyway,
    Don't you baby?
  • Last time through I hid my tracks.
    So well I could not get back.
    Yeah my way was hard to find.
    Can't sell your soul for peace of mind.
  • Always had more dogs than bones.
    • Square One
  • You're flirting with time baby
    Flirting with time, but maybe,
    Time baby, is catching up with you.
  • So if I come to your door,
    let me sleep on your floor.
    I'll give you all I have and a little more.
    • Down South
  • Create myself down south.
    Impress all the women.
    Pretend I'm Samuel Clemens.
    ear seersucker and white linens.
    • Down South
  • I'm gonna give her all my soul.
    I'm gonna play her Rock 'N' Roll.
    • Jack
  • I can work, I can travel, I can sleep anywhere,
    Cross every border with nothing to declare.
    You can look back babe, but it's best not to stare.
    • Big Weekend
  • She's got nothing to hide,
    And she hides it so well.
    Keeps broken dreams
    To fix up and sell.
    • Damaged By Love
  • There's rain on the road
    And the faithful have gone.
    In a crowd all alone,
    Walking 'round in a song.
    • Damaged By Love
  • Well, they raised that horse to be a jumper
    He was owned by a mid-west bible thumper.
    His preacher was a Louisiana drummer.
    Took all winter, to get through the summer.
    • Ankle Deep
  • He was caught up in a lie he half-believed,
    Found her hiding high in the family tree.
    Washed his hands, and put her 'cross his knee.
    She said "daddy, you've been a mother to me."
    • Ankle Deep

Mojo (2010)

I'm in for the long run
Wherever it goes
Ridin' the river
Wherever it goes.
  • I'm watching the water
    Watching the coast
    Suddenly I know
    What I want the most

    And I want to tell you
    Still I hold back
    I need some time
    Get my life on track.

    I know that look on your face
    But there's somethin' lucky about this place
    And there's somethin' good comin'
    For you and me
    Somethin' good comin'
    There has to be.

    • "Something Good Coming"
  • I know so well the look on your face
    And there's somethin' lucky about this place
    There's somethin' good comin'
    Just over the hill
    Somethin' good comin'
    I know it will

    And I'm in for the long run
    Wherever it goes
    Ridin' the river
    Wherever it goes.

    • "Something Good Coming"
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