It’s a rare thing to combine mainstream success with musical substance. To do it while fiercely standing up for personal principles - to the point of waging public war with your record company - is rarer. To do it for twenty-five years is flat-out remarkable.
A common reaction to the news that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been “They’re a great band, but aren’t they too young to qualify?” It’s a shock to realize that it has been twenty-five years since “Breakdown” and “American Girl.” Petty and the Heartbreakers have never stopped long enough to look back. They win new audiences with every record they make.
Photography: Janet Macoska; Kevin Mazur, WireImage