"The first time you hear a new Tom Petty song, it sounds like a classic song."
- Eddie Vedder.
You really have no idea how great a band Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers are until you sit down and watch this movie. All 4 hours of it. I own most of Petty's records, and even I was blown away by the breadth of his catalogue.
My buddy Browner (the seanmccallum.com resident music expert) recently lent me a copy of the documentary Runnin' Down a Dream, imploring me to watch it. I won't lie to you: it took me about two weeks to get around to it, and it was only whilst up in the wilds of Dornoch, facing the prospect of another night of Ethel Barrymore tributes (in black-and-white) on Turner Classic Movies, that we actually busted it out. But within the first three minutes, we were unequivocally hooked.
This is a brilliant documentary.
You really forget how great a songwriter Tom Petty is... and then this movie reminds you. But aside from the music, what I loved about this documentary was the story of the early days; how Mudcrutch came to be, how Mudcrutch came to be The Heartbreakers (one of the 10 best band names of all-time), and how they eventually made their way (the story of the band driving out to L.A. in an old station wagon that breaks down along the way is the story of every rock band with a dream). There is some amazing old footage from those early days, and some of the stories that Petty himself tells are absolutely hilarious. I had no idea he was such a raconteur.
But the absolute highlight for me came in the story of how The Travelling Wilburys - maybe the single greatest collection of Rock and Roll tallent ever assembled- came into existence. That serendipitous tale can be seen below:
Same old story. George needed a B-side, Roy wanted to come, George's guitar was at Tom's house, the only studio available was Bob's...
The same thing happens to me and my buddies all the time, except instead of winding up with a Grammy Award Winning album and millions of copies sold, we usually end up funnelling Lucky Lager and singing Joe Cocker tunes.
If you love Rock and Roll music, this is a must-see documentary.