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Petty : la biografía – tekijä: Warren…
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Petty : la biografía (vuoden 2017 painos)

– tekijä: Warren Zanes (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
14923144,932 (4.12)6
Zanes provides an honest and evocative examination of Petty's music, and the remarkable rock and roll history he and his band helped to write. Petty was a kid without a whole lot of promise; rock and roll made it otherwise. His story has all the drama of a rock and roll epic. Dark and mysterious, Petty manages to come back, again and again, showing us what the music can do and where it can take us.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:CharlyMartinO
Teoksen nimi:Petty : la biografía
Kirjailijat:Warren Zanes (Tekijä)
Info:Neo Person (2017)
Kokoelmat:The Pile, Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:musica, biografia

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Petty: The Biography (tekijä: Warren Zanes)

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Gotta say, this was easily one of the better rock biographies I've read (and I've read a lot). Despite what many are indicating in their reviews, this is not a "this happened, then this happened, then this happened" narrative. Yes, there's definitely some of that in there (show me any biography that doesn't do that), but Zanes also folds in some fascinating insights along the way, whether it's about the music scene in Florida, the weird conglomeration of Petty's group and the Felder/Leadon connection to the Eagles, or digging deep into Petty's mother and father, or wife and kids.

And there's also, of course, the music. How it came to be. How Petty learned from everyone. How each album tended to reflect Petty's ongoing trials and life at the time.

It paints a clear picture of how the man had to learn to become a band leader—sometimes at the expense of friendships—to protect what he and the band had built. I think, innately, there came a point where Petty understood Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were as much band as brand, and he always fought to protect both. Along the way, he also showed who he was, taking on labels and the music industry itself, and also became (though I hate the term) an elder statesman of rock.

Did he piss off some people along the way? Sure he did. Probably no one more than his brilliant, but miserable drummer Stan Lynch. Did the band have their fights? Again, sure they did, though less so once Lynch left.

But what marriage of 40-odd years doesn't have its ups and downs? And this was the marriage of Petty, Campbell, Tench, and a revolving cast of drummers, bassists, producers, and mentors.

But does this tell an interesting and illuminating history of one of the most important musical talents to come out of the 70s? Hell yes it does.

And when I finished it (the book was released prior to Petty's death), I found myself mourning the loss of the man all over again. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
A good biography of Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers. It is more about the band and their career than it is a personal biography. Apparently Tom was very private and really didn't want to talk about himself, his family or his life. That doesn't mean he didn't talk about it, but it is a small fraction of this book. This was also written 2 years before he died, so it at times feels incomplete. I'm a fan of Tom and the band and I quite enjoyed this book. It really digs into how the band came about, how they struggled and the whole process of making albums and touring and how important the band - not the fame or tours, was to Tom Petty. ( )
  Karlstar | Mar 18, 2021 |
4 ½ stars: Super, couldn’t put it down

From the back cover: Born in Gainesville, Florida, with more than a little hillbilly in his blood, Tom Petty was a Southern shitkicker, 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 n roll epic. Now in his mid 60s [alas, this was completed 2 years before his tragic death] 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 offstage.
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After I watched the fabulous documentary “Running Down a Dream”, I went searching for a biography. This one had literally thousands of high reviews, and I can see why. The description above doesn’t begin to cover the details of Petty’s life (or even the most interesting parts). He was physically abused by his father. His mother and girlfriend pressured him to marry two days before he left for Los Angeles. He knocked on record label doors and got a contract. He took his role as the band leader extremely seriously, yet took years to finally cut ties with both his first wife and with drummer Stan Lynch, who was undermining him at every turn. His lyricism cuts to the chase and tells a story very quickly. (I liked Mike Campbell’s quote about the Heartbreakers mantra: “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” A reaction from bloated 7-10 minute mid 70s songs. Petty says his lyrics are never consciously about a given person, yet they subconsciously tell the story of his life. I have seen Tom Petty twice, and just devoured this book. I considered going to his 2017 LA show, and am saddened that I chose not to – he was dead a week later. This book had Petty’s full support, though he did not ask to see the manuscript before publishing. This leads to an insightful bio that goes deep into the ups and downs of his life. The music was first, over his family and ultimately over the bandmates. Overall, a quiet, kind, reclusive man who allowed his songs to speak for him. And boy, did they.

Some quotes and parts I liked:

“It took me years to get past what [my father] did to me to understand his situation. I only saw the outer stuff, the bravado, the machismo, the anger. We know so little about the world he came from, because he kept it behind a wall he’d built himself...I didn’t understand there could *be* a relationship. I thought a father just put shit on the table, made a living, and we owed him respect because he put a roof over our head, because for some reason our mother married him. I didn’t realize there were kids who had really genuine relationships with their fathers. ” -TP

[In Hollywood, trying to get a record contract]. Someone else at A&R listened but turned the tape off within 30 seconds. I thought “Shit, this isn’t going to be easy.” Petty recalls “But the fact is, we could just walk into these places, and a lot of the time, someone would listen. It certainly doesn’t happen like that anymore. A van from Florida rolls into town, and the guys driving it get meetings? That was another time.”

Stan Lynch could be the band member most ready to go out there and kill it, or the most divisive, or the most enthusiastic supporter of what Tom Petty was trying to pull off, or the most bitter. The problem for Petty came in figuring out when Lynch was going to be which of these things. And what Lynch was saying to whom.

{LA Times reviewer Robert Hilburn ] framed his thinking about this period in music in his theory of active and passive bands:
“Passive bands can do enticing work (Boston’s “More than a Feeling”) but the artistic heartbeat of rock rests with the more challenging active outfits: Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Talking Heads, Patti Smith the Cars, Devo and The Clash. While they welcome sales, the primary intent of Active rockers is to say something, and to say it with the individuality that is the base of all worthwhile art. The trouble with most Active bands from a commercial standpoint is that you have to pay attention to the music to fully appreciate what’s going on. The surfaces can be noisy and intense. You may even have to strain to understand the words. And there isn’t always just one interpretation. The aim is to make you feel and consider: Get involved.”

[Talking about going to a Gainesville Hospital, where his mother was dying]. “Someone had laid out all these magazines with pictures of me on my mother” remembers Petty. “On her chest and across her body. She was just lying there, beneath these clippings from magazines and newspapers. I walk in and… it was the strangest thing. I thought ‘ Even in this moment, *even this* someone had to corrupt with some reaction to fame, or whatever this was… I was just beginning to see that there’s just nobody that couldn’t be affected by fame in some way… I was starting to see that that’s just part of the job. But I wasn’t prepared for that in my mother’s hospital room, you know? I needed to clear the room of that… Then some months later, she died. And I didn’t go to the funeral. My brother told me ‘You come here and its going to be a zoo. The whole town’s already geared up for when you’re going to arrive.’ So I said ‘Well then, I’m not going. I’m not going to let this be about me. I can’t deal with that.”

[After an arsonist torched the Petty home, with them inside]. Two years of touring, with the Pettys’ Encino home burned down by an arsonist in the middle of it all. The bandleader went from being ready, at last, to leave his marriage to feeling like he had to do all he could to protect his family.

[Harrison, Orbison, and Petty family] went to Denny’s on Sunset that night after the show. There were some Goths hanging out and it was all we could do to keep George from jumping in that car with them. They looked like they were having fun. That’s where ‘Zombie Zoo’ came from.”

It all made for what was possibly the best album of his career [Wildflowers]. But, for the family at home, it could have been seen as a betrayal. What Petty could do in the songs, he couldn’t do in his life. No one called it a betrayal, of course. The family learned to live with it, found a way to see it as something else. They just called it [Songs like “To find a friend”] songwriting. But all his openness was reserved for the art, and it left little if anything for his family. IT would have made no difference, anyway. But the discrepancy between the world of songs, where things were talked about, addressed, and explored, and the world at home would wear on Petty. Would break him. And a few of those around him.

“The human condition is the same for everyone” says Olivia Harrison. “But once you’re isolated, its even worse. When those big life events happen, you can’t see your way out of them. When you’re in the world, you have outreach. When you’re in a bubble, how do you see outside of that? How do people get in? and then you feel like you really don’t want people to see what your troubles are, you’re so private at that point. It’s really easy to not get help.”

My therapist said something to me that, in that moment, cut through all the clutter. ‘People with your level of depression don’t live. They kill themselves or someone else..’ I said “you’re kidding me.’ “No’ he tells me. ‘With this level of depression, people can’t live.’ Maybe that was when I realized that in fact, I wasn’t living, that I was heading in the other direction.

[Petty’s daughter Adria} My mother, who loved him for such a long time, had started to abuse him. But I think he felt responsible for the failure of the family, and it kept him from leaving, for far too long. By the time he did leave, he didn’t have enough left in him to handle it. He was up against something that took precedence over parenting [heroin]. But I don’t think it ever took precedence over the amount of love he has for us.

[After getting clean]. There remains a frailty in Petty that wasn’t there before. And it wasn’t just the effects of drug use. It was a long trail that went back to that small house in Florida. It may be that lifelong depression, masked by years of activity, found its moment to come toward the surface and came…. It’s a relationship with the pain of the past that doesn’t preclude joy.

Petty has a mind that pulls toward the darkness. It still moves in on him sometimes. Who knows how much of that is born of what he went through as a child, or what he repeated from that childhood in his first marriage. But there’s little question that songwriting has been the thing that has made it all more livable. The songs have been his safe house. IN them you can hear a man wanting a little more freedom and a little more peace. IT’s something people can connect with. ( )
  PokPok | Feb 15, 2021 |
Probably the most complete written picture of Tom Petty and his band. From the hardscrabble days in Gainesville, where Petty was "really good at getting people to quit school and join his band" and onward, Warren Zanes has dug deep, mainly through interviews with Tom, the Heartbreakers, and others with meaningful access.

One thing that emerges is that Tom was not the guy that people back home would have pegged for success, and certainly not the stratospheric level he attained. Another is that Tom made it happen through hard work, a talent for writing songs that connect, steely ambition and a determination to make music his way, music that mattered to him, and would matter to millions. ( )
  Hagelstein | Feb 4, 2020 |
There is a strong case to be made that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were the greatest rock-and-roll band to ever exist. They did not have the iconic cultural impact of the Beatles, or the contrariness of the Stones, or the ornate hedonism of Led Zeppelin, but on every other metric – particularly those concerned solely with the music – the Heartbreakers are up there.

Maybe they're ignored because it's so overwhelming to consider their achievement. This is an outfit that, for an unprecedented forty years, turned out all killer, no filler. Damn the Torpedoes, Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers are all acknowledged masterpieces, and can stand with the likes of Revolver and Exile on Main St., but even their 'lesser' albums would be any other band's crowning achievement. (Yes, I know Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers are solo albums.) When, in 2007, Peter Bogdanovich cut Runnin' Down a Dream, a feature-length documentary film about the band, it was eight hours long. A tough editing process got it down to four hours. When I sat down to watch the DVD as a sceptical teenager in 2008, having rapidly become a fan of the Heartbreakers' music, I expected I would watch it in instalments over a number of days. I ended up watching it all in one sitting, plus the bonus live DVD. The story is a fascinating one, even if you can't exactly pinpoint why. And the even more remarkable thing is that when I picked up Warren Zanes' biography of Petty, I found there was even more to the story than I thought.

The book would be an essential read even if its only selling point was that it covered previously untouched or under-represented areas, such as the Mudcrutch years, Petty's heroin addiction, or the perspectives of Stan Lynch and Bugs Weidel. But what Zanes' book also does is re-orient the story: this is very much a biography of Tom Petty, rather than the entity of 'Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers'. With Zanes' guiding hand, we get into what drove the man: his desires and ambitions, his anxieties and isolation. If the Runnin' Down a Dream documentary was a celebration, this is an exploration.

Neither book nor film is a hagiography. One impression that the reader gets is that Petty took the world on his shoulders, but the book doesn't make him a saint. One telling passage comes from – of all places – the Acknowledgements page:

"There were times I knew I was writing things that would be hard for Tom to see in print. But he always insisted that this was my book, and he wasn't there to say what went in and what didn't. He was there to work with me, but he didn't want it to be a whitewashed account." (pg. 313)

Alongside the fascinating story of the band – Zanes is excellent on band dynamics – it is perhaps this passage which hints at what draws people to Petty. His authenticity. The man could write songs and plant them in your head in such a way that it feels like they not only belong there, but like you had been waiting for them. You could ask a hundred die-hard fans for their favourite Petty song and they'd come up with a hundred different answers – and all of them would have a good case. He loved the music more than the fame, the girls, the money. Battle-hardened veterans of the industry like Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Johnny Cash – men who saw the need for strong defences – not only opened up to him but in many cases sought him out. The man had soul. And perhaps this is why Petty's death – two years after Zanes' book was published – still feels like a gut-punch. Because this was one of the genuine ones. One of the very few.

Reading Zanes' book in light of Petty's death, some of that gut-punch can be absorbed and healed. It was such a massive shock at the time, and that shock incorporated (undirected) anger and heartbreak when the circumstances were revealed: at the age of sixty-six, Tom Petty had been going up on stage night after night with a fractured hip, which had graduated to a full-on break, and had overdosed on the pain medication he was taking to get through the tour. He didn't want to let the fans down, he didn't want to let the crew down, and he didn't want to leave a job unfinished. He had planned to make it his last tour, so that he could focus on the studio and on spending time with his grand-daughter, only to die a week after the final night.

In some ways, the book's revelations make this harder: he had clearly found some inner peace in his later years, and one anecdote about his grand-daughter (a simple moment which Petty calls "one of the great moments of my life" (pg. 305)) is bittersweet in retrospect. At the same time, you also begin to understand why Petty felt he had to carry on, and why no one around him in the band or their entourage made him stop. Lines from the book, going back in some cases to the 1970s, make even more sense in light of the final tragedy: "his job, he felt, was to keep it all together" (pg. 166); "the Heartbreakers didn't do that kind of intimacy" (pg. 157); "with a record on the charts and a lot of people looking to him for their livelihoods, Petty didn't make his nerves anyone else's problem" (pg. 156); "there was tension, and no one – true to Heartbreakers style – was addressing it directly" (pg. 261). There's no need to assign blame, either to Tom or anyone (nor do we have the right to), but it's frustrating to know that if Petty had let the extent of his hip problems be known, the love and regard his fans had for him would have almost certainly seen an immediate disappointment regarding ticket refunds swept away by a demand that he take a rest.

Ultimately, Zanes' biography is an excellent, intimate insight past the "tinted windows" that Tom Petty kept on his soul (pg. 217). It is measured, mercurial and carefully crafted, hitting both the high and low notes with authority and sincerity: in short, a fitting reflection of the principles that guided its subject matter. Though the book can be heartbreaking to read, the story is ultimately one of ascendancy and triumph, even in light of the subsequent tragic end. As Bugs Weidel remarks on page 305, "as an artist, as a husband, as a father, as a friend… this guy has spent his life trying to improve. In every single way." And he did it. This was a Southern shitkicker born in a swamp, who became one of the greatest rock stars in history, constructing and collaborating with an incredible band with an incredible sound, one that captured the essence of rock-and-roll, of American freedom. He was the guy who united the states: in the argument over which acts were the best, "Petty was the guy most everybody agreed on" (pg. 7). He grew up listening to the Beatles and Dylan and Cash and Carl Perkins and Del Shannon, and later worked with them as equals. He wrote hundreds of songs that, taken individually, can stand alongside the very best of any songwriter, but taken collectively over a forty-plus-year career, are a measure of quality and consistency that is, to my mind, unparalleled. His death was a raw moment for millions who had never even met him. Books like Zanes' help you understand him, and this helps level the playing field somewhat. Because listen to him for three minutes of a song and you feel like he knows you. ( )
1 ääni MikeFutcher | Oct 23, 2019 |
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Zanes provides an honest and evocative examination of Petty's music, and the remarkable rock and roll history he and his band helped to write. Petty was a kid without a whole lot of promise; rock and roll made it otherwise. His story has all the drama of a rock and roll epic. Dark and mysterious, Petty manages to come back, again and again, showing us what the music can do and where it can take us.

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