The music industry is notorious for taking even the best, most down-to-earth people and chewing them up. Even if one is fortunate enough to "make it," it's almost impossible to not become a raging asshole-holic. That makes it all the more remarkable that Tom Petty became wildly successful while sticking to the values and integrity that made the straw-haired Floridian a touchstone to begin with. For over 35 years, he's made his lyrics both overtly and subtly political without being preachy. And though he sings explicitly about subjects like the evils of corporate takeover (his entire 2002 album The Last DJ was dedicated to the subject), he also uses sarcastic tones, often taking on the voice of the characters he despises, as in the hit "You Don't Know How It Feels." Though he may seem jaded, he keeps his commitment to working with human rights organizations, showing that while the world may not be what it should, he still believes the change is a-comin'.
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