Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers @ U.S. Airways Center

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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'.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.