Tom Petty has never had a number one song on the Hot 100. In fact, he's only had one song in the top 10. But he's had an extended career of excellence, with The Heartbreakers, The Traveling Wilburys, and solo. Uploaded by tampabay.com.
Whether he was fronting The Heartbreakers, singing with the Traveling Wilburys, or recording as a solo artist, Tom Petty has always experienced success. His first album, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, wasn’t an immediate hit when released in 1976. But from the second album on, and all his solo and Wilburys albums, he’s at least achieved gold status. And his Greatest Hits is 10x Platinum.
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Several of the band’s songs are played regularly on classic rock stations, but didn’t make much of an impact on the singles chart: “Breakdown,” “Here Comes My Girl,” “Into the Great Wide Open,” and “American Girl.” Here are some that had more success on the Hot 100 Chart:
“Don’t Do Me Like That” (#10, 1979)
“Refugee” (#15, 1980)
“The Waiting” (#19, 1981)
“You Got Lucky” (#20, 1982)
“Don’t Come Around Here No More” (#13, 1985)
“I Won’t Back Down” (#12, 1989)
“Runnin’ Down a Dream” (#23, 1989)
“Free Fallin'” (#7, 1989)
“Learning to Fly” (#28, 1991)
“Mary Jane’s Last Dance” (#14, 1993)
“You Don’t Know How It Feels” (#13, 1994)
As you can see, Petty has enjoyed a career of sustained quality, but never been the flavor of the month. However, it’s a measure of the respect in which he’s held by his fellow artists that he was included with the Wilburys, a modest group that included George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and ELO’s Jeff Lynne.
Just about every famous rock guitarist has made his name using a Fender guitar. Rock history has been played on a Stratocaster. Uploaded by wallpaperstag.com.
Picture Leo Fender in his California electronics workshop in the late 1930s. Fixing phonographs, radios, and public address systems. Oh…and instrument amplifiers. He had ideas, did Leo. Ideas about perfecting the electric guitar that would lead him to form the Fender Electric Instrument Company in 1946. He tinkered, and fiddled, and created a masterpiece. The first mass-produced, solid body, Spanish-style guitar: The Telecaster.
Jimi Hendrix playing a Stratocaster at Woodstock. Uploaded by jasobrecht.com.
Think Jeff Beck, Steve Cropper, and George Harrison. Pete Townshend smashed a slew of them.
The next step was the Stratocaster. Which is only good enough for the likes of Eric Clapton, Dick Dale, and some guy named Hendrix.
There are other great guitars. Even other great American guitars. But almost everyone who picks up a guitar wants to own at least one Fender. It’s truly a great guitar. A Great American Thing.
Copyright 2009-2011, Robin G. Chalkley. All material on these pages, and the listing of items as Great American Things, is copyrighted. The exceptions are the photographs and videos, which remain the property of their respective owners.
Header photo used courtesy of Flickr photographer too melo.