It’s not necessary to tell the history of the almost 40-year recording career of Tom Petty and his band the Heartbreakers. If you listen to music, you’ve heard his songs. He is the embodiment of American-made music—a blueprint for the structure of rock and roll. He was most likely an influence on your parents and, at one time or another, an influence on you. He’s had dozens of Top 40 hits and has sold nearly 80 million records worldwide. You already know him.
Since the mid-‘70s, Tom Petty has cranked out a recognizable sound of classic rock that is enjoyed by all ages and is catchy enough for arenas full of people to sing along to. From belting out the chorus of “Free Falling” to riding the wave of cool that is “It’s Good to Be King,” there is something so powerfully nonchalant about his voice—it’s easy to see how he can encapsulate listeners into his universe. Three and a half decades later, he can still carry that tune but with modern tales of love, life, introspection and a little struggle.
Hypnotic Eye, Petty and co.’s just released 13th studio album, will once again put the band back on the road touring across North America. The album has a classic Petty feel drawing on an edgier, riff-heavy concept. It is still deeply ingrained with blues, but definitely not as heavy as the 2010 release Mojo. As always, his lyrical prowess is a great reflection of our askew societal views. He is great at walking you through the world in which we surround ourselves but which we never want to see.
Portland’ll see the return of these rockers to the Moda Center on Tuesday, August 12. With an arsenal as large as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have, you can expect to hear plenty of hits with a good dose of newer tracks mixed in. And don’t worry, even if you haven’t listened to a Petty album in the last 15 years, just remember, you already know him and you love his music.
Two-time Grammy Award winner Steve Winwood will share the stage with Petty in Portland. The English-born rocker has played with such legends as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Eric Clapton. He was a member of the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and the supergroup Blind Faith and now fronts his own band. A very talented multi-instrumentalist, Winwood has recorded hundreds of songs ranging from blues, R&B and soul to rock, jazz and pop—the latter of which you can hear below on the synthy 1982 track "Valerie."