Remembering Tom Petty

Written by
Promo man Jon Scott (center) with DJ Redbeard (left) and Tom Petty. (Photo c/o Jon Scott.) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

In 1974, Tom Petty moved to LA from Gainesville, Florida with his band Mudcrutch. The band had a record deal, but it only put out one single, “Depot Street.”

It went nowhere.

Petty, keyboardist Benmont Tench, and guitarist Mike Campbell stayed together. But a couple of other Gainesville recruits — drummer Stan Lynch and bass player Ron Blair — made up a new rhythm section.

The revised band also came up with a MUCH improved name: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

The Heartbreakers recorded their first album in 1976.

But that didn’t go anywhere, either. And the label was ready to let the Gainesville boys fade into rock music oblivion.

That is, until a new promotions man, Jon Scott, heard the record and LOVED IT.

And that’s where this Tom Petty story really gets going, when Madeleine Brand talks with Jon Scott and Petty’s biographer, Warren Zanes…