Spotlight Artist: Tom Petty

Every weekday between 1 and 5pm we play tracks from our #spotlightartist. They’re an artist with a body of work which has stood the test of time. We’ll play the hits – but also some deep cuts. Listen ad-free through New Zealand via @tunein at

Our spotlight artist this week, sadly departed last year, had a stellar career stretching back to the 1970s. From early bands Epic and Mudcrutch, by the end of 1976 he had released his first album with the Heartbreakers. It did respectably in the charts, with single “Breakdown” hitting the top 40 – it also yielded signature song “American Girl”. For me it was their third album Damn The Torpedoes which marked their creative blossoming. Every track a great listen, it sold over 3 million copies in the US and hit number 2 on the Billboard charts.

Tom Petty was a household name through the MTV era, and his 1991 album Into The Great Wide Open and subsequent Greatest Hits collection really cemented his reputation with a new generation. By this time he had joined Rock royalty with his participation in the Travelling Wilburys project with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynn.

Leaving his original label, he branched out to release his second solo album Wildflowers, an exquisite album that we’ll feature several tracks from. He continued releasing solo and “Heartbreakers” albums through to 2014’s Hypnotic Eye and continued to tour all the while.

He leaves an enormous body of fantastic work, and this week we’ll sample only some of the absolute classics he released, along with a selection of lesser known cuts. What a legend.

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