Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Live at Capitol Records Studios – November 11, 1977 – KWST-FM broadcast – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers recorded and broadcast live from Capitol Records Studio A on November 11, 1977 and broadcast by KWST-FM.
In 1976, Petty, with himself as lead vocalist and guitarist, formed “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” with Mike Campbell (lead guitarist), Ron Blair (bass), Stan Lynch (drums), and Benmont Tench (keyboards). The Heartbreakers began their recording career with a self-titled album, released through the Shelter label. Initially, the Heartbreakers did not gain much traction in the U.S., although they achieved success in the U.K. playing “Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll” on Top of the Pops. Early singles included “Breakdown” and “American Girl”. Recalling the band’s first gig in the UK in 1976, Petty states, “The audience just jumped up and charged the stage and were boogieing their brains out. It was such a rush. Wow, we had never seen anything like that, man.” “Breakdown” was re-released in the U.S. and became a Top 40 hit in 1978, after word filtered back of the band’s massive success in the UK, and perhaps more importantly after it featured on the extremely popular soundtrack to the 1978 film, FM. “American Girl” was covered in 1977 by Roger McGuinn on his “Thunderbyrd” LP.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ second album, You’re Gonna Get It! (1978), was their first gold record, and featured the singles “I Need to Know” and “Listen To Her Heart”. In 1979, the band was dragged into a legal dispute when ABC Records, Shelter’s distributor, was sold to MCA Records. Petty refused to be transferred to another record label and held fast to his principles, which led to his filing for bankruptcy as a tactic against MCA.
In 1979, after their legal dispute was settled, the Heartbreakers released their third album Damn the Torpedoes through MCA’s Backstreet label. The album rapidly went platinum. It included “Don’t Do Me Like That” (#10 U.S., the group’s first Top Ten single) and “Refugee” (#15 U.S.), their U.S. breakthrough singles.
As a reminder of what the original lineup sounded like, during those formative days, here is their live gig at Capitol Records in Hollywood – you can crank this one up if you want.
I would, if I were you.