TOM PETTY and the HEARTBREAKERS – ” Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers “

Posted: March 20, 2022 in MUSIC

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Jakob Dylan in 2002. TPATH performed legendary renditions of “American Girl” and “ Mary Jane’s Last Dance” at the ceremony. “Tom Petty made us all believe by singing about ordinary experience in an extraordinary way. His vocals captured our soul with songs that sounded like hits the first time we heard them. He made his mark on music and our lives.” – Greg Harris, Rock Hall CEO

In celebration of the band as well as the critically acclaimed documentary Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers  the Rock Hall has opened a new exhibit to spotlight the Wildflowers album. The exhibit features artifacts from the Wildflowers-era sessions and tour, including handwritten lyrics, instruments, and items from Tom’s personal wardrobe and has been extended through December 2022.

Last year, they sanctioned a four-CD box set titled Wildflowers and the Rest, which restored 10 songs excised from the original release, along with demos, alternative takes and live recordings of material from the original sessions performed over the next two decades. Wharton’s film draws on two primary sources – footage shot in the 90s during the Wildflowers recording sessions and fresh interviews she conducted with the Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, as well as with the album’s producer, Rick Rubin, and Petty’s daughter, Adria. The vintage footage, shot by the longtime Petty chronicler Martyn Atkins, ran four hours. Only 11 minutes of it has been seen before, as part of a press kit created at the time. The new documentary project began, said Wharton, after Petty’s daughter “found these cans of film in Warner Bros’ vault that she didn’t know existed. She felt something should be done with them,” she said.

The album Tom Petty considered to be the best work of his career chronicled the most tumultuous period of his life. Between the summer of 1992 and the spring of 94, the stretch in which he recorded his classic album Wildflowers, Petty’s 22-year marriage to the mother of his two children fell apart, he fired the drummer with whom he had worked since his Heartbreakers band began nearly three decades before, and he left both the record company for which he recorded all of his hits and the producer who shaped some of his biggest ones. “He was blowing up every aspect of his life,” said Mary Wharton, who directed a new documentary set in that dense era, titled Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers. “From his personal life to his business life to his creative life, Tom was trying to figure out how to put things back together in a way that made sense to him in that moment.”

In early 2020, a collection of 16mm film from 1993-95 was discovered in the archive of legendary artist Tom Petty. The film was shot while Tom was on a prolific song writing streak for years making what he intended to be a double album called Wildflowers. Tom Petty was known for being reclusive about his personal life and his creative process. “Somewhere You Feel Free” allows you to spend 90 minutes immersed in the candid and musically rich world of Tom’s creativity as he makes his first album with legendary producer Rick Rubin. With collaborators providing unrivalled access and featuring never before seen footage captured during the making of Wildflowers – Tom’s personal favourite album. “Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free”, a small slice of rock history that becomes a loving and lovely portrait, has the ability to change the way you hear and see him too.” – “An enthralling experience” –

On 2nd October 2017, Tom Petty died at the age of 66 from what was ruled an accidental overdose of opioids, sedatives and an anti-depressant. An official statement by the family at the time stated that the musician had been taking that mix of medications to numb the escalating pain of emphysema, issues with his knees and a badly fractured hip.

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