How The Kinks Inspired Tom Petty To Make A Classic
Tom Petty's last performance, 2017 - Skip Coomber / Youtube
Despite the music industry being filled with multi-talented musicians, the looming power of big corporations sometimes hinders them to create extremely imaginative albums. Even Tom Petty, one of the most talented musicians to ever walk in the industry, had a similar experience of such. But he was clever – and used his energy to spit in the face of the evil corporate through the album, The Last DJ.
Around the turn of the century, Petty developed a more wary attitude toward the music that was being played on American radio stations. He believed that these stations were more concerned with serving their bottom line than with telling the story of an artist through song. The majority of Tom Petty’s album The Last DJ is centered on concepts of what Petty regarded as being unfair.
Later, when discussing the album, Petty claimed that he took some influence from Ray Davies of The Kinks. “I love Ray Davies. I especially liked that Lola Versus Powerman album, and I felt it was time for an album with those themes again.” Petty took inspiration from Davies’ angst, channeling this energy all throughout the creation of his album.
Because of the album’s controversial track listing, several radio stations have chosen not to play it despite its widespread success. Even some of Petty’s most devoted fans found the album to be a touch off-putting, leading many to speculate that the musician was coasting on his past successes and turning into a frustrated, easily annoyed man in the later years. But the album’s message all throughout its entirety had Petty playing petty to those evil men who crush a man’s creative output all for the sake of commerciality.