Tom Petty formed The Heartbreakers in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. Led by Mike Campbell’s Byrdsian guitar and driving, Stonesy rhythms, the group brought a dash of new wave into the heartland rock of the US.
Petty teamed up with British producer Denny Cordell for the group’s eponymous debut album (1976), which went Top 20 in Britain and sold well in Germany and France before the US took any notice.
The band added their new wave energy to songs that (with two exceptions) were written in an afternoon and recorded the same evening.
Taking equally from The Byrds and Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers would continue with what Petty called “the big jangle” until 1985’s Southern Accents, when he let Eurythmics‘ Dave Stewart tamper with the formula.