“Petty: The Biography” by Warren Zanes

Over the last couple of years, I found myself not reading the way I normally would. I was still reading the news and magazines, and all of the social media type of stuff, but not much in the way of anything longer format (i.e. books). I suppose I could finger point and blame COVID, as it’s certainly changed many other things in our daily lives, but I just didn’t like this new pattern. So I basically forced myself to get back on track. Every night I would read, starting with a few pages and then the next night a chapter and then, after a while, many chapters.

What made this getting back on track easier was Warren Zanes’s “Petty: The Biography”. A skillful writer doesn’t pull you along so much as ask you to join. Zanes does this exactly in this book — tells you the Tom Petty story while offering all kinds of insights. Zanes made me think about how I could use Petty’s approach to music and business in my own creative endeavours.

Now every biography is at best an incomplete picture and that’s part of the deal we, as readers, make with a book. There are things in “Petty: The Biography” that I wish Zanes had delved deeper into and there were other things that I felt had too much detail. I’m sure someone else reading the book may have the exact opposite reaction. In the end though, all of my armchair quarterbacking doesn’t change the fact that “Petty: The Biography” is easily one of the better music biographies I’ve read. It is, as the cliché goes, a good read and I’m thankful it helped get me out of my reading rut.