Sydney Recording Studio: Part IV of our series on rock legend Tom Petty
That same year, Petty collaborated with Stevie Nicks on her album Bella Donna, recording the hit single/duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” and also produced Del Shannon’s Drop Down and Get Me. Back in the studio with the Heartbreakers, he continued his successful run with 1982’s Long After Dark, which reached No. 9 on the charts, and the singles “You Got Lucky” and “Deliver Me” hitting No. 20 and No. 21, respectively.
At the same time, the pressures of fame were taking their toll on both Petty’s marriage and his relationship with his bandmates. Shortly after the release of Long After Dark, Ron Blair left the group and was replaced by Howie Epstein. Though some of Petty’s finest hours were still to come, the road there would not always be easy.
Sydney Recording Studio: New Work and Collaborations
Looking to take their music in a new direction, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers began work on their new album with producers Dave Stewart (of the Eurythmics), Robbie Robertson (of The Band) and Jimmy Iovine, who had co-produced Damn the Torpedoes with Petty. The sessions also included a wide array of additional musicians and backup singers as the band experimented with different sounds. However, handling such a large group of personalities proved both time-consuming and frustrating, and at one point the tensions grew so great that Petty punched a wall in the studio, breaking his left hand.
Sydney Recording Studio: Southern Accents
At the end of it all came the group’s fifth album, Southern Accents, which reached No. 7 on the charts and featured the singles “Rebels,” “Make It Better (Forget About Me)” and “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” which was a neo-psychedelic track co-written by Stewart and inspired by Stevie Nicks. It reached No. 13 and was accompanied by a popular Alice in Wonderland–themed video that bolstered the group’s success during MTV’s heyday.