Lot #2244
Tom Petty Autograph Letter Signed

Petty rejects a critic's claim that he uses intolerant lyrics:

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Estimate: $4000+


Petty rejects a critic's claim that he uses intolerant lyrics:

Extremely rare ALS from Tom Petty, one page, 6 x 8, no date [circa June 1977]. Petty’s handwritten letter was sent to the UK newspaper New Musical Express [NME] in reply to an article that was published in the newspaper on May 28, 1977, accusing him of using racist lyrics in the 1976 songs ‘Strangered in the Night’ and ‘Luna.’ Petty’s response was published in NME on June 4, 1977. The letter reads, in full: “After reading the letter in the May 28th issue, concerning myself and my distasteful lyrics. I felt a little confused and a reply to A. K. Odamtten might be in order. Mr Odamtten, relax, and please listen to the entire lyrics to Strangered in The Night. Yes I do say ‘Black Bastard’ in the 3rd verse of the tune. The complete line is ‘I heard some woman scream ‘Goddamn you old black bastard you’ve blown away my dreams!’—[This song is about a murder the woman is] Obtaining the complete lyrics to the tune [might help set] or listening to it [the lyrics] might help sooth this aching paranoia. To the best of my (and Island Records) the record is not censored, blipped or blurred at all. Are you sure you own this LP? As for Luna the song has nothing at all to do with blacks, whites or purples. Does ‘Black and yellow pools of light’ imply distaste for blacks + Orientals? You’re taking the record and yourself far to seriously. I ain’t no racist. I don’t even drive.” Reverse bears another handwritten letter in an unknown hand. In very good condition, with intersecting folds and overall creasing. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Tracks, an original program for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' 1977 UK Tour, and by a letter of provenance from a former employee at Island Records, who was promoting Tom Petty when he was touring the UK.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Marvels of Modern Music
  • Dates: #636 - Ended May 19, 2022

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