The Heartbreakers‘ 30th anniversary is the occasion for Peter Bogdanavich‘s documentary. It takes mostly a chronological approach, taking advantage of a surprising amount of home movies from the early days, hours of concert footage, and interviews with band members and admirers.
Petty himself is a charming raconteur, sleazing you past some fairly ruthless career decisions. After his band Mudcrutch had moved to Los Angeles from Gainesville, Florida, he broke the news to them, “The record company doesn’t want you. They want me.” (Mudcrutch finally recorded a fine debut in 2008.) Petty also declined Stevie Nicks’s request to join his band, “but there aren’t any girls in the Heartbreakers.”
The concert footage is the heart of this, of course. The songs may have slowed a little since they played Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but compensate with melody and decades of interplay. Also available as a coffee table book.