The 25 Best Tom Petty Quotes

Perhaps more than any other, Tom Petty is American rock. He may have even invented the Americana genre before anyone ever thought about it decades later. He seems plucked (with his guitar) from some mid-America cornfields, with wheat-colored hair and a wry smile.

Petty also wrote some of the biggest rock hits of the 20th Century, from “Free Fallin'” to “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” to “I Won’t Back Down” to “You Don’t Know How It Feels.” But what about what the artist had to say about the world when not doing so in song? In other words, what are the Best Tom Petty Quotes?

Great question. That’s what we’re here to find out. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the Top 25 Tom Petty Quotes of All Time.

1. “I’ve learned one thing, and that’s to quit worrying about stupid things.”

2. “Sometimes life, will get you down, break your heart, steal your crown.”

3. “Most things I worry about never happen anyway.”

4. “Do something you really like, and hopefully, it pays the rent. As far as I’m concerned, that’s success.”

5. “You belong somewhere you feel free.”

6. “I don’t see myself as the savior of anything. On one hand, I’m flattered; that’s why it’s so hard to complain. What we’re really striving for is to inspire someone.”

7. “I want to be successful. Not just money. Just making a successful record and a successful show. I could feel successful without selling a million records.”

8. “Songwriting ability is a gift. After a while, you come to realize, ‘I’ve really been blessed. I can write these things and it makes me happy, and it makes millions of people happy.”

9. “Go after what you really love and find a way to make that work for you, and then you’ll be a happy person.”

10. “It’s the only true magic I know. It’s not pulling a rabbit out of a hat; it’s real. It’s your soul floating out to theirs.”

11. “It’s sort of hope amongst the ruins, I think. To me, we’re all in the great wide open. I think life is pretty wild; I really want to like the world, but at the same time I have to write about what I see.”

12. “Music really isn’t supposed to be perfect. It’s all about people relating to each other and doing something that’s really from the soul. It must come from the soul.”

13. “Even the losers get lucky sometimes.”

14. “I developed a problem with authority. Any time that authority was what I interpreted as being unjust, I stood up to it, and that became my personality.”

15. “If you’re not getting older, you’re dead.”

16. “I’m not exactly a guy who makes new friends easily.”

17. “The energy of the crowd is insane. Twenty thousand people. It’s the biggest jolt of adrenaline. It’s very hard to explain. You know the old story about the woman lifting the car off her kid? It’s in that realm. You can actually hurt yourself and not know it.”

18. “I think if I’d quit years ago, I’d never have known what I was capable of doing.”

19. “When I was a kid, we didn’t have any blues stations. I never heard Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters or any of those people until the Stones had come along, and I took it upon myself to find out who these people were that they were covering.”

20. “What I’ve learned about marriage: You need to have each other’s back; you have to be a kind of team going through life.”

21. “When I met Elvis, we didn’t really have a conversation. I was introduced by my uncle, and he sort of grunted my way. What stays with me is the whole scene. I had never seen a real mob scene before. I was really young and impressionable. Elvis really did look—he looked sort of not real as if he were glowing.”

22. “Rock isn’t a young music anymore. I don’t think it’s necessarily even a youth-oriented music.”

23. “I tend to write on an acoustic guitar or the piano. I have kind of a rule: if I can’t sit down and play this and get the song over, I don’t take it to the band, because most any good song, you can sit down and deliver it with a piano or a guitar.”

24. “I love history, doesn’t matter what era, I’m fascinated.”

25. “I think television’s become a downright dangerous thing. It has no moral barometer whatsoever. If you want to talk about something that is all about money, just watch the television.”

Photo by Robert Sebree

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