×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tom Petty Shares His Secrets to Songwriting: Honesty and Timelessness

Behind every hit song there are the songwriters, and on Wednesday night they were recognized at ASCAP’s 31st annual Pop Music Awards at the Loews Hollywood Hotel.

Legendary rocker and songwriter, Tom Petty, was honored with ASCAP’s Founders Award for his contributions to the music industry.

“There is an element of authenticity of pure Tom Petty,” said ASCAP president and songwriter Paul Williams. “When I hear a Tom Petty song it takes me to a place where I just got no problems.”

Petty’s top hits include “American Girl” and “Free Falling” to “Refugee” and “Rebels.”

“I don’t know how he does what he does, ” said Jackson Browne, who presented the award to Petty. “Somewhere along the way I started trying to write a song as simple and as true as my favorite Tom Petty song . . . and I’m still trying.”

Petty told Variety that honest songs make hit songs.

“They have to have this sort of timelessness to them where they don’t feel locked in any period of time,” he said. “Those, you just have to be glad they happen.”

The band Fun. was also awarded top honors with the ASCAP Vanguard Award.

Fun.’s album “Some Nights” has sold five million copies worldwide and also garnered two Grammys, including song of the year with “We Are Young.”

“For us it’s always just been about the music, it’s always been about being a band. It’s not about the hit songs, it’s about making albums and making the best music that we can make as artists,” said lead vocalist Nate Ruess.

Throughout the night, award recipients performed their 2013 hit songs such as Greg Holden who wrote “Home” by Phillip Phillips, Aloe Blacc with Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” and Mary Lambert with “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

“On a cultural level, this song has done so much for our gay community,” said Lambert.

Song of the year went to “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams. Max Martin won songwriter of the year for the fourth consecutive year and seventh time in his career. He penned seven of the most performed songs of 2013, including “Daylight” and “One More Night” by Maroon 5, “Roar” and “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry and “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift.

With nearly 40 years in the biz, Petty seemed to share an optimistic view of the future of the music industry. “Things have changed, music is different, but the honest ones still shine through,” he said.

“If we’re all here going to make our living off of this, all I ask is let’s try really hard to understand that it’s important that we make money, but the art and the truth is just a little bit more important.”

More Music

  • Lady Gaga Vegas Residency

    Lady Gaga Talks Importance of Pronouns, Gay Pride During Rousing Speech

    Lady Gaga was all about pride during her SiriusXM show at Harlem’s Apollo Theater Monday night. In between songs, the “Born This Way” pop star gave a rousing speech about the importance of asking people’s pronouns and the necessity of gay pride. She also referenced transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson who was widely credited with [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • Jason Aldean' Today' TV show, New

    Jason Aldean Concert Cancelled Due to Severe Lightning (Watch)

    A Saturday night performance by Jason Aldean at the Country Stampede Festival in Topeka, Kansas was canceled due to a major lightning storm. According to local news, inclement weather troubled the three-day country music gathering. Rainstorms delayed the concert on multiple occasions, until eventually organizers called off Aldean’s headlining June 22 show. Watch video below [...]

  • Ewen Bremner as Alan McGee in

    Danny Boyle-Produced ‘Creation Stories’ Adds Jason Isaacs, Steven Berkoff

    Jason Isaacs, Steven Berkoff and a host of other new names have signed on for “Creation Stories,” the film being exec-produced by Danny Boyle about Creation Records co-founder Alan McGee. The producers also unveiled the first shots of Ewen Bremner (“Trainspotting”) as the music mogul. Production is underway on the Irvine Welsh-penned project, with “Lock, [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Video of Jussie Smollett With Rope Around His Neck Released by Chicago Police

    The Chicago Police Department released new surveillance footage and files in regards to the Jussie Smollett hoax case on Monday, including one that shows the “Empire” actor shortly after the alleged attack. In one of the videos, police body-cam footage shows authorities entering Smollett’s Chicago apartment, led by his manager, Frank Gatson. Smollett is found [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content