Leon Russell Scolded Tom Petty for Wearing Sunglasses in the Studio Because It’s ‘an Honor You Earn’

In the early Seventies, Leon Russell trusted Tom Petty to make the finest music in the recording studio. Petty was new to the scene and took his duties critically. Nevertheless, when Petty determined he needed to look as cool as the guys in the studio, Russell put him in his place. Russell instructed him he wanted to earn the proper to appear like a rock star.

Tom Petty | Aaron Rapoport/Corbis by way of Getty Pictures

Leon Russell signed Tom Petty to his Shelter Information in 1974

In 1974, Petty moved to Los Angeles. Shortly after, Denny Cordell signed Petty to Russell’s file firm, Shelter Information. Quickly, Russell turned very impressed with Petty’s songwriting and gave him a particular job in the recording studio.

In his acceptance speech at the MusiCares Individual of the Yr Gala, Petty defined, “Leon brought me over to his house and he said, ‘I want you to just hang around.’ He liked the songs that I’d done. ‘If it comes to a thing where we need some words, I need you to be here and I’ll pay you for it.’ And he was gonna pay me, I was gonna be there, right?”

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Russell scolded Petty for sporting sun shades in the studio

Throughout Petty’s first session, he met George Harrison and Ringo Starr of The Beatles. Drummer Jim Keltner came to visit as nicely. Petty thought Keltner’s sun shades had been cool. Nevertheless, when Petty began sporting the accent, Russell referred to as him out.

In his speech, Petty continued, “These cats had been so cool, you realize? And I discovered myself — after the session once we had been hanging out — I discovered myself slipping my sun shades on. Leon mentioned, ‘What the hell are you doing with the dark glasses, man?’ I mentioned, ‘I don’t know? It feels cool, you realize, like Jimmy Keltner; he’s received his on.’

“He goes, ‘Wearing sunglasses at night is an honor you earn. Lou Adler had Johnny Rivers and the Mamas and Papas before he put them glasses on. Jack Nicholson made really shitty Boris Karloff movies before he put them glasses on.’

“Well, I’m putting my glasses on [removes eyeglasses, puts on shades], but I thank Leon for that advice.”

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The Heartbreakers frontman received to satisfy two Beatles

Petty may need needed to earn his proper to put on sun shades, however not less than he was working with a few of the finest artists, together with George and Ringo. So, working for Russell wasn’t too dangerous for Petty.

In a particular version of Rolling Stone referred to as “Remembering George,” Petty defined, “It’s a scary thing meeting Beatles, but George was so nice to me and included me in everything.”

Petty and George crossed paths once more in the mid-Nineteen Eighties when George got here to one among The Heartbreakers’ reveals in England. After that, they turned finest mates.

“I reminded him that we’d met, and there was some kind of weird click,” Petty continued. “It felt like we had known each other all our lives, and in a very personal way. We wound up just hanging a lot.”

So, in a approach, working for Russell allowed Petty to have his first memorable second with George.

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