[lastfm]Tom Petty[/lastfm]‘s house burned down on May 17, 1987. Everything was lost, apart from a few guitars and the master tapes in his basement studio. Petty and his family lost everything, but another musician came to the rescue.
[lastfm]Dave Stewart[/lastfm] of the [lastfm]Eurythmics[/lastfm] lived next door to the Pettys and [lastfm]Annie Lennox[/lastfm] just happened to be at the house. She realized that everyone would need clothes and shoes, so she immediately rushed out and bought what [lastfm]Tom Petty[/lastfm] called “some pretty nice stuff.”
Full Moon Fever came out a couple of years later. A defiant song about standing up to one’s enemies, I Won’t Back Down is directed at the person who set Petty’s house ablaze. Despite his personal connection to the lyrics, though, Petty turned I Won’t Back Down into an anthem for anyone struggling against some sort of oppression. The song isn’t really about a house fire. It’s about resilience.