Hard Promises Explained

Hard Promises
Artist:Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Genre:Heartland rock
Producer:Jimmy Iovine, Tom Petty
Last Album:Damn the Torpedoes
This Album:Hard Promises
Next Album:Long After Dark

Hard Promises is the fourth album by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers released in May, 1981. Its original working title was Benmont's Revenge.[1] It features guest vocals from Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac on the duet "Insider." They would also record the hit "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" for Nicks' album Bella Donna.

This was the second Tom Petty album on the Backstreet Records label. The album's release was delayed while Petty and his distributor MCA Records argued about the list price. The album was slated to be the next MCA release with the new list price of $9.98, following Steely Dan's Gaucho and the Olivia Newton-John/Electric Light Orchestra Xanadu soundtrack. This so-called "superstar pricing" was $1.00 more than the usual list price of $8.98.[2] Petty voiced his objections to the price hike in the press and the issue became a popular cause among music fans. Non-delivery of the album or naming it Eight Ninety-Eight [3] were considered, but eventually MCA decided against the price increase.

The album's title comes from a line in the chorus of "Insider".

Track listing

Side one

  1. "The Waiting" (Tom Petty) – 3:58
  2. "A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)" (Petty, Mike Campbell) – 4:22
  3. "Nightwatchman" (Petty, Campbell) – 3:59
  4. "Something Big" (Petty) – 4:44
  5. "Kings Road" (Petty) – 3:27

Side two

  1. "Letting You Go" (Petty) – 3:24
  2. "A Thing About You" (Petty) – 3:33
  3. "Insider" (Petty) – 4:23
  4. "The Criminal Kind" (Petty) – 4:00
  5. "You Can Still Change Your Mind" (Petty, Campbell) – 4:15


Additional Musicians:

Notes and References

  1. Goldstein, Patrick. "Pop Eye" Los Angeles Times Sept. 21, 1980: T80.
  2. Goldstein, Patrick. "Petty Battling MCA Over Record Price Hike" Los Angeles Times February 1, 1981: N72.
  3. Marsh, Dave. "Tom Petty" Musician July 1981: 43.