Album: Long After Dark (1982)
Charted: 20
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Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Tom Petty does some posturing, telling a girl that she got lucky when he found her, and warning her that she can do no better. All that posturing is wrapped in a chorus with a simple message: "Good love is hard to find."

    The song does not appear to based on Petty's real life; he had been married since 1976.
  • Musically, this is one of the more distinctive Tom Petty songs, which helped it endure as a Classic Rock favorite. In a Songfacts interview with Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, he said: "'You Got Lucky' was written to a drum loop. I had made a drum loop in my studio and put the music together. We went into the studio and actually recreated another drum loop. The drummer would go out and play, then we'd cut the tape and tape the loop together. We ran it around the room over some mic stands and through the tape heads, and then printed that for 3 or 4 minutes and then recorded the song over that drum loop."
  • Petty added the lyrics and came up with the idea for the guitar solo. He suggested they do sort of a surf guitar with a tremolo arm, like in the Clint Eastwood movie The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were one of the few established American rock bands to embrace the concept of music videos, and MTV loved them for it. The "You Got Lucky" video was pioneering because the song didn't start until over a minute into the clip. Inspired by the Mad Max films, we see a desolate, futuristic landscape where Petty discovers and old boom box which plays the song. The band wrote the treatment themselves, and Jim Lenahan directed.

Comments: 9

  • Mathew from Jacksonville Florida Song is about Mike. He wrote Stop Dragging My Heart Around and had already written Boys of Summer and Tom turned it down. They know. Tom always said he was uncomfortable playing it for many years.
  • Linda from CalifBeen trying to find out the film location for this video for years "you Got Lucky" looks like it was out by Vazquez Rock in So. Calif can anybody confirm? My Heart is Broken over Tom's recent passing. Glad that MTV Classics is playing all of his music videos.
  • Don from Sevierville, TnWhen the video for this song first started airing on MTV, after it was over, VJ Martha Quinn commented, "Oh, they left behind that poor little radio..." What's interesting was that before she said that, I was thinking the exact same thing!
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InVintage Petty, and yes, that whammy bar guitar, put together with that distinctive drum loop, really make this song better.
    Great bit of rebuke in the lyrics, too.
    btw...the trick of running a tape loop around the room over microphone stands was used at Abbey Road by Pink Floyd for the sound effect track on "Money."
    Floyd also did that in 1968 for the drum loop for the "Syncopated Pandemonium" section for "A Saucerful of Secrets."
    They did not have sampling back then, so this crude, yet effective trick worked great.
  • David from Seattle, WaI always like the darkness of this song and imagine the protagonist to be a pretty nasty character. His partner would probably be better off without him.
  • Bubba Zanetti from Austin, TxThis video rocked. The band and Petty were like future people/ghosts checking out old artifacts from the past. They were puzzled over our strange and ancient technology (like arcade games and stereos and stuff) and generally looked like they were having a great time hamming it up. Fun sci-fi silliness.
  • Vernon from Trinidad, Wi, OtherThe video was a kind of Mad Max-apocalyptic wasteland. Funnily enough, Tom Petty kinda reprised a similar role in Kevin Costner's "The Postman" about 15 years later.
  • Mary from Phoenix, AzI remember them "trashing" a bunch of video arcade games, in the video for this. I also remember going...NO! Give those to me! When I was growing up, I always wanted one of those in my house.
  • Darrell from Williamsburg, KyGreat tune! Nice sound! Who has not thought that your partner was the lucky one?
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