Tom Petty: 'Eye' Wide Open – Relix

In light of the untimely passing of the legendary Tom Petty, we share our September 2014 cover story with the iconic singer-songwriter.

“There’s no blueprint for this,” says Tom Petty. “I never pictured doing it this long, especially at this level. But I have to think, ‘Wow, that’s really cool, so what am I going to do about it? Do I just roll around and play my greatest hits for millions, or do I try to get better?’”

The sign outside the door of the studio at Petty’s house in Malibu reads: “Beware of Cranky Hippie.” But while the 63-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer still proudly claims his affiliation as a hippie, he’s not so much cranky—on this day, at least—as he is fired up with excitement about his new album, Hypnotic Eye, and with outrage, about the state of our society.

Though he’s never been considered a protest singer, Petty’s songs have always been keenly observed examinations of American life, with a strong sense of the struggle for justice and dignity faced by average folks. Perched on a sofa underneath the

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