You Got Lucky

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"You Got Lucky"
TP - You Got Lucky single.png
Single by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
from the album Long After Dark
B-side "Between Two Worlds"
Released October 22, 1982
Format 7-inch single
Recorded 1982
Length 3:38
Label Backstreet
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers singles chronology
"A Woman In Love (It's Not Me)"
"You Got Lucky"
"Change of Heart"

"You Got Lucky" is the first single from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' album Long After Dark. The song peaked at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart, where it stayed for three weeks at the end of 1982. Unusual for a signature Tom Petty song, guitars give up the spotlight to allow synths to carry the song's main structure.


In a November 2003 interview with Songfacts, guitarist Mike Campbell explained the song's origins:

"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 actually 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 three or four minutes and then recorded the song over that drum loop. The guitar solo was Tom's idea, he suggested we do a Ennio Morricone guitar sound, kind of a vibrato arm strat kind of solo. Sort of a surf guitar with a tremolo arm, like a Clint Eastwood movie, a Good, The Bad And The Ugly kind of thing. It was Tom's idea to put that approach on there.[1]

Despite the song's popularity, it was rarely played live by the band, since it was not one of Petty's personal favorites.[2]

Music video[edit]

Petty felt the video was "a real groundbreaker", and stated that he and the band wrote the treatment themselves, borrowing heavily from the post-apocalyptic look of Mad Max 2, released in 1981.[3]

The video begins with Tom Petty and Mike Campbell happening upon a black tent in the desert after riding in a hovercar (from the television series Logan's Run). They find a radio/cassette player wrapped in bubble wrap and play the tape, which begins the music of "You Got Lucky". The other band members, Howie Epstein, Benmont Tench, and Stan Lynch, arrive in a sidecar racing motorcycle.

Entering the tent, they turn on a bank of cobweb-covered switches that control power for music studio equipment as well as a bank of television sets which show the videos for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "Here Comes My Girl" and "A Woman In Love (It's Not Me)". A clip from the Galactica 1980 episode "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part I" playing on one of the televisions elicits a visceral reaction from Tom, possibly explaining the cause of the destruction in the video's universe. As they explore the tent, Mike finds a hollow body Gretsch 6120 guitar[4] just in time to play the song's guitar solo. Howie hits a jackpot on a slot machine, causing coins to flow over his hands. Tom overturns an Astro Invader arcade video game before they all ride away, leaving behind the cassette player.


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1982-1983) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 20
U.S. Billboard Top Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 30

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ "Mike Campbell". Songfacts. Retrieved January 22, 2018. 
  2. ^ Newton, Steve (August 14, 2014). "Meet Mike Campbell, the Underrated Guitar Genius Behind All Those Tom Petty Hits". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved May 11, 2018. 
  3. ^ Tannenbaum, Rob; Marks, Ted (2011). "You+Got+Lucky+was+a+real+groundbreaker"&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi25dn7msrUAhVDVT4KHZ3iALEQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. Penguin. p. 9. Retrieved June 19, 2017. 
  4. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Listen to Divine Fits Cover Tom Petty's 'You Got Lucky' At Bonnaroo". June 2013. 
  6. ^ Ladan, Bruce (April 5, 2014). "Ridley Bent releases fourth album Wildcard in Winnipeg". CBC News. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 

External links[edit]