How Tom Petty and Prince led parallel careers.

Tom Petty and Prince, Unlikely Musical Brethren

Tom Petty and Prince, Unlikely Musical Brethren

Half a century of pop-chart history.
Oct. 30 2017 12:02 PM

Hit Parade: Le Petty Prince Edition

Tom Petty and Prince only played together once. But their careers paralleled each other for four decades.

Tom Petty and Prince
Prince performs a George Harrison song along with Tom Petty after the late Beatle was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 2004, in New York City.

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to Episode 6 of Slate’s Hit Parade:


In 2004, Prince joined Tom Petty onstage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for what is now regarded as the institution’s greatest live performance. They were both first-ballot inductees—but their similarities go much deeper. On this month’s Hit Parade, we track the surprising parallels between two artists gone far too soon: from their fights with the music industry to their hits across genres and generations—and even the songs they gave to Stevie Nicks. Petty and Prince were category-defying, label-infuriating, and among the best pop songwriters of the late 20th century.

Podcast production by Chris Berube.