When The Beatles first came to America, only a few months had passed since the tragic assassination of JFK, and our nation was still in mourning. Their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show – then a Sunday night American instituion – was a well-needed shot of joy for the whole country still in shock. But it was also, famously, a profoundly galvanizing event in the lives of countless musicians who recognized their futures that night.
Tom Petty was one. Before that night, the idea of a self-contained band – writing, singing and playing the songs themselves – had not occurred to him. After that night, it was the only way.
Ann Wilson and Tom Petty are the same age, both born in 1950, so both took that in at that most impressionable age, and both decided then to become rock & rollers for life. And unlike almost all the other kids then making that same decision, they both succeeded. Ann did it with her little sister Nancy. Here she is, from an interview we did back in 2014, on the impact of The Beatles in her life.