Why Was Tom Petty At The VMAs?

The pop music spectacle known as the MTV Video Music Awards took place last night, and it was chock-full of – surprise – pop stars! However, there was one music superstar attendee who inspired a bit of head-scratching: Tom Petty.

These days, MTV pretty much exclusively gives awards to the young and hot, not legacy acts – and especially ones who no longer make music videos. While Petty was previously awarded MTV’s prestigious (though now semi-defunct) Video Vanguard Award at the 1994 VMAs, his presence left some wondering why he’d even bother showing up to the kids party. Petty’s reason: his own kid.

Petty’s daughter, Adria, shares in dear old dad’s fondness for music videos and has made quite a successful career out it. A number videos Adria helmed were nominated for the VMAs’ professional awards, including Coldplay and Rihanna’s “Princess of China,” Beyonce’s “Countdown” and Regina Spektor’s “All the Rowboats.” She brought along dad, Spektor and others as her VMA posse (as you can see in the photo below), though she ultimately lost her big award (Best Direction, for “Princess of China”).

151381760 Why Was Tom Petty At The VMAs?

(The elder Petty’s connection to singer-songwriter Spektor is an interesting one: The sole reason she worked with producer/ELO leader Jeff Lynne on her 2009 album was because his work on Tom Petty’s Highway Companion impressed her.)

So why haven’t we seen a Petty-Petty collaboration on a video yet? “I’ve pretty much retired from music videos,” Petty told Rolling Stone on the red carpet. Petty did, however, offer up an alternative – a plea, really: “Bono, if you’re listening, I think you should make a music video with my daughter.”

As for Petty’s own music videos, the rock legend established his interest in the art form with some of the ’80s and ’90s most iconic videos, like the Kim Basinger-staring “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and a twisted take on Alice in Wonderland in “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” Watch below.

– Jillian Mapes, CBS Local

(photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)


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