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How Tom Petty changed Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon's life


Kings of Leon experienced some of their major successes in the mid 2000s, and they’re still putting out music to this day. However, the band has been around since 1999 and made huge waves as the muckier side of the indie takeover. The group is comprised of three brothers and their cousin, making for a tight-knit bond, even for the music world.

Caleb Followill serves as their frontman and lead vocalist, and his distinct style has both a classic tone and a unique personality to it, and it’s enough to make one wonder about his inspirations and influences. Although he likely has many, there’s one album that has a special place in everyone’s heart—and that’s the first album you buy.

When asked about the first album he ever bought, Caleb Followill had an immediate answer: Southern Accents by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. 

Getting into it, Followill explained, “I don’t know, something about it drew me in.” It’s unclear whether he was talking about the music drawing him in or the album cover itself, but either take is easy enough to understand. It also makes sense as one of his influences, especially when coloured with some of his other favourites.

When talking about some of his other milestone music, he mentions Blaze Foley, LCD Soundsystem, Ben E. King, Boyz II Men, and George Jones. When asked about the song that makes him feel at home, he said sweetly, “Harvest Moon by Neil Young. My wife always plays that. [It’s] a good record to drink to, cook to, take a bath to, or whatever it is.” And when he speaks of the song he wants played at his funeral, he says, “I remember watching Tommy Boy and [they played] ‘Amazing Grace’ on bagpipes. I was like, ‘That’s gotta happen at my funeral.’ Bagpipes don’t really fit my heritage, I guess, but I would have to say ‘Amazing Grace’ in some way, shape, or form.”

The sentimentality is absolutely there, even if he doesn’t go too much into depth about his first record experience. It’d be interesting to hear what about it drew him in and which songs are his favourite, but perhaps that’ll come in another interview one day. But for now, knowing that Tom Petty might have had an influence on Kings of Leon is pretty incredible.

If you want to hear the album that changed Caleb Followill’s life, you can find it below and take a listen. Try and see if you can hear any Kings of Leon in there while you’re at it.