One morning in 1987, someone set fire to Tom Petty’s house while Petty, his wife, child, and housekeeper were inside it. Everyone survived, but the entire house, except for his basement recording studio, was quickly consumed by the flames. The arsonist was never captured.
After the fire, Tom Petty did two things: he rebuilt the house, and wrote I Won’t Back Down. “There’s not a hint of metaphor in this thing,” he said of the song, which was released on his 1989 solo album.