Tom Petty reflects on 40 years of songwriting

SANDY COHEN AP Entertainment Writer Published:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Forty years of practice has made songwriting harder, not easier, for Tom Petty.

"As life goes by, you get a little more carefree or distracted by other things and you have to really police yourself -- I do -- into sitting down and doing something that pleases me," the 63-year-old rocker said. "Plus, I'm trying to do things that I haven't done before and not go over the same ground."

The writer behind such hits as "American Girl," ''Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "I Need to Know" will accept the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers' Founders Award on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

"It's very nice to get an award for songwriting," Petty said. "I'm duly impressed."

Petty and his band just finished their latest album, "Hypnotic Eye," set for release this summer.

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