“We’re All Mad Here” The Story Behind Tom Petty As The Mad Hatter In Wonderland


If the 1980s had to be summarized in one song and video, it would be “Don’t Come Around Here No More” from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The song kept to Petty’s rock roots, but the inspiration came from a Wonderland acid trip.

Along with synthesizers in the music, the video is one of the most memorable for the decade. The style highlights the style of the day. The story itself takes place in Wonderland, where Tom Petty is the Mad Hatter.

Every prop is oversized and unforgettable. The song is a classic, but so it how it was original created.

Tom Petty As The Mad Hatter

Tom Petty | Photo Credit IndieWire

“Don’t Come Around Here No More” is truly one of the top ten songs from 1980s and perhaps one of the best music videos of all time. Surprisingly, Tom Petty was not the originator of the idea for the song.

Instead, the song came from a one-night-stand with Stevie Nicks and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. In The Dave Stewart Songbook, the author said he was kicked out of Stevie Nicks’ house following their night together.

The man behind “Sweet Dreams” went home and wrote “Don’t Come Around Here No More” due to the experience.

A Major Shift For The Heartbreakers

Don’t Come Around Here No More | Photo Credit YouTube

Originally, Dave Stewart actually wrote the song for Stevie Nicks, who he described as “fragile” back then. But, Stevie Nicks either had an issue with the song or her ex-boyfriend, producer Jimmy Iovine, at the time.

Eventually, the song was handed over to Tom Petty and the rest is history. The song was a major change for Tom Petty’s southern rock style. Mainly, the drum machine beats and the synthesizer shifted Petty’s style all together.

In addition to the new song, the 1980s were essentially a time for going overboard with unneeded accessories. This included excess make-up, abundant hairspray, intrusive shoulder-pads, and more. The video truly highlighted the period as a parody.

Clearly, the video was also meant to be much creepier than the other versions of Alice in Wonderland. But, audiences ate it up and Petty remains a legend.

What do you think of this video from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers?