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Love is a Long Road: Tom Petty song is the apt soundtrack to long-awaited GTA 6

Leaked trailer features late musician’s 1989 song, inspired by his guitarist’s motorbike

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 05 December 2023 11:36 GMT
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Grand Theft Auto VI Trailer

Tom Petty’s “Love is a Long Road” soundtracks the long-awaited (and controversially leaked) trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI.

The teaser for the new game, scheduled for release in 2025, features a montage of clips involving high-speed police pursuits, robberies, raids, and bird’s eye views of Vice City, the fictional location of the hit franchise.

Publisher Rockstar Games was forced to release the GTA 6 trailer 13 hours earlier than planned on 4 December, after it was leaked to social media site X (formerly Twitter).

Petty, who died in 2017 from an accidental drug overdose, released “Love is a Long Road” in 1989 as the B-side to his hit single, “Free Fallin’”.

Featured on his debut solo album, Full Moon Fever, the track proved popular among fans and peaked at No 7 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart upon its release.

Co-written by guitarist Mike Campbell and co-produced with Jeff Lynne, the song was apparently inspired by Campbell’s motorcycle. “I was really into that frame of mind,” he told Rolling Stone, who ranked it at No 38 in their list of Petty’s top 50 songs.

“This feels like a motorcycle shifting gears.”

Tom Petty’s song ‘Love is a Long Road’ soundtracks the new GTA trailer (Getty)

He and Petty recorded a demo for the song that the late musician described as “chaotic”, with a lot of drum fills”. Lynne enlisted LA session musician Jim Keltner to help polish it up, resulting in a finished track that Rolling Stone said rivalled the “sleek energy” of Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream”.

In a strange coincidence, Petty last performed the song live in 2013, the same year that the most recent GTA game, Grand Theft Auto V, was released.

The music of the GTA franchise has been released as three official soundtracks over the years, featuring original songs by artists such as Simple Minds, Flying Lotus and Tyler, the Creator.

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Developers have also created radio stations for the franchise that play in public spaces or while the characters are driving. A wide variety of different stations have been available in previous games, including reggae, pop, country and hip-hop.

The GTA VI trailer revealed ultra-realistic graphics, new storylines and the game’s first female lead character. However, an exact release date has yet to be announced by the franchise’s studio, Rockstar Games.

The only hint to its release date was the news that GTA VI is “coming 2025”.

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