I just watched about an hour of aGrantland goes over his career and mentions a similar thing:
Penny MarshallTom Petty concert on tv. It's a weird show to watch; it's an endless series of "Hey, I know that song. That's a good song." But there's no GREAT songs, there's no "ohmygod" moments. I mean, at a Bruce show you know you can take a piss break during the 57-minute middle of Mary's Place, but there's no way in hell you're missing the breakdown on Badlands. At the Petty show, every minute could be a piss break or not a piss break, it never seems to matter. - XMASTIME
Here’s what I think I know: Tom Petty has been a rock star for almost 40 years. He has a dozen or so songs that will be played on classic rock radio for as long as there is classic rock radio. If you’re a music fan of a certain age, there was a time in your life when he seemed inescapable. Even now, Petty is still a guy that most people know, even if you don’t actively care about him one way or the other. Tom Petty’s music doesn’t necessarily demand a value judgment. It’s like having an opinion on tap water or concrete. Why bother? It’s just there, reliable to the point of invisibility. If it went missing, you would notice. But it’s never going missing, because Tom Petty has existed since the beginning of time, and will continue to exist until time is extinguished.