Tom Petty, virtuosic guitarist/singer-songwriter, passed away last week at the age of 66. An icon, Petty was the lead singer of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, bassist for Mudcrutch, and a member of the ’80s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys which also featured George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. In honor of the tremendously talented singer, let’s reminisce on some of his most memorable music moments.
6. ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’
“Baby, you could never look me in the eye / yeah, you buckle with the weight of the words.” Originally written for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers ‘Hard Promises’ album but ultimately going unreleased, it was arranged for Stevie Nicks to perform on her debut solo album ‘Bella Donna’ with Petty singing along in the chorus and bridge, and his band playing on the track as well.
5. ‘Handle With Care’ (The Traveling Wilburys)
“Everybody’s got somebody to lean on / put your body next to mine, and dream on.” The first track off their debut, The Traveling Wilburys song went on to inspire adoration. from critics and fans alike.
4. ‘I Won’t Back Down’
“Well I know what’s right / I got just one life / in a world that keeps on pushin’ me around / but I’ll stand my ground.” Unabashedly confronting, ‘I Won’t Back Down’ is seen to some as Petty’s most iconic track, summing him and his thoughts up in three minutes of rock-goodness. Co-written with Jeff Lynne, the music video features Lynne, George Harrison, Mike Campbell, and Ringo Starr.
3. ‘Mary Jane’s Last Dance’
“I feel summer creepin’ in and I’m tired of this town again.” Drug reference? Just a love song? Who knows, all I know is this song is as catchy as that Justin Bieber tune I couldn’t get away from this past year, so get on your party dresses, honey, and give this track a spin. Or should I say a click/tap on Youtube or Spotify?
2. ‘American Girl’
“She couldn’t help thinkin’/ that there was a little more to life somewhere else / after all it was a great big world / with lots of places to run to.” Perfect for your wanderlust-filled moments, this track never charted in the US shockingly – can you believe that, when it’s played on every classic rock station coast to coast incessantly? Genuinely though, originally only charting in the UK, it took a re-release in 1994 for it manage to creep it’s way to nine on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.
1. ‘Free Fallin’’
“I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’ / gonna leave this world for awhile.” Quite possibly everyone’s (at least my own) favorite Tom Petty song, it was released off of his debut solo album ‘Full Moon Fever’ is 1989. As an ode to the city of Los Angeles, it’s a time defying classic. RIP Tom Petty.