I guess you’d call me a casual Tom Petty fan. I mean, I liked his songs (the ones I heard on the radio) and owned Full Moon Fever and the two Traveling Wilburys albums (all of which I managed to discard when I no longer had a working tape player and before I had a way to rip them to disk as MP3’s).
Nevertheless, I felt a sense of loss when I heard the news on Monday that he had died, and knew that I’d have to put together some kind of a tribute today, so that’s what I’ve done: here are ten songs with him as a frontman and as a member of the Traveling Wilburys. There are much better tributes to him on YouTube and Spotify, and I hope you’ll take some time to listen to them.
- Free Fallin’ The opening track from Full Moon Fever (his first solo album), and one of his better-known songs. He wrote this with Jeff Lynne as the first track for the album, and released it as a single. It peaked at #7 on the Hot 100 in January 1990.
- Breakdown From Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ eponymous first album in 1978, it peaked at #40 in both the US and Canada.
- Don’t Come Around Here No More From their 1985 album Southern Accents, it reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Hot Album Tracks chart.
- Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (with Stevie Nicks) From Stevie’s 1981 debut solo album, Bella Donna, it was the 25th video shown on MTV when it first started.
- Refugee Released in 1980 as the second single from 1979 album Damn The Torpedoes, it reached #15 on the Hot 100, #11 on the Cash Box survey, and #2 on Canada’s RPM survey.
- American Girl The second single from their debut album, it was released on Bicentennial Day (July 4, 1976) and reached #40 in the UK. Re-released in 1994, it got to #9 on the “bubbling under” Hot 100 (i.e. #109). Rolling Stone ranked it at #76 on their list of best guitar songs all-time.
- I Won’t Back Down Another from Full Moon Fever, it was the first single from the album, peaking at #12 on the Hot 100 and spending five weeks atop the Album Rock Tracks chart.
- Runnin’ Down A Dream My favorite video of his, because it reminds me of a Max Fleischer cartoon. From Full Moon Fever, it was the second single from the album, peaking at #23 in the US and Canada and topping the Album Rock Tracks survey.
- The Wilbury Twist The last song on The Traveling Wilburys’ 1990 album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, where Tom was billed as Muddy Wilbury.
- End Of The Line Likewise, the last song on 1988’s Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, where he was billed as Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. It peaked at #63.
So now George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty are in Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven. Hard to imagine. Anyway, if you have any favorite Tom Petty songs (including his wotk with Bob Dylan and The Traveling Wilburys), leave a comment. If I get enough, I’ll do them next week.
Here’s a bonus video: Terri Hemmert, who has been at WXRT (93 FM Chicago) as long as I can remember (as in over 40 years), talks about an interview she did with Tom a few years ago and how she was able to cheer him up at a bad time in his career.
And here’s a link to an article that discusses why Tom’s music will last.
That’s The Friday 5×2 for October 6, 2017.