TOM Petty wrote dozens of classic songs (Free Fallin, American Girl, Refugee, and on and on). Here are a few deeper cuts that endure:
Fooled Again (I Don’t Like It), from Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers (1976): The eeriest, nastiest track on the band’s debut.
I Need To Know, from You’re Gonna Get It (1978): Petty was initially pegged as a new-wave artiste by tastemakers who didn’t know what to make of him, and this song embodies the fast, terse, almost slapdash urgency of the form with the guitar interplay of Petty and Mike Campbell.
Louisiana Rain, from Damn The Torpedoes (1979): This sounds like a battered, bruised, bluesy outtake from the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet with Petty channelling Keith Richards.
A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me), from Hard Promises (1981): Released as a single, it faltered because Petty’s songwriting handoff to Steve Nicks, Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, eclipsed it on radio programmers’ play lists. It contains one of Petty’s most devastated performances, with nuanced contributions from guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench.
The Best of Everything, from Southern Accents (1985): With horn-inflected production by the Band’s Robbie Robertson and backing vocals from Richard Manuel, this is among the outliers in the Petty canon – bigger production, but a moving coda to one of his most personal albums.
Love Is A Long Road, from Full Moon Fever (1989): Amid an album brimming with Petty classics, this “motorcycle song” with music by Mike Campbell and Petty’s lyrics is an oft-overlooked gem.
Don’t Fade On Me, from Wildflowers (1994): One of Petty’s best and most underrated albums with Rick Rubin production, coming off recent work with Johnny Cash, focused on intimacy and stripped-down production. Petty has never sounded more vulnerable than he does on this acoustic track.
Come On Down To My House, from Playback box set (1995): The Heartbreakers at their most corrosive, as if going toe-to-toe with Nirvana circa In Utero.
Ways To Be Wicked, from Playback box set (1995): An outtake handed to Maria McKee and Lone Justice for the band’s stellar 1985 country-punk debut album. Petty’s caustic version brims with sex, wickedness and hurt.
Swingin’, from Echo (1999): Petty in love hangover mode from his divorce delivers this tribute to the female counterpart of his classic I Won’t Back Down. – Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Greg Kot