If you know and love us dearly, then you also know that we’re some of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' biggest fans, as in our Honeybee hearts could crush this town (break this Internet?). We are such big fans that we could write this whole blog in lyrics, but it might not make very much sense. We have always been good girls who “love [our] mama, Jesus, and America, too,” thought that “the waiting [was] the hardest part” of most situations, and listened to our main man Tom. In fact, we’ve been listening since we were just five-years-old. We first discovered Tom through car rides in our Mom’s beige Datsun. Though Pirate Radio gave generous airplay to “Free Fallin,’” we thought the main chorus to the now infamous and still well-played song was “Sweeeeeeet Forest,” maybe because we were only five. Though we’ve since learned and memorized the real words to the song, we’re as big of fans now as we were then. We even wrote an ode to Tom for his 56th birthday, way back when we were still undergrads, referring to him as our Thomas Guide. Thirteen years later, all of those past written words still ring true, especially now that he’s gone. We fell in real love with Tom’s music, and he was right, “real love is a man’s [and a woman’s] salvation.” It’s been a free fall (not a sweet forest) since then, because Tom has been right about a lot of things as one of the world’s greatest songwriters.
We can also honestly say that our Tom love led us to our husbands. Kady met her husband, Keith, at a Halloween party, where they bonded over the Heartbreakers and the Replacements. He later bought them concert tickets for her birthday, the first they would celebrate together, and she knew he was a keeper when he also bought one for Jessica. They’ve since celebrated 12 birthdays together (and counting). Jessica met her husband, Luke, online on Match.com. She had Tom lyrics in her online profile’s “About Me” section (it read: “I’m just an American girl, raised on promises”) and Luke loved that, and later, her. They danced their first wedding reception dance to Mojo’s “Something Good Coming,” and Kady’s MOH speech was chock-full of “You Got Lucky” references, though Jessica thinks she’s the lucky one.
We were still too young and poor to see Tom live when we wrote our original ode, but, starting with the birthday concert in 2008, we went on to see him live several times. Jessica and her hubby saw Tom and his Heartbreakers for the last time at the Hollywood Bowl during their 40th anniversary tour. Kady had just had baby Johnnie, so wasn’t able to attend the concert, which would become Tom’s last one. She still feels sad that she missed it, but caring for her sweet babe was as good of a reason as any.
Now, we can’t adequately put into words what it feels like to be a Tom fan, to stand among other Honeybees and sing along to some of our favorite songs, including “King’s Highway,” “You Wreck Me,” and “Crawling Back to You,” which we got lucky to see live multiple times, or to mourn for the loss of a musician and band (we haven’t mentioned those Heartbreakers enough) that you have been attached to for 25+ years. It’s almost been two years since Tom left us, but Kady still tears up when she hears the cover of “King’s Highway” that plays in Cars 3. Johnnie is quite attached to the Cars trilogy, so she hears this version of the song more than the original Into the Great Wide Open version, and Jessica can’t keep the tears from falling when she and her hubby play their wedding song, “Something Good Coming.”
We have pretty much made it a habit to own anything we can ever find CD and LP-wise from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mudcrutch, and The Traveling Wilburys, along with solo Tom. Anything Tom (and his Heartbreakers) is some of the best of everything, if you ask us. When we think of Tom, we think of an everyman, the type of musician that every musician strives to be – one whose career would span his lifetime, lasting over four decades with his band because his love for rock ‘n’ roll and his work ethic never faded, and one who could never write a bad song. Tom’s later albums always held up to his early ones, and he’s definitely one of the ultimate lyricists, weaving tales with simplicity and his personal touch of Southern magic, backed by the Heartbreakers, who, collectively, have always sounded like the heart and soul of classic rock ‘n’ roll at its basic core.
We’ve been listening to The Best of Everything, the first career-spanning collection of all of Tom’s hits with the Heartbreakers, his solo work, and Mudcrutch, released in March 2019, on repeat over the last few weeks. We have to say that we think it’s one of the top Tom compilations. We have so many of Tom’s remastered albums and other box sets, such as the Live Anthology and Playback, but this one does a good job of compiling many of our all-time favorite songs. The trouble with these “best ofs,” though, is that we feel that we must have them all, because, to us, that would also be the best of everything. We also finally let ourselves order An American Treasure, as one compilation is said to be for the casual fan and the other for the true fan, and we’re definitely the latter, though both compilations do the band justice. While The Best of Everything is mostly a compilation of greatest hits, An American Treasure is a compilation of rarities. Honestly though, when it comes to Tom records, we’re a bit out of control and really need to stay off the band’s website, along with eBay, Discogs, and all other online music retailers, and away from our nearest record stores. But, we do breakdown often (hence the late night An American Treasure purchase). We’d also love to own both Complete Recordings vinyl box sets, but haven’t let ourselves buy those yet, since we do own most of the individual records. However, we do imagine those sets in our futures, and no one has ever been able to stop us from runnin’ down our dreams. The Tom Petty record that we most often hope to find on vinyl is Wildflowers. We can’t afford the going rate on eBay and Amazon ($400-$900), so are impatiently awaiting the release of the box set and, hopefully, the accompanying tour that has been discussed. We still think the waiting’s the hardest part, but Tom’s taught us that it’ll all work out, eventually.
Here, we breakdown our thoughts on and memories surrounding each of the songs on this 4-LP compilation, based on the track listing of the box set. We got lucky to find a used version of this set at Rhino Records, in Claremont, CA for only $50.00 (like we always say, don’t forget to support your local independent record store).
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for giving us so much good music to hold on to, live by, learn from, share with our loved ones, and one day, hopefully, pass down to our babies.
Okay, everyone, let’s put the first record on.
1. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
This song is iconic and is what our childhood was made of, musically, at least. Do we need to tell our “Sweet Forest” story again? One of the biggest hits off of Full Moon Fever, it spurned our never-ending Heartbreakers love affair and seemingly cemented the band’s place in rock history. Even though “Free Fallin’” was technically a solo effort, most of the Heartbreakers played on Tom’s first solo effort, which was certified 5x platinum in the United States.
Thank you, Tom, for starting our music (mostly rock ‘n’ roll) addiction off right (from you on, we knew only to listen to the good stuff, and, trust us, we’re pretty picky). We’ll always “wanna write [your] name in the sky.”
2. Mary Jane's Last Dance – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
This is one of the band’s greatest hits and premiered on the Greatest Hits album, though it was written during the Full Moon Fever sessions. We know every word to this song and every other song on that Greatest Hits album, which we love, but this one is lower on our personal favorites list. Don’t get us wrong, though, we love anything that Tom sings. When we saw the band at the Fonda during their six-night residency, we happened to stand next to another one of their fans in the standing room only section of the venue who had somehow managed to sneak-in a large bong via his backpack (pre-legalization of weed in California). He was not so secretly smoking from his backpack. We guess some people take this song quite literally, but it’s okay, we love all Honeybees/Highway Companion members/fellow fans. Also, standing in this section next to Backpack Bong Boy only cost us $300.00 a ticket, which is possibly the most we’ve ever paid for tickets to a concert. The fan package we bought also included a Heartbreakers’ laptop bag, coasters, a two-glass set, and a laminated concert pass, though, so it was so worth the price. Anyway, “let’s head on down the road, there's somewhere [we] gotta go” (the end of this blog).
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for playing this six-night residency at the Fonda, as we really felt lucky just to get any tickets at all. “Oh, my, my, oh hell yes.”
3. You Wreck Me – Tom Petty
This gem from Wildflowers, Tom’s second solo effort, has always held a special place in our Heartbreakers-filled hearts. It’s one for dancing, or pretending to go high school dancing, because we never did catch a prom. We’ve always been attracted to Tom’s unpretentious and timeless lyrics, and “tonight we sail on a radio song” has got to describe every night of the past 29 years for us, since we first fell in love with “Sweet Forest” (known to the rest of the world as “Free Fallin’”) on Pirate Radio. We guess we did need to tell that story again.
4. I Won't Back Down – Tom Petty
It’s hard not to associate this song with the "America (A Tribute To Heroes)" concert that followed 9/11, as it became an anthem for America following that performance, but, even prior to that, it always strongly resonated with us. As one of Tom’s greatest hits, it’s also commonly sung aloud in unison at concerts. When we saw the band at the Forum several years ago, we remember kindly asking a group of people standing in front of us to sit down during the band’s performance of this song, along with several other people behind us (when you’re in the terrace section of the Forum, there is little room in front of you and it’s considered rude to stand up and block the whole row sitting behind you), and they obnoxiously sang this song at us, instead (as if it were really their anthem). It’s not our best concert memory, but we do think back on it and laugh, as our fellow overzealous Honeybees, who were also pretty drunk, were pretty awkward booty-shakin’, finger-snappin’ dancers and better served as walls than windows. We’re diehards, ourselves, but doesn’t anyone practice good concert etiquette these days?
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for teaching us to take a stand when it really matters, “keep [ing] this world from dragging [us] down” (maybe not in this exact situation, but, you know what we mean).
5. Saving Grace – Tom Petty
When Highway Companion, Tom’s third solo effort, was released, we deemed it the best road trip record, as we loved it front to back, top to bottom, beginning to end. It was also very reminiscent of classic Heartbreakers, especially “Saving Grace,” and yet it differed musically from his two other solo efforts, Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers. We first heard “Saving Grace” and “Square One” while watching Elizabethtown in some movie theater (we heart anything Cameron Crowe), and loved the soundtrack so much that we went straight to Target to buy it after the movie ended. We still feel like going on a trip whenever we hear anything from this album, so if this pops on and you need us, we’ll be “drivin’” and “overflowin’ with a thousand amens.” We should also note that we’re grateful to be past our undergrad days, in which we drove a once weekly hour or so drive from our dorm room to our parents’ house with our poor man’s stereo blasting this song and many others (this was a boom box that we sat on the floor of our passenger seat, because our car stereo didn’t work. It also was held together by duct tape, but we digress).
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for giving us so many songs to sing aloud to in our cars (and anywhere, really). Your music has been our “saving grace,” time and again.
Are you still with us? If so, it’s time to flip that record.
1. You Don't Know How It Feels – Tom Petty
Another classic from Wildflowers, this one seems to convey the often misunderstood feelings of the common person, and was a hit single from the album. The overall message still rings true today. You don’t know how it feels to be us, and we don’t know how it feels to be you, but “think of [us] what you will, [we’ve] got a little space to fill.” Not really though, this is a long blog. We also don’t condone rude comments, so be nice or be blocked.
Thank you, Tom, for writing a song for every one of our feelings, even when “people come [and] people go.”
2. Don't Do Me Like That – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
One of the best songs from Damn the Torpedoes, “Don’t Do Me Like That” often gets caught in our heads, and it’s also just kind of a funny thing to say. We like the album itself so much that we have four copies between us – Kady has three of these, one hangs in an album frame on her walls, one is rarely played (the remastered version that was re-released a few years ago, though it features two, count them, two, versions of “Casa Dega,” one of our all-time favorite Tom songs) and one is played frequently. Jessica has only one copy of the album, but feels that she should own four, just so that she can have the most.
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for this catchphrase that we like to throw around.
3. Listen To Her Heart – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
This was one of the first songs we memorized, and we’ve always loved its message. We’ve always listened to our hearts and our Heartbreakers. Originally on You’re Gonna Get It, following “I Need to Know,” it’s a good reminder to anyone struggling to make any type of decision. We have always loved the confidence portrayed in Tom’s romantic tales, and, as previously mentioned, have always thought of his songs as our personal Thomas Guide, so we would say this one’s up there with WWJD. WWTPD, anyone?
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for providing the music and lyrics we’ve always turned to, for 29 years. We’ll continue to “listen to [our] hearts.”
4. Breakdown – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
We still think of this song as No. 2 on the Greatest Hits album, but it’s from their self-titled debut and is singularly representative of what we began to expect of all of the band’s hits. It was one of our favorites to hear live, or anywhere, really. We will sing all of the words to this song, no matter where it’s playing (sometimes whispered or mouthed). We’ve also seen Tom play this song live so many times, and always loved his ad libs, as can be found on the Pack-up the Plantation: Live! version of the song from a long ago show at the Wiltern: “And anyway you want it babe, if you want to leave, you just leave babe, if you want to go, you just go babe, just start the car, just go, you want the money, you just take everything I got, I’m gonna be alright, this is an adult situation, I’m gonna handle this like an adult...”). Hopefully, we captured all of those lyrics correctly.
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for just being you. We think “we’ve said all there is to say.”
5. Walls (Circus) – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
We first heard this song while watching She’s the One. After learning that Tom and the Heartbreakers had written the whole soundtrack (it was their ninth studio album), we had to have it, first on CD and then on vinyl, when we found it while record shopping one day in Costa Mesa. Yep, “some days are diamonds, some days are rocks.” The whole She’s the One soundtrack is or should be a national treasure, just as Tom’s an American treasure. Our favorite line is, “You got a heart so big it could crush this town,” as we’ve been told its true of the both of us. Also, we think all of the Heartbreakers are American treasures, too, just to be clear.
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for being the part of us that we’ll always carry.
For those of you still reading, it’s time to carefully put the first record away and put on the next one.
1. The Waiting – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The “waiting is [definitely] the hardest part” of most situations, and this song, the lead single from Hard Promises, is one of our most quoted during any waiting periods. Tom always got it right, seemingly penning a song for every occasion, as we said in our original ode. Patience has never been one of our virtues, so we’ve always felt that it was representative of most situations in which a little patience was necessary, especially in the relationship department (i.e., waiting to hear “I love you” for the first time, or waiting to get engaged and married, etc.). As Petty sings, “don’t let it kill you baby, don’t let it get to you,” because we’ve learned what he probably already knew – that all good things are worth the wait.
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for teaching us so many important life lessons. We’ve always taken all of your lyrics “to the heart.”
2. Don't Come Around Here No More – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
I don’t think we’ll ever get the picture of Tom dressed up as the Mad Hatter out of our heads, and this song is also a favorite of ours, so much so that it inspired a Halloween costume several years ago. We’ve always loved the chorus and first got to know the song when we bought the Greatest Hits album in high school, but it also shines on Southern Accents. At our first Tom concert at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (Irvine Meadows, or whatever the heck it used to be called back then) we danced on the lawn to this one, twirling in the evening mist. We remember feeling so uplifted in this moment, and it was positively one of our best concert experiences, as the band wasn’t touring in support of any album in particular at the time and played mostly fan favorites. We teared up too many times to count and took home lots of souvenirs. Also, baby Johnnie now gets down to this one, so we’re teaching her well.
See, we’re already passing down your songs, Tom. Thank you for giving us, “whatever [we’re] looking for,” in terms of music.
3. Southern Accents – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The title track from Southern Accents has always pulled us in to Petty’s version of rock ‘n’ roll — his drawl and way with words, especially when he says, “I got my own way of working when everything is wrong,” make this whole record one of our favorites. The title track is definitely a standout, which is why it was likely included on this compilation.
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for your Southern magic.
4. Angel Dream (No. 2) – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Another gem from the She’s the One soundtrack, which served as the band’s ninth studio album, this one now reminds us of Tom Petty’s legacy and impact on rock ‘n’ roll. Our love for him will always travel with us everywhere. He sings songs of loneliness, songs that make us smile, and his voice and words are always stuck in our heads, so we don’t think this will ever change. Jessica’s hubby also had a special place for this song in their pre-wedding ceremony recession playlist.
Thank you, Tom and all the Heartbreakers, for “being [with us] wherever [we] go.”
5. Dreamville – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
We’ve always felt that this song sounded dreamy, as it describes actual landmarks in Petty’s hometown of Gainesville, FL, and we consider that town to be extremely lucky. Last DJ, as a whole, tells a story of a greedy music industry and a better time, one in which Jim Ladd, and other DJs, played what they wanted to play, and this entire album is high on our list of favorites among the band’s later efforts.
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for believing things could be better and sharing that with the world. When we think of you, we’ll always smile.
It’s now that time again: Flip that record.
1. I Should Have Known It – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
This single from Mojo demonstrated that the band seemingly never faltered from their original American rock ‘n’ roll sound. We saw them during the Mojo tour, and Tom was so lively and the Heartbreakers so jammy that it’s hard to think about now. We do recall another particularly high fan sitting in front of us who danced like a noodle (doing a slow, full-bodied wave) that we feel that we should mention, just to lighten our sad mood. Everyone enjoys a good Heartbreakers' show, after all. Our favorite song from the album is “Something Good Coming,” for multiple reasons. We’ve always been drawn to Tom’s words of hope, and, as mentioned, Jessica and her hubby chose it as their wedding song. Luke is from Nebraska, and the song reminded them of their love story, their childhoods, the Platte River, and how “there’s (just) something lucky about (that place),” since it’s where they fell in love. Now, “they’re in for the long run, wherever it goes” and they know that “something good’s coming,” because “there has to be.” Jessica is crying now, so “it’s time to move on, time to get going.”
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for helping to bring our hubbies into our lives. We should have known it would happen this way.
2. Refugee – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Anthemic by nature, this song is never far from our tongues, as we hang on every word. It has actually graced every Tom Petty compilation that we can think of, and for good reason. At least, we can say that we’ll always be excited to hear and sing all of the words to this song, no matter where it’s played or how many times we’ve heard it, except, perhaps, in the unfortunate circumstance that “we were kidnapped, tied up, taken away, and held for ransom.”
Thank you, Tom, and all of the Heartbreakers, for your senses of humor. It “ain't no real big secret” that we don’t think we’d “get around” without them.
3. American Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Speaking of anthems, we think this song is ours. It brought Jessica and her hubby together, as mentioned, and it also holds special meaning for Kady. Kady’s baby girl, Johnnie, was meant to be born on Fourth of July, so she and her husband decorated her nursery in red, white, and blue. After deeming the baby an “American Girl,” her husband designed a few pieces of artwork for the room, one of which featured the lyrics to this song. Keith and Kady later took maternity photos holding this framed piece of artwork, and it now hangs above Johnnie’s crib. And, wasn’t everyone raised on promises, anyway?
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for being with us through the birth of one babe, our American Girl. We’ll make sure she loves her “mama, Jesus, and America, too.”
4. The Best Of Everything (Alternate Version) – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers*
This is the song that makes this whole set worthwhile. As we’ve mentioned, to us, Tom is the best of everything and this song seemingly serves as a final wish from him to all of us; “Wherever you are tonight…I wish you the best of everything, in the world.” It’s also the only song that we didn’t already own in one form or another (e.g. vinyl or CD), as it’s a previously unreleased alternate take of the original version from Southern Accents.
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for this special song, and thank you to everyone involved in compiling this collection. We’re so grateful for these posthumous releases.
For those still here with us, please put away LP2 and put on LP3.
1. Wildflowers – Tom Petty
The title track from Tom’s second solo effort perhaps expresses our feelings about Tom and his untimely death best of all. He “belongs among the wildflowers,” somewhere close to all of us. And, as the song goes, we have “seen no other” who compares to Tom. We first bought this album as part of a “12 CD for $.01 deal” from Columbia House, and it quickly became one of our most played CDs in high school and our undergrad days. As a side note, we think we owe Columbia House a lot of money (same with BMG?), but we’re not sure anyone passed up (or actually paid for) this deal in the ‘90s and early ‘00s.
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for being with us on our high school journey into CD debt.
2. Learning To Fly – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The first single from Into the Great Wide Open, this song has always been one of our favorites. Kady also danced with our dad to this song at her wedding, as she always liked the figurative meaning of “Learning to Fly.” She had a hard time finding a suitable song and figured that, like always, she couldn’t go wrong with Tom. However, this song also reminds us of the literal time Kady flew an airplane for a story in a newspaper that she interned for in college. Our pilot reeked of beer and probably shouldn’t have been flying, yet alone teaching us how to fly. Kady (and the pilot) also knew she just wasn’t cut out for being airborne. She was never going to literally learn to fly unless she sprouted wings like a butterfly, or a “French fry,” as baby Johnnie says.
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for getting us through some of our most important triumphs and tribulations.
3. Here Comes My Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Jessica got married last summer and walked down the aisle to this song, which was another hit single from Damn the Torpedoes. Our brothers held a wooden sign that read “Here Comes My Girl,” and walked ahead of her, leading her down the aisle. She remembers holding her husband’s gaze and mouthing the lyrics to the song, “And then she looks me in the eye and says ‘we’re gonna last forever’ and man, you know I can’t begin to doubt it.” Now she’s crying again.
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for being such a big part of Jessica’s wedding, too. We’ll try to keep the good times in focus.
4. The Last DJ – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
We have always been big fans of KLOS and Jim Ladd, who this song was written about. Ladd is one of the few remaining freeform rock DJs to say and play what he wants to say and play. Leave it to the Heartbreakers to honor one of the best. We used to try to catch every Jim Ladd "Theme of Consciousness" show, even calling in once in a while during our high school and undergrad days. We really need to catch up with his show and subscribe to SiriusXM.
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for paying tribute to Jim Ladd and freeform radio.
5. I Need To Know – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Tom always told it like it was, sometimes very simply, but always unforgettably. The first single on You’re Gonna Get It, “I Need to Know” is another one of our favorite hits and it’s pretty hard to get this song out of our heads. Assuming this song was written about a real-life situation, we have also always turned to it when we needed to understand why a relationship went sour.
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for always being there for us when the "talk on the street [was that we] might go solo."
It’s now time to start LP3. Please carefully put LP2 away and put the next record on.
1. Scare Easy - Mudcrutch
This is easily our favorite Mudcrutch song from their debut. And going back to Jessica’s wedding again, she used this song in her wedding vows. It’s easy to associate many a Tom song with love and relationships, because he’s written a song for everything. Coincidentally, Jessica and Kady knew their future husbands didn’t scare easy when they told them they loved them after only one month of dating, and they still stuck around (maybe it’s a twin thing?).
Thank you, Tom, for one of our favorite side projects (and songs). Rest assured, we don’t scare easy for anyone (no one).
2. You Got Lucky – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
As previously mentioned, Kady quoted heavily from this song during her MOH speech at Jessica’s wedding, since she and Luke met because of a Heartbreakers' lyric listed on her online dating profile. “Good love is hard to find,” after all. It was the first single off of Long After Dark, which is our favorite Heartbreakers' album, though our favorite song from this one is “Straight Into Darkness.” “Straight Into Darkness” is included on An American Treasure, but not this compilation, and we’re just glad it made it onto one.
Thank you, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers – we got so lucky with your music, all of the time.
3. Runnin' Down A Dream – Tom Petty
The second single from Tom’s first solo album, Full Moon Fever, this song also served as the title to the documentary on the band, which was released in 2007. Kady and her husband watched her DVD set of the documentary on their second date, also in 2007. After this date, it was hard not to fall even more in love with Tom and each other, and, for that reason, hearing this song will always make them “[feel] so good, like anything [is] possible.” Jessica and her hubby also tried to watch this documentary on their third date, but just ended up making out on the couch.
Thank you again, Tom and all of the Heartbreakers, for bringing us and our hubbies together. We think you deserve two thank you’s for these feats.
4. American Dream Plan B – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
This song from Hypnotic Eye, which Tom has said he wanted to be a rock ‘n’ roll record, is special to us because of the ending line, “But like a fool, I’m bettin’ on happiness.” In the same vein as “Something Good Coming,” we have always found a little hope in Tom. Hypnotic Eye was the band’s last studio album, and the only one to top the Billboard 200 chart. We saw the accompanying tour at the aforementioned Forum show, where they performed many of our favorite songs, including, “Yer so Bad,” “A Woman in Love (It’s Not Me),” and “You Wreck Me.” So, besides our run-in with the obnoxious and very drunk fans in the row in front of us, it was still a good night (every night we got to see Tom and the Heartbreakers was).
Thank you so much for those nights.
5. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around (featuring Stevie Nicks) – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
We’ve already made our love for Tom clear, but we’re also huge Stevie Nicks fans (she reminds us of our Mom in a lot of ways, as she used to call herself a “gippie,” which was a mix of gypsy and hippie style) so it goes without saying that we would love all Stevie/Tom duets. Our favorite duet is “Insider,” which appears on Pack Up the Plantation: Live! and didn’t make the cut for this compilation. This song was originally the first single from Stevie Nicks’ debut solo album, Bella Donna (written by Tom and Mike Campbell).
Thank you, Tom, Mike, and the rest of the Heartbreakers, for giving us another reason to love Stevie.
For those of you still with us, please put away LP3 and put on LP4.
1. Trailer - Mudcrutch
We originally fell in love with this one when we heard it on Playback, but it was actually meant for Southern Accents. It was later redone by Mudcrutch for their second album, 2. We play this song on repeat, and can’t get enough of either version, really. It’s a major plus that “Trailer” also made this compilation.
Thank you, Tom, for one of our favorite ballads.
2. Into The Great Wide Open – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
When we think of this song, we think of endless possibilities, and are reminded of Tom’s gift for weaving tales – this one about Eddie who took his chances in Hollywood. Our favorite line is “a rebel without a clue,” and it’s a standout song on the album of the same name, though our favorite is “King’s Highway,” as previously mentioned. This song also reminds us of Nebraska and the Midwest in general, where it seems there’s nothing but sky and wide-open spaces (and plenty of corn and soybean fields). We still have vivid memories of the music video too, in which Johnny Depp lives out the rock star fantasy, only to find it’s not as great as it seems.
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for teaching us that the “sky was the limit.”
3. Room At The Top – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
One of our favorites from Echo, this song reminds us of college, as we first bought the album on CD, during the days that we would binge-buy used albums on Amazon. In our first ode, we mentioned the need to have “rhino skin to get to the end,” and this has only become truer over the years. Nonetheless, this song reminds us of all we dreamed of then and all we have to be thankful for now. We sleep next to people who love us, so we might as well be on top of the world every night.
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for helping us realize this, and so many other things.
4. Square One – Tom Petty
This song is one of our top favorites. We love Tom’s ballads and this one, about starting over, has always spoken to us, reverberating deep within our Heartbreakers-filled hearts. We think everyone can relate to this song, and most Heartbreakers' songs, really. Just examine this lyric for a second and try to tell us that it doesn’t resonate with you: “It took a world of trouble, it took a world of tears, it took a long time to get back here.” Don’t worry about getting back to us, we already know the answer.
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for saving us again, with this one. “It took a long time to get back here” (at this moment, we’re referring to this point in the blog).
5. Jammin' Me – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The first single from Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) is one of Tom’s songs that we consider a bop, as it definitely inspires toe-tapping. “It’ll All Work Out” is our favorite from this album, but we’ll always jam to this song.
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for inspiring us to write this blog. “You can walk away, but it’s not over” (our love for the Heartbreakers, and this blog, anyway).
And now, it’s time to turn the record over one last time.
1. Even The Losers – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
We grew up poor, always dreaming for more than what we had, and this song has always served as a reminder that our luck could turn any day (and it did in more ways than one). We have always found hope in Tom, “like every word [he] said was meant to be.”
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for this hope.
2. Hungry No More - Mudcrutch
“You can live on nothing at all” is one of Tom’s great lyrics, just like “people are what people make 'em, that ain't gonna change” from “I Forgive It All.” Both songs remind us of our past, along with the American Dream and surmounting the insurmountable, because “[you] ain’t gonna be hungry no more.” This song is another example of why we’ve always viewed Tom as an everyman.
Thank you, Tom, for keeping us dreaming.
3. I Forgive It All - Mudcrutch
This song reminds us of our childhood, which can only be described as difficult. After our parents’ recovery from drug addiction, in which we were separated for over a year, we were brought back together as a family, however temporarily, and chose to forgive their past mistakes in order to move forward. This experience, along with many others from our childhood, has made us empathetic to anyone experiencing similar struggles or hard times, at the least (at the most, it has made us stronger).
Thank you, Tom, for getting us through.
4. For Real – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers*
A previously unreleased track that was unsurfaced for this compilation, “For Real” seems to touch on all of our intentions for this blog, our second ode to Tom: “But I did it for real..woulda done it for free…I did it for me…'cause it was all that rang true…I did it for real and I did it for you.” Just to clarify, we do all of this for free, out of pure love as fans, because Tom and the Heartbreakers have always rung true to our Bell hearts, and that’s for real.
This song was also said to encompass Tom’s personal thoughts on stardom, which is another one of the reasons why we’ve always loved him as an artist. It’s already been almost two years since he passed, but he’s still with us all every day. He’s given us the best of everything (inside and outside of this release), and that’s all we need, really, “as time rolls on, and days go by.”
Thank you, Tom and the Heartbreakers, for everything.
*Previously unreleased tracks