The perfect introduction to an iconic legacy

By Sergio Ariza

2019 is going to be a celebration for Tom Petty fans because this year brings certain dates marked in red on the calendar, October 19th marks the 40 year anniversary of his masterpiece with the Heartbreakers, Damn The Torpedoes, while the 29th of April celebrates the 30th birthday of his most popular album, Full Moon Fever, and November 1st marks the day 25 years ago he released his last masterpiece, Wildflowers. But before all of this, we’ll see the release of The Best of Everything - The Definitive Career Spanning His Collection 1976-2016 (Warner Music), the first compilation of his career that encompasses all of his different stages, with the Heartbreakers, going solo, and together with the reformed Mudcrutch (there is not a trace of his time with the Travelling Wilburys, alongside Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne). It offers two songs (for purists) that were never released, a version of the title The Best of Everything, with a new verse and a brand new number, For Real, with autobiographical lyrics.    

The rest of the record is what is to be expected from this type of compilation album, with all the songs that must be there, from American Girl to You Don’t Know How It Feels, from Breakdown to Mary’s Last Dance, without forgetting Refugee, Don’t Do Me Like That, Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, Free Fallin’ and I Won’t Back Down. But there is also room for less obvious gems from the end of his career, like Walls (Circus) which showed his love for the Beatles, and especially his Wildurys mate George Harrison, who was there for his whole career. Let’s neither overlook Mudcrutch, the first important band in his life that he picked up again in 2008, with whom he released 2 records that are well represented here.

If the recently published An American Treasure was a real treat for staunch supporters, those of us who had already resigned ourselves to not having a new record by Tom Petty, this compilation, on 2 records with 38 songs, is a good starting point to his rich catalogue for new fans. It serves as a good log for a career that had many defining moments, from his debut in 1976 with the irreplaceable Heartbreakers, with the great Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench at the helm, to his maturity stage at Warner that began with the splendid Wildflowers and lasted till the end of his days. It is a perfect occasion to go back and delight in their legendary beginning on American Girl, with Campbell’s Broadcaster and Petty’s ‘64 Stratocaster Sunburst giving a rock and roll lesson with the exquisite Rickenbacker on Here Comes My Girl, to Stevie Nicks lovely vocals on the massive hit Stop Draggin’ My Love Around, and get excited again with Free Fallin’ or get back to screaming You Wreck Me.  

As I was saying, this is the perfect portal of entry to the Petty universe for neophytes, replacing the famous Greatest Hits from 1992, showing the decisive moments of his career of over 40 years and spanned 5 different decades. For the truly faithful it might serve as an appetiser for what’s to come in 2019, among which is the re-issue of Wildflowers with songs that were left out back then (there was even  talk of a possible double album), and finally will see daylight. And it seems clear that Petty’s catalogue still brings a few surprises. In the meantime let’s delight in the songs that earned a place alongside people like Dylan, Harrison, and Springsteen, the great names of 20th century pop music, among which, without a doubt, is Tom Petty.

Disc 1
1. "Free Fallin’" Full Moon Fever
2. "Mary Jane’s Last Dance" Greatest Hits
3. "You Wreck Me" Wildflowers
4. "I Won’t Back Down" Full Moon Fever
5. "Saving Grace" Highway Companion
6. "You Don’t Know How It Feels" Wildflowers
7. "Don’t Do Me Like That" Damn the Torpedoes
8. "Listen to Her Heart" You're Gonna Get It!
9. "Breakdown" 1º
10. "Walls (Circus)" Songs and Music from "She's the One"
11. "The Waiting" Hard Promises
12. "Don’t Come Around Here No More" Southern Accents
13. "Southern Accents" Southern Accents
14. "Angel Dream (No. 2)" Songs and Music from "She's the One"
15. "Dreamville" The Last DJ
16. "I Should Have Known It" Mojo
17. "Refugee" Damn the Torpedoes
18. "American Girl" 1º
19. "The Best of Everything" (Alt. Version) Southern Accents

Disc 2
1. "Wildflowers" Wildflowers
2. "Learning to Fly" Into the Great Wide Open
3. "Here Comes My Girl" Damn the Torpedoes
4. "The Last DJ" The Last DJ
5. "I Need to Know" You're Gonna Get It!
6. "Scare Easy" Mudcrutch
7. "You Got Lucky" Long After Dark
8. "Runnin’ Down a Dream" Full Moon Fever
9. "American Dream Plan B"
10. "Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around" (feat. Stevie Nicks) Single
11. "Trailer" Mudcrutch 2
12. "Into the Great Wide Open" Into the Great Wide Open
13. "Room at the Top" Echo
14. "Square One" Highway Companion
15. "Jammin’ Me" Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)
16. "Even the Losers" Damn the Torpedoes
17. "Hungry No More" Mudcrutch 2
18. "I Forgive It All" Mudcrutch 2
19. "For Real" New