’s coming to town on Sunday. Again. Seems like the dude plays Blossom every single summer. It’s gotten to the point where we’re sorta taking him for granted. Sure, that’s easy to do, especially with recent crappy albums like The Last DJ
and Highway Companion
. But go back and revisit his Greatest Hits
album, and you’ll realize how durable the guy is. So go see Petty for the rock legend he’s become. Here are his Top 5 songs – perfect for that pre-concert mix you’ll be making.
5. “Even the Losers” – Almost every song on Damn the Torpedoes
is killer. It’s his most consistent and best album. But this super rocker – about smoking cigs and coming out on top – is archetypal Petty: tough and to the point.
4. “Don’t Come Around Here No More” – Southern Accents
is Petty’s most underrated album, a concept record about the south. Dropped in the middle of all the songs about rebels and broken-down trucks is this psychedelic mind-fuck produced by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart.
3. “The Waiting” – A jingle-jangle love song that sounds like summer. It’s got a killer hook and still shows up in Petty’s live sets a quarter century later.
2. “American Girl” – Petty’s first great song pretty much set his standard: cool opening riff, solid verse-chorus-verse, and terrific guitar solo by Heartbreaker Mike Campbell. It still rocks 30-plus years on.
1. “Free Fallin’” – Petty’s biggest album and most popular song come from his first solo album without the Heartbreakers. It’s about L.A. vampires, wide-open spaces, and some girl who really digs Elvis. It doesn’t get more American than that. --Michael Gallucci
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers play Blossom Music Center (1145 West Steels Corners Road in Cuyahoga Falls) at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 22. Tickets range from $29.50 to $95, available by calling 216-241-5555. For a preview, listen to “American Girl” below.