Sunday, March 16, 2008


I'm making a friend of mine a collection of rare tracks by Tom Petty, with and without The Heartbreakers. It's 2 CDs long, and could be longer, but here are some of the highlights. What tracks do you think I'm missing?

"Honey Bee" Recorded live on Saturday Night Live in 1994. It was as Tom was promoting his second solo album, Wildflowers (although, as always, he performed with The Heartbreakres). This was right after founding drummer Stan Lynch quit the band - and also not long after Kurt Cobain's death. Dave Grohl filled in on drums, and Tom allegedly offered him a spot in the band. Apparently, Dave was a bit tempted: it would have allowed him to get away from the Nirvana thing, and play for an audience that wasn't there to hear Nirvana's drummer. Of course, he ended up not joining (Steve Ferrone has done a wonderful job as the drummer) but has done quite well with The Foo Fighters.

"Lost Highway" A Hank Williams cover recorded in 2006, I think during the Heartbreakers' 20th anniversary tour.

"Shadow Of A Doubt" The live version recorded by Tom at a solo acoustic performance at one of Neil Young's Bridge School benefit concerts.

"Since You Said You Loved Me" Released on Tom's Playback box set, it's a kind of Hall & Oates-sounding track.

"You're Gonna Change (Or I'm Gonna Leave)" Another Hank Williams cover, this one recorded solo (Tom played all the instruments on this, I think) from the Hank tribute album Timeless.

"Girl On LSD" The b-side to the "You Don't Know How It Feels" CD single.

"Waiting For Tonight" Somehow, this song didn't make the Full Moon Fever album. The Bangles are the backing vocalists, and I think this is the last thing they did before breaking up.

"Licence To Kill" A Bob Dylan cover, from the Dylan 30th annivesary tribute concert from 1992.

"Taxman" and "I Need You" Two Beatles covers from the George Harrison tribute concert.

"I'm Walkin'" A Fats Domino cover, from the recent tribute album Goin' Home.

"Blue Moon Of Kentucky" From a Sun Records tribute album.

"Heartbreakers Beach Party" The perfect soundtrack to your beach party.

"Cracking Up" written by Nick Lowe. This is a great song I hadn't heard before Tom covered it.

"Psychotic Reaction" Recorded live on the tour for Into The Great Wide Open, this is a cover of a song by The Count Five. On most nights, Stan Lynch sang it, but I only have a recording with Tom singing (which is probably just as well). I remember seeing them do this, and thinking it was a cool song (I'd never heard this one either).

"I'm Tired Joey Boy" A lovely Van Morrison song I'd never heard before.

"Lonely Weekends" A live cover of a song written by Charley Rich. I think Tom Petty is one of those guys who really helps to keep older forms of music, like rockabilly, alive.

"Gator On The Lawn" Maybe their most Florida-ish song.

"Somethin' Else" Another early rock and roll song, Tom and the boys do this kind of thing so well.

"King's Highway" This is a stripped down acoustic version of the Great Wide Open track. I won't diss that album's producer, Jeff Lynne (enough people have taken care of that)... but I like this version better (even though the original is great).

"Baby, Let's Play House" another great rendition of an early rock and roll song.

"The Apartment Song" The version of this song that made it to Full Moon Fever is one of my favorite songs on the album. But I like the demo version, featuring Stevie Nicks, even better.

"Big Boss Man" A Willie Dixon cover. I think the Dead did it, but Tom does it better.

"One More Shot" and "Restless": both songs are by the great Carl Perkins backed by Tom and the Heartbreakers. They are both from Carl's last album, Go, Cat, Go!

"Give Me Back My Job" Also from Go, Cat, Go!, this features Carl Perkins and Tom along with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Bono.

"Picture Show" This is John Prine, featuring Tom. It's from John's great album, The Missing Years, which was produced by the late Howie Epstein, who was the bass player in The Heartbreakers at the time. What a waste that he died. He wasn't just an important part of The Heartbreakers; judgint by The Missing Years, he also was a very good producer.

Three songs by Tom's former band Mudcrutch: "Depot Street," "I Can't Fight It," and "Don't Do Me Like That," which Tom later had a hit with.

Roger McGuinn's "King Of The Hill" This is from McGuinn's comeback album from 1991, Back From Rio. He'd been away from the music scene for a long time, and in that time, the music of The Byrds was super influencial: huge artists like Tom, Crowded House and R.E.M., to name three, were citing him as an influence. This song really helped to bring him back to the masses. On an unrelated note, Back From Rio was the first album I ever reviewed, it was for my college newspaper. On a slighty more related note, I've written about the great Tom Petty doc, Runnin' Down A Dream: one of the highlights is a scene when Tom and Roger are in the studio with two A&R guys from the label trying to get Roger to record a song that he doesn't like and Tom practically kicks them out of the studio.

OK, what did I miss? I'm thinking, for starters, the stuff Tom and the band did with Johnny Cash on 1996's Unchained album (which Tom cites as the best thing he and the Heartbreakers ever did). What else?


Anonymous said...

Try to get a hold of "Sweet William" its an non LP track on The Room At the Top single. Might be the rarest Tom Petty song ever. There is also a version of "Surrender" from the 70s floating around the net. I also heard an acoustic Mary Jane's Last Dance from a Bridge School Concert. That might be impossible to find.

Anonymous said...

The Bridge School Concert version of "Maryjane" actually can be found, I have it and is one of my favorite versions of the song. One of my all time favorite Tom Petty rarities is a country version of "Refugee" found on the Unseen in the 80's bootleg. The song "Surrender" can be found on another bootleg by the name of "Shout" which also contains some really good Chuck Berry covers. A JJ Cale cover of "13 Days" is probably on my favorites list and is on "Live at the Vic". As for non-bootlegs, the She's the One album has some really great songs that are literally never played on the Radio, "Supernatural Radio" and "Grew Up Fast" both start really mellow but kick into high gear progressively throughout the songs. There's quite a few more songs that I would recommend, but most are on bootlegs which can be somewhat difficult to get ahold of, otherwise, the majority of the songs that you have mentioned are from the Playback set, but are great B sides and previously unreleased material. Good job. -Dan

Brandon said...

got another one for you... "Don't Treat Me Like Stranger" UK B-Side from "I Won't Back Down"