Remembering Tom Petty : Five Essential Tracks

Remembering Tom Petty : Five Essential Tracks

Rest in peace, thank you for teaching me how to fly.


Singer songwriter and rock legend Tom Petty passed away last week. He was 66. Tom Petty may not have been as a big a name for our generation as he was for our parents, but he was an icon and influenced many. On a personal note, Tom Petty has been an all time favorite of mine since I was really little. What made his music so special was that he sang and wrote about life. His songs weren't lusty love ballads or heartbroken croonings, but real, acoustic, testaments to life and all that comes with it.

1. Learning To Fly (1991)

From his eighth studio album Learning to Fly is one of Tom Petty's most iconic hits. This song will forever be an example of the legacy he left behind. It's the first song of his, that at the tender age of 10, I remember falling in love with. This song is pure poetry, it flows so beautifully. It's a song about life and all the growing pains that come with it. This was one of the first songs I remember, that really resonated with me. It's a timeless song that will never not ring true. This is the case with much of Tom Petty's music.

2. I Won't Back Down (1989)

This is a more recent favorite. From his debut solo studio album, Full Moon Fever, I Won't Back Down is another classic from Tom Petty. It's one of his most famous hits. Remembered for it's powerful lyrics and strong message, this song is classic Tom Petty. Like so many of his songs, this anthem isn't about love but life and human strength.

3. You Don't Know How It Feels

From his second solo studio album Wildflowers, this is another one of my personal favorite Tom Petty classics. It's a slight change from his earlier work. This piece is more folksy, but not out od the ordinary for Tom Petty. If I were to describe Tom Petty's style in one word it would be authentic. I think this song is a prime example of that quality, how he strived to include that in his music and how much it defined his identity as an artist.

4. Free Fallin (1989)

Tom Petty's 1989 hit Free Fallin' is another hit from his first solo studio album Full Moon Fever. Like many of his songs, this is another one that is beloved by his fans. It's been preformed at more then a few historic events such as the 1989 MTV Video Awards and the 2008 Superbowl Halftime show. Free Fallin' also currently holds the 117 spot on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

5. Stop Draggin My Heart Around (1981)

For this 1981 hit, Petty partnered with acclaimed rocker and songstress Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac). Stop Draggin' My Heart Around was one of the most popular tracks on her first studio solo album Bella Donna. It's one of my personal favorites, not only because it features Stevie Nicks, but it's one of Tom Petty's most underrated duet performances. The lyrics and music are only bit of what makes this song so great. The other being, the chemistry between the two icons, no wonder rumors swirled that they were an item. Over the next 40 years, Nicks and Petty would team up multiple times. The last being a summer show in London this year at which Petty brought her out on stage to preform this very song.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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