5 Awesome Tom Petty Songs to Add to Your Road Trip Playlist



Tom Petty awakened the imagination and the heart of a generation with his soulful lyrics, catchy riffs and his authentic personality. Even when their songs were new, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers always had that classic and timeless feel. In every way, Petty was a natural entertainer and performer as a youth, drawing inspiration from Elvis and the Beatles at an early age. From his first bands, the Epics and Mudcrutch, to the Heartbreakers and various solo stints, Tom Petty created a sound that has lasted for almost 50 years.

This list is by no means exhaustive, given Petty’s extensive catalog. It’s also not in any particular order with respect to a top 5 list. The songs here are just our favorite Tom Petty songs when we’re out and about, be it for business or pleasure.

# 1: American girl

american girl In 1977, when it was released, it was actually gaining more traction in the UK. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers began a European tour behind their self-titled album, but returned to Los Angeles to find the record wasn’t selling at home. At least initially, there was some misunderstanding in the American music business about who (or what) Tom Petty was.

On the cover of the 1976 album, it says Petty in a black jacket with a row of bullets on the left. American record executives thought the Heartbreakers might be a punk band and dropped the album almost immediately after seeing the cover. Jon “Sizzling Memphis” Scott, then head of national album promotion for ABC Records, petitioned radio stations to shoot Heartbreakers and urged the label not to drop the group. Scott, who wrote the book Tom Petty and mesaid while listening mental breakdown and american girlHe got chills and knew it was a hit record.

american girl was the last song Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ever played live. The band ended the last concert of their 40th anniversary tour at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles at the end of September 2017 with the legendary song. Just a week later, on October 2, 2017, Tom Petty died of complications from cardiac arrest.

# 2: lonely sunset

The darker the tone of Lonely sunset is good when you’ve had a bad day. From the heartbreakers echo Album in 1999, Lonely sunset was not an official single as this distinction fell on the other hits on the record Free girl now and Upstairs room. Still, we can’t help but wonder if the girl mentioned him Lonely sunset is related to those alluded to in Free girl now or Free fallin ‘ or Here comes my girl.

Whoever that girl is in Lonely sunset was, she seemed to mean the world to Petty. “The words have changed several times on that song,” said Petty told Rolling Stone. “I worked a lot more on it than on the others.”

The song later appeared in the 2018 boxing set entitled An American treasure.

# 3: running down a dream

Not only is this one of Tom Petty’s best road trip songs, it’s also one of the best road trip songs of all time. The beat, the lyrics and the mood of Run down a dream;; All of this makes you want to roll down the windows (or drop the top if you have a convertible) and get stuck. It’s impossible to resist the urge to sing, and sitting in the passenger seat can end up popping your air guitar out for the solo.

Mike Campbell and Jeff Lynne wrote it with Petty for his first solo album, Full moon feverThe rest, as the old saying goes, is history. Even if sooner or later you don’t add them to your travel playlist, Run down a dream fill your car as you scan the radio waves for a classic rock station. And at this point you have no choice but to sing along and crush your air guitar.

# 4: the wait

One of the best examples of the timeless sound of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The wait was the lead single from the band’s 1981 album Hard promises. While the album was being recorded in late 1980, there was a chance that Petty would meet John Lennon as Ringo Starr was working on his own record in the same studio. In the book, Conversations with Tom Petty by Paul Zollo, Petty recalls that Lennon was supposed to sing on Starr’s album – or at least that was the “talk then”.

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The meeting would never take place as Lennon was gunned down in December. To convey their sadness and pay tribute to Lennon, the Heartbreakers etched the phrase “We Love You JL” into the run-out groove of Hard promises.

As for The waitYou can remember its various uses in popular culture The office to The simpsons. While The wait later mated by artists like Linda Ronstadt, Natalie Imbruglia and Jon Pardi, The Bob & Tom Show had their own parody version called Ned Beatty had the hardest part.

# 5: Handle with care

The beginning track of Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 contains the line “sent to hypnotized meetings” which suddenly takes on a new meaning at a time when zoom calls are the norm.

Under the guise of traveling musicians and half-brothers (father of Elder Charles Truscott Wilbury), the band consisted of some of the greatest rock greats. Petty was joined by Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and George Harrison (who originally conceived the group with Lynne). Write for Any musicStephen Thomas Erlewine notes that there has never been a supergroup better than the Traveling Wilburys.

Although the Traveling Wilburys differed greatly from mainstream music in the late 1980s, the project arguably reinvigorated the careers of Dylan and Orbison. Interwoven with the inherent coolness of the Traveling Wilburys is the void created by Orbison’s death less than two months later Handle with care was released in 1988. “He was such a brilliant singer and a lovely guy,” Lynne recalled an interview with Billboard. “I had the world for Roy all the time.”

What’s your favorite Tom Petty song?

The songs here are great for a weekend getaway or road trip. But we’ve only just scratched the surface of Tom Petty’s incredible catalog. What’s your favorite song of his? Share it with us on twitter.

Carl Anthony is the Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, past President of the Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

Cover photo: Tom Petty Nation.



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