Tom Petty died this week, so just a few personal thoughts:

  1. Shortly after the movie version of High Fidelity came out, I started dating someone, and one of our earliest conversations turned to top five records. I put Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Greatest Hits on my list. Being young and dumb I didn’t think about the fact that there’s a more that goes into a record than just putting a bunch of popular songs on it that span an artist’s or band’s career, which is all a greatest hits record is; I wouldn’t put a greatest hits record on that list today. And yet… tell me that this isn’t, simply, a great fucking album:
    • American Girl
    • Breakdown
    • Listen to Her Heart
    • I Need to Know
    • Refugee
    • Don’t Do Me Like That
    • Even the Losers
    • Here Comes My Girl
    • The Waiting
    • You Got Lucky
    • Don’t Come Around Here No More
    • I Won’t Back Down
    • Runnin’ Down a Dream
    • Free Fallin’
    • Learning to Fly
    • Into the Great Wide Open
    • Mary Jane’s Last Dance
    • Something in the Air

There’s not one skippable song on there, and the order is perfect. Most greatest hits records have one or two songs on them that the band likes but no one else does, and most you can just throw on shuffle and enjoy… this one is just perfect as-is.

  1. This is a great driving album, with “Runnin’ Down a Dream” being the highlight. I remember my friend Grant and I singing along to this on the way up north to his parents’ trailer circa 2001.
  2. I know it’s easy to goof on Tom Cruise, and it’s actually pretty easy to goof on Cameron Crowe now too, but Cruise singing “Free Fallin’” in Jerry Maguire is a pretty perfect match of music and movie.
  3. Speaking of Free Fallin’ (and guys that it’s easy to goof on), John Mayer’s cover of “Free Fallin'” from his Live in L.A. record is pretty superb.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. RIP Tom Petty.