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Favorite Tom Petty Song

Entertainment Posted by glen 3 years, 8 months ago

Tom has passed, and I've been reflecting on the huge musical impact he had on my life.

This question was brought up in last week's podcast, and it was hard to pin down for me. I think if I had a gun to my head, I'd say it was I Won't Back Down. The man knew how to write a hook.

What's yours?

Edit: After giving a listen to a stellar Tom Petty playlist, I've revised my answer to a two-way tie: I Won't Back Down and Learning to Fly.

Second Edit: I've taken our answers and created a YouTube playlist to enjoy the favorites from the community. I'll continue to add to it as more answers come in.

16 replies

  • elancaster65

    Yep. My two as well. Being a pilot, Learning to Fly is an obvious choice (also one of my Fave Pink Floyd and Foo Fighters songs!). I Won't Back Down I used to sneak into the rotation when I played the music before, between and after services at church. I'm a rebel like that...


  • brian

    Breakdown. It was overshadowed by American Girl, but being the first single they ever released, I really like that it was a slow, smooth 1980s groove — an interesting way to start off your career since he was known later for more driving rock songs.


    • glen

      True story: I was listening to this song driving down the highway with a friend near my high school when... yep, my car broke down.

      Great song, crappy car.


  • I've got to go with either "Cabin down below" or "Mary Jane's Last Dance. Admittedly, as a drummer I pick songs based on "drumming fun factor" which I realize isn't everyone's gauge of goodness. If you want to teach a drummer about "playing in the pocket" Mary Jane's Last Dance is a great example of that. What I love about Tom Petty's songs are ones like Free Falling and Won't Back Down speak to people on a thousand different levels. How can that NOT be the mark of a truly great song?


    • glen

      Running Down a Dream was one of my favorites in high school because I could actually play the guitar lick! I totally get it.

      Mary Jane's Last Dance: Another great, weird music video (with Kim Basinger, no less).


  • emtay

    Watching him sing "Won't back down" on the 9/11 special that came on a few days after solidified it for me. But...coming home from school and turning on the MTV to see the hot girl on the skate ramp (who couldn't skate a lick) in the "Free Fallin" video had a big impact too. It still takes me back to my younger days.


  • Razorback

    Thanks for the playlist, Glen.

    Also just noticed that there is a whopping 4-hour documentary called "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream" on Netflix. Have not watched it yet but it is now on my list.