The Friday 5×2: RIP Tom Petty

I guess you’d call me a casual Tom Petty fan. I mean, I liked his songs (the ones I heard on the radio) and owned Full Moon Fever and the two Traveling Wilburys albums (all of which I managed to discard when I no longer had a working tape player and before I had a way to rip them to disk as MP3’s).

Nevertheless, I felt a sense of loss when I heard the news on Monday that he had died, and knew that I’d have to put together some kind of a tribute today, so that’s what I’ve done: here are ten songs with him as a frontman and as a member of the Traveling Wilburys. There are much better tributes to him on YouTube and Spotify, and I hope you’ll take some time to listen to them.

  1. Free Fallin’ The opening track from Full Moon Fever (his first solo album), and one of his better-known songs. He wrote this with Jeff Lynne as the first track for the album, and released it as a single. It peaked at #7 on the Hot 100 in January 1990.
  2. Breakdown From Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ eponymous first album in 1978, it peaked at #40 in both the US and Canada.
  3. Don’t Come Around Here No More From their 1985 album Southern Accents, it reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Hot Album Tracks chart.
  4. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (with Stevie Nicks) From Stevie’s 1981 debut solo album, Bella Donna, it was the 25th video shown on MTV when it first started.
  5. Refugee Released in 1980 as the second single from 1979 album Damn The Torpedoes, it reached #15 on the Hot 100, #11 on the Cash Box survey, and #2 on Canada’s RPM survey.
  6. American Girl The second single from their debut album, it was released on Bicentennial Day (July 4, 1976) and reached #40 in the UK. Re-released in 1994, it got to #9 on the “bubbling under” Hot 100 (i.e. #109). Rolling Stone ranked it at #76 on their list of best guitar songs all-time.
  7. I Won’t Back Down Another from Full Moon Fever, it was the first single from the album, peaking at #12 on the Hot 100 and spending five weeks atop the Album Rock Tracks chart.
  8. Runnin’ Down A Dream My favorite video of his, because it reminds me of a Max Fleischer cartoon. From Full Moon Fever, it was the second single from the album, peaking at #23 in the US and Canada and topping the Album Rock Tracks survey. 
  9. The Wilbury Twist The last song on The Traveling Wilburys’ 1990 album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, where Tom was billed as Muddy Wilbury.
  10. End Of The Line Likewise, the last song on 1988’s Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, where he was billed as Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. It peaked at #63.

So now George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty are in Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven. Hard to imagine. Anyway, if you have any favorite Tom Petty songs (including his wotk with Bob Dylan and The Traveling Wilburys), leave a comment. If I get enough, I’ll do them next week.

Here’s a bonus video: Terri Hemmert, who has been at WXRT (93 FM Chicago) as long as I can remember (as in over 40 years), talks about an interview she did with Tom a few years ago and how she was able to cheer him up at a bad time in his career.

And here’s a link to an article that discusses why Tom’s music will last.

That’s The Friday 5×2 for October 6, 2017.

17 thoughts on “The Friday 5×2: RIP Tom Petty

  1. What a great video with Terri Hemmert. I think the song While My Guitar Gently Weeps that Tom Petty, Jeff Lynn and George’s son, Dhani, played that night is fantastic. I just saw it again on Facebook and Prince is spectacular as well. Thanks for sharing that story, John. I am still sad.


      1. Absolutely! I often wondered what it would be like if he and Ringo, Paul and Julian Lennon got together. I think Julian looks more like his dad than Sean does.


  2. Wow that’s some serious longevity for a DJ to be at one station for 4 decades, especially in an industry so volatile. I really appreciated hearing Terri Hemmert’s comments about her time spent with Tom Petty. She got to see, up front and personal, what makes Tom Petty so special and why he’ll be so missed: he was real, he had heart, and he was all about the music, through and through, and he selflessly gave to his fans and his fellow musicians. Thanks for posting that video. What a great picture of her with Tom. Isn’t it cool how a few minutes with someone can dramatically change one’s perspective and mood…

    Have a good weekend John.

    Michele at Angels Bark


    1. The staff at WXRT hasn’t turned over much since it was sharing time with a foreign-language station in the early Seventies. I first heard about “two for Tuesday” from them. Now everyone does it.

      Terri is, first and foremost, a fan. She loves music and the people who make it. I have a feeling she already knew why Tom was special and had the empathy to remind him of why.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. XRT is alive and well and was also a defining station during my teens in the early 90’s. Full Moon Fever was one of my favorite albums of that time and defined my early high school years before Pearl Jam Ten arrived.


    1. WXRT used to share the frequency with a foreign-language station when they first started. Listen to them now, they sound about like they did in the early 70’s. I listened to them in the car when I was in Chicago and WNUA stopped playing smooth jazz. “Full Moon Fever” was the only Tom Petty album I had; it was just that good.


  4. You got all my favorites, John. I was the same kind of fan. There’s a good documentary about Petty on Netflix – gives you some insight into the man.
    “Breakdown” is so good! But anything The Wilburys put together was magic. 🎶🎶🎶


  5. Thank you for the great tunes this morning 🙂
    I was also a casual fan, but I did see him in concert at least once. I have a feeling it may have been twice, but I wouldn’t swear to it. After your list comes the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame song with Prince and Jeff Lynne et al, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and I listen to that several times a week. I love that performance.
    Lost another legend, we did.


    1. We saw him live, must have been 30 years ago. He was still hitting the high notes and put on a hell of a show. He did some wonderful stuff, and I really mourned when he left us. I love in the video of “End Of The Line,” where they put his guitar on a rocker and focused on a picture of him during his chorus. A fitting tribute…

      Liked by 1 person

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