Legendary musician Tom Petty, whom TMZ reported was on life support before dying late Monday night, has had a classic rock career that spanned more than 40 years, playing with his band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Traveling Wilburys, and solo.
Here are eight Tom Petty songs fans will always remember.
Petty’s first hit in 1976 from the Heartbreakers’ debut album wasn’t immediately popular with fans or critics, but gained popularity after a few years of touring and made it into the top 40 in 1978. Live versions of the song were often seven minutes or longer, even though the studio version was under three minutes.
2. “Learning to Fly”
Co-written with Traveling Wilburys pal Jeff Lynne of ELO, this 1991 release got a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Song that year and was from the “Into the Great Wide Open” Heartbreakers album.
3. “Runnin’ Down a Dream”
The album “Full Moon Fever” signified a resurgence of sorts for Petty, and the energy of this song earned it a lot of air play and a spot in the Billboard Top 40, and it became the title of the 2007 documentary on Petty and the band.
4. “I Won’t Back Down”
Another hit from “Full Moon Fever,” this song has become an iconic anthem for many in the classic rock world since its release in 1989.
5. “You Don’t Know How It Feels”
The lead single from “Wildflowers,” this song was Petty’s last Top 40 hit and talked about Petty’s need for autonomy in his personal and professional lives. The accordion and harmonica solos are legendary, and so were the lyrics about “rolling another joint,” which had to be censored for radio at the time.
This song was nominated for a Best Male Rock Vocal Performance Grammy and was the opening track of “Full Moon Fever.” Jeff Lynne co-wrote and appears on background vocals and bass guitar on the number, which was one of Petty’s biggest hits.
7. “American Girl”
This single, like “Breakdown,” did not originally hit the charts, but it was huge when it was re-released on the “Wildflowers” album in 1994, and was named one of the 100 greatest guitar songs of all time by Rolling Stone. Several movies featured the song, including “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “The Silence of the Lambs.”
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