Cultural Index Thursday – The Tom Petty Edition

About 30 years or so ago I bought a tape that’s a part of my musical library and really helped shape my musical tastes over these past three decades. I picked up Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “Pack Up The Plantation: Live!” cassette.

What ever comes after cool. What ever comes after epic. What ever comes after rock and roll, that’s what I heard.

Of course we lost Petty earlier this week as another one of The Traveling Wilburys left us too soon, with still much more music left.


This week we simply ask you to rank your Top 5 Tom Petty songs. Good luck trying to keep it at five!

  • 5. Nightwatchman – A great song that can really kick-off a show or get you in the mood to rock. As always, the live versions are the best. You can find a great recording on the Live Anthology that came out in 2009.
  • 4. A Woman In Love – Highly underrated among “early” Petty hits. This one combines great lyrics with some ripping guitar work. Sadly it gets overlooked by more well-known Petty songs and you rarely hear it on the radio.
  • 3.  The Waiting – Every day see one more card.
  • 2.  Rebels – If you’re from anywhere South of the Mason-Dixon Line you get this one.
  • 1.  Southern Accents – Not just one of Petty’s best songs, maybe one of the best songs ever. Period. End of sentence.

OK. There’s my Top 5 Tom Petty songs. There are so many to choose from I can’t see what y’all post in addition to these. I could have easily done a Top 20.

Thanks for the music, Tom.


This article has 9 Comments

  1. I’m a little surprised that “Runnin’ Down a Dream” didn’t make the list – especially since it’s so closely associated with mid-90’s Tech baseball.

  2. It’s hard to list just five. In no particular order:
    Refuge, Running Down A Dream, You Got Lucky, I Won’t Back Down, End Of The Line.
    I’m requesting bonus points for listing Tom as the voice for “Lucky Kleinschmidt.”

    I don’t usually get upset over the passing of celebrities, but this one has really got me bummed out.

  3. Good stuff, can’t argue with any of these. Last dance with Mary Jane for the video because I would totally dance with a Kim Bassinger corpse back in the day.

  4. 5. American Girl
    4. Stop Dragging My Heart Around, with Stevie Nicks.
    3. I Won’t Back Down
    2. Free Fallin’
    1. The Waiting

    I’ll give honorable mention to;
    * She’s My Baby, as one of the Traveling Wilburys.
    * Learning to Fly
    * Don’t Do Me Like That
    * Last Night, again, with the Traveling Wilburys
    * Handle with Care… one more, with the Traveling Wilburys. Perhaps I just threw this one in, not because of Tom Petty, but because of the great Roy Orbison.

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