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Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Greatest Hits, originally released in 1993, has gone on to be the best selling collection in the band’s four decades and counting career. Over seven times platinum, this collection now has been remastered.He’s sold millions of albums, filled arenas, and hobnobbed with George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison, but Tom Petty’s driving heartland rock has often been taken for granted by the same critics who hail John Mellencamp as a genius. Greatest Hits is an airtight argument for Petty’s own greatness. Starting with “American Girl,” the rollicking, Byrds-inspired single from Petty’s first album in 1976, this compilation presents a chronological overview of the guitarist-vocalist’s career with and without the Heartbreakers, also chronically underrated as one of today’s best bands. Every one of the 16 older tracks is a well-crafted gem, full of solid guitar hooks (“Here Comes My Girl”), arresting images (“Don’t Come Around Here No More”) and simple but poetic lyrics (“The Waiting”).

Petty isn’t an innovator; he’s a talented craftsman with impeccable taste and a strong sense of rock history, internalizing influences ranging from the Beatles’ psychedelic masterpiece, Revolver, to the best of ’70s punk. (It’s interesting to remember that early efforts such as “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That” first won Petty attention as a New Wave artist). With his Dylanesque vocals and chiming 12-string guitars, Petty is more often linked these days with the sounds of the ’60s. But recent tunes such as “Learning to Fly” and “Into the Great Wide Open” are as smart, relevant and (dare I say) alternative as anything in MTV’s Buzz Bin. –Jim DeRogatis

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3 Responses to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits

  • 5:15 AM says:
    78 of 81 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    BEWARE: You MAY already own this!, May 20, 2008
    By 
    5:15 AM
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    This review is from: Greatest Hits (Audio CD)

    Do not be fooled by this newest “Greatest Hits” collection released for Tom Petty as it is the same as the package released in 1993 with one minor and one major exception. Additionally, the proclamation that this contains ‘EXTRA TRACKS’ is completely misleading.

    The minor exception is that they have simply changed the cover and the major exception is that they REPLACED the last track on the first Greatest Hits (“Something in the Air”) with the Petty/Nicks collaboration “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Hence, there are no EXTRA tracks, but simply a substitute of one for another! “Something in the Air” was an exclusive track and cannot be found on any other Tom Petty collection. Adding “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” as the last track also interrupts the chronological order of the first 17 songs, as it was released in 1981 and follows his 1993 track “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” As of this writing, the first Petty hits collection is still in print and about two bucks cheaper. However, I cannot imagine the record companies keeping both available.

    As far as the songs go, both of these collections include Petty’s biggest hits up to 1993 such as “Refugee,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “The Waiting,” and “I Won’t Back Down” and it is second only to the two disc anthology titled “Anthology: Through the Years” which I would recommend over this one if you prefer a more comprehensive overview of Petty’s work as that collection includes his hits up to the year 2000 and has everything that is on here at a very good price.

    If you already own the first “Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits” you can always just download “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” if you need that song. As far as a one disc collection goes I cannot imagine one being more thorough than this one. Minus one star, however, for the redundancy and misleading information regarding ‘extra tracks.’

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  • Daniel J. Hamlow says:
    40 of 41 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Ideal one disc compilation for Petty and Heartbreakers, June 28, 2003
    By 
    Daniel J. Hamlow (Narita, Japan) –
    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits (Audio CD)

    The first greatest hits collection by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers covering from 1977 to 1993 does omit some material, such as “Jammin’ Me” from 1987′s Let Me Up, but on the whole, serves to demonstrate their impact on the late 1970′s through early 90′s music scene. Key[]=original studio album.

    Petty’s first single, “American Girl” defined the sound he brought to American music. The title character was “raised on promises/she couldn’t help thinking that there/was a little more to life.” It also regained popularity as the song Buffalo Bill’s victim was jamming to in Silence Of The Lambs. [Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers]

    The downbeat “Breakdown” from the same album, is a statement of connection from a man to a woman.

    “Listen To Her Heart” throws verbal punches at the wrong kind of man with designs for a girl, and that opening guitar is wonderful, especially as the drums kick in. Petty really socks it to me: “She’s gonna listen to her heart/It’s gonna tell her what to do/She might need a lot of loving/But she don’t need you.” [You're Gonna Get It]

    The “is she free or isn’t she free?” dilemma is explored in the rockingly engaging but poignant “I Need To Know”: “I need to know(I need to know)/Because I don’t know how long/I can hold on/And if your makin’ me wait/If you’re leadin’ me on/I need to know(I need to know).” [You're Gonna Get It]

    Tom Petty’s signature tune, taken from Damn The Torpedoes, is hands-down my favourite. The narrator comforts a girl who’s had a rough, tumble-down life and surmises “Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have/Kicked you around some/Tell me why you wanna lay there/Revel in your abandon” And the message in the chorus: “You see, you don’t have to live like a Refugee.”

    The other three singles from that album are “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Here Comes My Girl” and “Even The Losers.”
    The bittersweet latter is one of my favourites, as it depressingly realizes the folly of some things too good to last, however, “…even the losers get lucky sometimes/Even the losers keep a little bit of pride/They get lucky sometimes.” Really? Well if even the losers get lucky, what am I, who am not lucky at all?

    Southern Accent’s only big single, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” which even has a snatch of sitar in the beginning is a funnily nasty song on fed-up love: “I’ve given up, stop. I’ve given up, stop./I’ve given up, stop. on waiting any longer/I’ve given up, on this love getting stronger.” And the title tells the girl to well… don’t come around here no more. It builds up to a raging guitar jam at the end.

    The Rickenbacker guitar opening “The Waiting” and the chorus, where Petty sings “The waiting is the hardest part” after seeing all those “cards” really makes this a standout song. [Hard Promises]

    The sole representative from 1982′s Long After Dark, “You Got Lucky” is a dark brooding number punctuated by 80′s New Wave keyboards.

    There are three songs from his solo album Full Moon Fever, produced by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne and fellow Travelling Wilbury, which boosted Petty’s flagging career as the 1980′s were dying out. “I Won’t Back Down” defines Petty’s philosophy perfectly–”Well I know what’s right, I got just one life/In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around/But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down.” And how can he, especially with backup from George Harrison’s guitar? “Running Down A Dream” is the last thing Petty would do, and this rocking, cruising down the highway is a standout. The mid-paced, lazy-Sunday-afternoon feeling of “Free Fallin’” on LA life was the single that proved Petty was still radio-friendly material.

    Jeff Lynne produced Into The Great Wide Open and his sound shows on the first single “Learning To Fly.” The moral is told thus: “Well some say life will beat you down/Break your heart, steal your crown/So I started out for god knows where/But I guess I’ll know when I get there.” The title track is the story of a high-school dropout who makes it big in the music bigtime.

    There are two new songs here, the slow “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”–love that harmonica, and a cover of Thunderclap Newman’s “Something In The Air,” the song played at the end of The Magic Christian movie. As Petty revolutionized artistic control during his troubles with MCA, the song does fit him.

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  • Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" says:
    32 of 34 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The best of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1976-1993, July 17, 2004
    By 
    Daniel Jolley “darkgenius” (Shelby, North Carolina USA) –
    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)
      
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    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits (Audio CD)

    Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits pulls together 18 great tracks from one of rock’s most legendary yet still underrated groups, covering Petty’s career from 1976 up through 1993. Of course, Petty has released several classic albums since this GH CD was released, but this album provides fans unfamiliar with the consistency and strength of Petty’s early years the chance to see that something good did indeed emerge from the musical doldrums of the 1970s. Petty’s whiffs and raw, throaty vocals were a proverbial breath of fresh air during the days of disco. At the time, the music was characterized as new wave, if you can imagine that, but the heart of Petty’s music has always been in America’s heartland; while he has successfully incorporated a number of musical stylings over the years, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers remain the embodiment of classic rock ‘n’ roll.

    The band’s 1976 self-titled debut album barely made a ripple in America until the band found success in the UK – then, America took notice of the first single Breakdown and the rock classic American Girl. You’re Gonna Get It was released in 1978 and supplies the tracks Listen To Her Heart and I Need to Know. Much greater success was waiting in 1979 when Damn the Torpedoes saw the light of day, and this GH collection features four unforgettable tracks from that breakthrough album: Refugee, Don’t Do Me Like That, Even the Losers, and Here Comes My Girl. It’s hard to believe Refugee maxed out at number 15 in the US charts, as the song was all over the airwaves at the time. These four songs reflect the growth and maturation of Petty & the Heartbreakers as they truly began to establish a rock ‘n’ roll legacy. The group’s next two albums, Hard Promises (1981) and Long After Dark (1982) saw only moderate success and are represented here by only two tracks: The Waiting and You Got Lucky, respectively.

    Three years of work paid off when Southern Accents was released in 1985. It’s a great album, even though only one track from the album appears on this GH collection. Don’t Come Around Here No More is especially memorable for its twisted Alice in Wonderland video- it’s one of the most famous music videos of all time. Full Moon Fever (1989) made Petty a legend with hits such as I Won’t Back Down (featuring fellow Wilbury George Harrison), Runnin’ Down a Dream, and Free Fallin’. Into the Great Wide Open (1991) kept the ball rolling with hits such as the title track and Learning to Fly.

    This Greatest Hits album concludes with two brand new songs. Mary Jane’s Last Dance (and its accompanying video featuring Kim Basinger) was a big hit, while Something In the Air is a great song obviously influenced by Petty’s recent collaborations with Jeff Lynne and George Harrison in the guise of the Traveling Wilburys. I’m a little disappointed that nothing from 1987′s Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) is included in this collection; I’ve never understood the album’s lack of success as it features some great tunes including Jammin’ Me, which was co-written by Bob Dylan.

    There are more inclusive Petty collections out there these days, but if you want the heart and soul of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on one CD, the 18 tracks on Greatest Hits will serve you quite well indeed.

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