Tom Petty…The Best Of Everything

The estate of Tom Petty has released a major “Greatest Hits” collection.

The Best Of Everything is a 2-disc career-spanning set that came out March 1st, 2019.  It’s nicely priced on the low end of such collections.  You can see the set includes all his major hits and some of his most popular album cuts.  Out of the 38 songs, 21 are not on his previous Greatest Hits album.

Disc 1:

  1. Free Fallin’
  2. Mary Jane’s Last Dance
  3. You Wreck Me
  4. I Won’t Back Down
  5. Saving Grace
  6. You Don’t Know How It Feels
  7. Don’t Do Me Like That
  8. Listen To Her Heart
  9. Breakdown
  10. Walls (Circus)
  11. The Waiting
  12. Don’t Come Around Here No More
  13. Southern Accents
  14. Angel Dream (No. 2)
  15. Dreamville
  16. I Should Have Known It
  17. Refugee
  18. American Girl
  19. The Best Of Everything (Alt. Version)

Disc 2:

  1. Wildflowers
  2. Learning To Fly
  3. Here Comes My Girl
  4. The Last DJ
  5. I Need To Know
  6. Scare Easy
  7. You Got Lucky
  8. Runnin’ Down A Dream
  9. American Dream Plan B
  10. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (w/ Stevie Nicks)
  11. Trailer
  12. Into The Great Wide Open
  13. Room At The Top
  14. Square One
  15. Jammin’ Me
  16. Even The Losers
  17. Hungry No More
  18. I Forgive It all
  19. For Real (unreleased song)

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers sustained their career for 40 years, and Tom Petty’s songwriting was great all the way through.  You’ll notice the order of the songs is not chronological.  Probably the main reason is that the presence of Rock music on Radio declined over the years.  Tom Petty’s later songs got far less exposure than they deserved.  By mixing his songs from the last half of his career with his better known earlier songs, listeners are more likely to get to know the songs they may have missed.

As a collector of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ music since their first hit, there would only be a few changes I would make to the list (adding “It’s Good To Be King” and “Crystal River” in place of a couple other songs, and using the more stripped-down version of “Walls” came to mind), but that’s just personal choice, and minor at that.  The reality is that this will likely be the definitive collection, and Tom Petty’s family has done an excellent job…with help from Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench.

Collectors of their albums know there are a lot more great songs by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, but this kind of “Greatest Hits” treatment is always a good idea to get the music to even more people.  It’s also a helpful guide for future fans in the decades to come.

I don’t take the cynical view that releases like these are “money grabs”.  Rather, I think they help keep alive the interest in musicians like Tom Petty…which is a good thing.  Also, since less than half of these songs were on the previous Greatest Hits album, this is a needed more complete view of Tom Petty’s career.

We miss Tom Petty, and it’s sad we’re no longer able to hear more of his songwriting and performing.  The set has one previously unreleased song, “For Real”.  The lyrics tell us about his approach to music…almost like a note he left for us to find:

“I didn’t do it for no magazine.  Didn’t do it for no video.  Never did it for no CEO.  But I did it for real.   Would’ve done it for free.  I did it for me.  ‘Cause it was all that rang true.  I did it for real.  And I did it for you.”

We can still enjoy all that he did for us…including the music on this new The Best Of Everything collection.


Bonus Analysis:  Just for comparison, here’s what the same collection of songs would look like if they were placed in chronological order like many “Greatest Hits” albums.

Disc 1:

  1. Breakdown
  2. American Girl
  3. I Need To Know
  4. Listen To Her Heart
  5. Refugee
  6. Here Comes My Girl
  7. Even The Losers
  8. Don’t Do Me Like That
  9. The Waiting
  10. Stop Dragging My Heart Around
  11. You Got Lucky
  12. Don’t Come Around Here No More
  13. Southern Accents
  14. The Best Of Everything (Alt. Version)
  15. Jammin’ Me
  16. Free Fallin’
  17. I Won’t Back Down
  18. Runnin’ Down A Dream
  19. Into The Great Wide Open

The four songs on this Disc 1 not on his previous Greatest Hits album are…”Stop Dragging My Heart Around”, “Southern Accents”, “The Best Of Everything” & “Jammin’ Me”.

Disc 2:

  1. Learning To Fly
  2. Mary Jane’s Last Dance
  3. Wildflowers
  4. You Don’t know How It Feels
  5. You Wreck Me
  6. Walls (Circus)
  7. Angel Dream (No. 2)
  8. Room At The Top
  9. The Last DJ
  10. Dreamville
  11. Saving Grace
  12. Square One
  13. Scare Easy
  14. I Should Have Known It
  15. American Dream Plan B
  16. Trailer
  17. Hungry No More
  18. I Forgive It All
  19. For Real (Unreleased)

Only the first two songs on this Disc 2 were on his previous Greatest Hits album.  By the way, the one track that was on the Greatest Hits album, but missing here is “Something In The Air” (originally by Thunderclap Newman).

If you’ve collected Tom Petty’s studio albums and know the songs, you might prefer this order.

Tom Petty was particularly fond of the Wildflowers sessions, and had talked about doing a project based on that music.  Update:  The Wildflowers Box Set was released on October 16th, 2020.

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