Fitting tribute to a deceased legend
Tom Petty was one of the most talented rock artists and songwriters of all time. He originally grew up in Gainesville, Florida and first became interested in music through recordings of Elvis Presley and seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. Once he chose to pursue it, Petty had an impressive run of success that few artists have been able to match.
The singer’s first band was known as Mudcrutch, but that group never took off. However, from the ashes, Petty formed another group with a couple of Mudcrutch’s former members: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This time they were successful, and Petty was then able to launch a widely successful solo career later. Tragically, Petty died of cardiac arrest in 2017, brought on by an accidental drug overdose. But his legacy as a songwriter has continued to live on and has been celebrated by releases of several career-spanning compilations, the latest of which is a collection titled The Best of Everything.
Choosing to name this album after a 1985 deep cut turned out to be a great choice, because it truly does contain a bit of everything Petty wrote: Heartbreakers hits, Petty solo hits from both the MCA and Warner eras of his career (he switched labels in 1993), previously unreleased songs and even new Mudcrutch material from 2016. What’s also fun is that it’s not assembled chronologically. So 1989 mega-hit “I Won’t Back Down” goes back to back with 2006 single “Saving Grace,” while another smash hit “Running Down A Dream” is buried in the middle next to the lead single from the Heartbreakers’ final album in 2014. “Free Fallin” kicks everything off, of course, but songs like “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “American Girl” and “Refugee,” some of his biggest, are buried in the middle.
Obviously, Petty composed so much quality work that not every song could be included on The Best of Everything, but, at 38 tracks spanning 2.5 hours, it does a good job getting most of them. Any fan of Petty, whether of his career as a whole or of any specific era, will find the songs they want on here. It’s a very nice tribute to an extremely gifted musician who died much too young, and the true extent of his gifts are seen throughout.