on 19 November 2000
If you want all the jangliest Tom Petty songs you heard on the radio but never bought as singles and you don't want to pay for about ten albums, then this is pretty good. Many long term Petty fans have argued about what should have been on there, and why on earth a few really good songs were left off (the 1987 album "Let Me Up, I've Had Enough" isn't represented at all), but what is here is exceedingly good. The last two bonus tracks are worth buying this whole album for (which is what I did - I've got all the old albums anyway and didn't really *need* a greatest hits package) but it is jolly convenient to not have to sift through all the vinyl to find just one loved song. Buy this, you'll like it. They are all very catchy.
on 15 November 1999
Tom Petty has an uncanny ability to go on and on, in the best possible way of course. I saw him in concert in 1989 and have been addicted ever since. My first obsession was "Free Fallin". Actually, it was this song that got me to the concert. Brilliant lyrics carried along smoothly by a great tune. Other personal favourites are "Refugee" (which you may not realise you know, but the chances are very good that you do!), "Don't Come Around Here No More", "Runnin' Down a Dream" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance". An excellent album for any and all rock fans.
on 14 January 2007
This is really a reply to Brian Le Flem's review below. No, this won't convert you - if you like Madonna, Kim Wilde or ABBA. (Why would you think it would). But if you like Dylan, The Band, Bo Diddley, then it might. Or if you like any of the recent guitar based rock bands, then you may be converted by this. But is is a long way from ABBA - since when was that a bad thing?
BUT, if you want to try Tom Petty, you are better off just going for the early albums - especially the first album or Damn the Torpedoes.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits pulls together a wealth of 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 tracks on Greatest Hits will serve you quite well indeed.
This album is probably one of the best places to start in your love affair with Tom Petty. Once you hear his music there's no going back. He has a wonderfully distinctive voice and can play both rocking upbeat songs, as well as laid back chilled out ones. There are so many brilliant songs on this compilation, it would be hard to pick out any one for special mention. Needless to say I highly recommend it!
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on 17 March 2010
Once heard a song by Tom Petty that you liked? Can't be `arrised to buy all the albums? Then this is for you (unless it's a song he made after 1993 - well, do you know any Tom Petty songs after 1993? Thought not). Sometimes `Greatest Hits' are the best way - I've bought a couple (well four actually) Tom Petty albums over the years and I've always liked them but always ended up losing/selling/chucking them and not been that upset about it. I don't think he's an `important' artist or someone you feel passionate about but, let's face it, who's life isn't made a little bit better when they hear `American Girl'?
There's a few on here that I wouldn't have chosen and a few that aren't on it that I would have chosen, but that's the same with every Greatest Hits. This has got `American Girl', `Breakdown', 'Free Fallin'', `Runnin' Down a Dream' and all those other songs that would sound so great if only I could drive (they sound pretty great anyway).
It's amazing to think that when their first album was released they were regarded as `new wave'; Petty always had much more in common with Roger McGuinn than he did with Tom Verlaine. It must have been because, in an age when American rock had become bloated, Petty wrote short, crisp pop songs which smacked you round the face with their tunes and choruses and then were gone before they could outstay their welcome.
on 20 October 2012
On the basis of this Greatest Hits alone (and I am convinced that it really is practically all their greatest hits), Tom Petty, and perhaps the Heartbreakers, are genius. But that much is evident of Tom Petty- you don't get invited to join a band with George Harrison and Roy Orbison, to name 2, otherwise. At least I guess you don't- it's not like they set up new bands every day.
The album signposts most of my favourite kinds of music in the last few decades. Some of my favourites:
'Listen To Your heart'- The Byrds-like guitar over perfectly accentuated vocals.
'I Need To Know' - this is like a forerunner of The Hives.
'Refugee' - sounding more 80s now with power chords and Sting-like backing vocals.
'Don't do me like that' - perky piano pop.
'Even the losers' - kind of summery drive rock, like Boys of Summer.
Here where's it starts to become really special and darker and mysterious with the verses of 'Here Comes My Girl'. Tom Petty is not just singing a song- it's REAL- it's like he's singing his real life as a movie (listen to the way that he says 'tarms' (for 'times'). To these English ears he's in full on nostalgic cowboys and stetsons mode. There've been real battles but the mood really changes in the chorus. He's still battle scarred but he's wearing young love on his arm as well. It's a beautiful, beautiful song, with such brilliant attention to vocal and musical detail as is evident throughout the album.
'The Waiting' - the choruses could be Byrds (they are superb students and practicioners of The Byrds style) but the verses are, of course, different - more punk-like although that's probably oversimplifying based on my not comprehensive knowledge of 70s and 80s music.
'You Got Lucky'- different again, a bit exotic in an early 80s synth way.
'Don't come around here now more' - a brilliant art rock type pop song, you have to see the Alice in Wonderland inspired video, with Tom Petty as the Mad Hatter, co-written by The Eurthymics Dave Stewart who seems to appear in the video as the Caterpillar. The mid 80s, oddly maligned by some, was a VERY fantastical time. Labyrinth was at the cinema and artists who had started off in the 1970s like Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush were blossoming in the power pop era as they used the sound to enhance their own experimental sensibilities, to give it 'pizzazz' and powerful atmosphere. This song is of that ilk and , as the start of it suggests, it roots were in the 60s, those concise pop/rock records created by people like Mr Harrison in The Beatles.
'I Won't Back Down' is one of the most instantly memorable songs with nice backing from George Harrison and ELO's Jeff Lynne.
'Running down a dream'- classic skiffle type drive rock. If that was never a genre before, it's practiced by Tom Petty here.
'Free Fallin'- one of their most famous songs and very memorable.
'Learning to Fly'. I REALLY love this song. It's as if they were writing a Travelling Wilburys song. It's got that George Harrison-style vibe to it and I bet he'd have been very pleased if he'd written it. I just want to say here that it epitomises that charming way that Tom Petty has. Like the lyrics 'and rocks might melt'. His voice drips like honey with a sense of matter of fact innocence. This is a truly hippy spirit originally operating at what could have been a very awkward time in the late 70s as punk started. Yet through his own self belief, there he was 15-20 years later performing with greats from the 1960s and making his own music that was just as good. He's one of rock's greatest stories and looks good with it.
on 19 June 2010
Excellent album, fantastic value. Some top tunes and very good quality.
Great service from Amazon as usual.
I have always been a fan of Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers, but for some reason I never got round to buying up any of his albums. When I saw this excellent, 19 track compilation, with it's budget price containing all the songs I knew and loved, I snapped it up, and it's proved to be a fine investment. Since purchasing, I'm a much bigger fan of Tom now that I've heard all of his key tracks from the length period of 1976 to 1993, when this set was released. If you are just keen to invest in the hits you've heard been played on the radio, 'Greatest Hits' is probably as much Tom Petty as you probably need. That's not to say his studio albums (of which I've since purchased) aren't worth investigating, they most certainly are, but I'm speaking here for the more casual fans/listeners.
The songs are presented in chronological order, beginning with the excellent 'American Girl', and ending with the cover of Thunderclap Newman's 'Something In The Air', which was a brand new recording for this compilation. Another track that received it's first-time release here is 'Mary Jane's Last Dance', which are since become one of Tom Petty's most popular songs. Along the way, there are such stone-cold classics as 'Breakdown', 'Runnin' Down A Dream', and 'Learning To Fly', which was the one that really opened by ears to what a true talent Petty is. This playlist represents some of the best American rock music in recent memory, and for fans for fellow legends such as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.
The CD's booklet contains no real liner notes, just the basic information about the songs, but is chock full of great pictures.
on 4 February 2015
Only at a bargain price like the £3 I paid. There are just too many un-enjoyable tracks on it to like the whole album. It's all subjective but to me good ones are:
Listen to her Heart
Don't Come Around here no More
I Won't Back Down
Runnin' Down a Dream
Learning to Fly.
Something in the Air
Of the rest, Mary Jane's Last Dance, and a couple of others are OK/good-ish. Of the rest some are just off, and only good to listen to if they are on in the background.
The seven tracks I mentioned are worth buying the album for easily. I could listen to those back to back for hours. In fact I have since I bought it.
NB: I have bought a few CD's recently on Amazon. This is the first that has noticeably better audio on CD-quality over the free MP3 Amazon AutoRip version. Definitely worth buying rather than the MP3 version.