|1. American Girl [Album Version]|
|2. Breakdown [Album Version]|
|3. Listen To Her Heart [Album Version]|
|4. I Need To Know [Album Version]|
|5. Refugee [Album Version]|
|6. Don't Do Me Like That [Album Version]|
|7. Even The Losers [Album Version]|
|8. Here Comes My Girl [Album Version]|
|9. The Waiting [Album Version]|
|10. You Got Lucky [Album Version]|
|11. Don't Come Around Here No More [Album Version]|
|12. I Won't Back Down [Album Version]|
|13. Runnin' Down A Dream [Album Version]|
|14. Free Fallin' [Album Version]|
|15. Learning To Fly [Album Version]|
|16. Into The Great Wide Open [Album Version]|
|17. Mary Jane's Last Dance [1993 Greatest Hits Album Version]|
|18. Something In The Air [1993 Greatest Hits Version]|
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
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.