By the Way

These Tom Petty songs made the world a better place

In this Oct. 2, 2007 file photo, singer Tom Petty arrives at the world premiere of the documentary "Runnin' Down a Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" in Burbank, Calif. Petty has died at age 66. Spokeswoman Carla Sacks says Petty died Monday night, Oct. 2, 2017, at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles after he suffered cardiac arrest.
In this Oct. 2, 2007 file photo, singer Tom Petty arrives at the world premiere of the documentary "Runnin' Down a Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" in Burbank, Calif. Petty has died at age 66. Spokeswoman Carla Sacks says Petty died Monday night, Oct. 2, 2017, at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles after he suffered cardiac arrest. AP File

When it comes to music, there are few things on which my friends and I totally agree upon — I love Van Halen with Sammy Hagar and some of my friends hate that period of the band. My favorite Beatle is Paul but his is John Lennon. I’m a Willie Nelson guy but she thinks Johnny Cash is king. And the debates go on and on.

But we all seem to find that common ground in one thing — we all love the music of Tom Petty.

For me, Tom Petty was the other spectrum of the jam band and country-tinged southern rock of the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and others. He made a refined southern brand of power pop that remains some of my favorite music. I was nine the first time I heard “Don’t Do Me Like That” from 1979’s “Damn The Torpedoes.”

Here are 10 of Petty’s songs that made the world a little brighter.

“You Don’t Know How It Feels”

The lead single from 1995’s “Wildflowers” is one of Petty’s catchiest songs. Produced by Rick Rubin, the song went to the top of the Billboard rock charts. The song was a “solo” song, meaning Petty wasn’t backed by The Heartbreakers.

“Free Fallin’”

Another “solo” Petty outing, with backup from Heartbreaker Mike Campbell, “Free Fallin’” put Mulholland Drive back on the map.

“Handle With Care”

What happens when you mix a Beatle, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Petty? You get the Traveling Wilburys.

“Refugee”

This is a straight-up rocker from 1979’s “Damn The Torpedoes.”

“Southern Accents”

Legend has it there was a lot of tension between Petty and his Heartbreakers during the recording of this beautiful number about the South.

“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

Steve Nicks recorded two iconic duets — “Leather and Lace” with Don Henley and this rocker with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

“Wildflowers”

You belong among the wildflowers

You belong somewhere close to me

Far away from your trouble and worries

You belong somewhere you feel free

You belong somewhere you feel free

“Don’t Do Me Like That”

This is the song that opened my eyes and ears to Tom Petty.

“You’re Jammin’ Me”

One of the best pop-culture overload songs, ever.

“American Girl”

There’s a reason this gem has been used in films from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” to “ The Silence of The Lambs.”

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