Rebel with lots of tunes: Five great Tom Petty songs

Petty wrote for lost souls and spurned lovers. Check out these back catalogue highlights

Tom Petty used his sneering voice to great effect. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Tom Petty used his sneering voice to great effect. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

 

Five of my favourite Tom Petty tunes, by Kevin Courtney.

1. 1977: American Girl

Somewhat of a lost classic, this 1977 tune’s driving beat zooms down a boulevard of broken dreams. You can imagine Arcade Fire listening to this and getting some ideas.

2. 1980: Refugee

For lost souls everywhere, this song anchors to a big, rolling riff to keep you grounded while adrift in the world.

3. 1985: Don’t Come Around Here No More

Over a lolloping beat, Petty uses his sneering voice to great effect on this anthem for spurned lovers. The video is an Alice in Wonderland pastiche, and the tune was a big hit with indie fans.

4. Into the Great Wide Open

From his 1991 album of the same name, this tune perfectly captured the dazed and confused demeanour of Generation X, “a rebel without a clue” overdosed on teen spirit.

5. 1999: Free Fallin’

One of his biggest and best tunes, Free Fallin’ revisits the territory of American Girl – only this time it’s filled with vampires and other predators.

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