Tom Petty is an American classic. His music appeals to the masses by being blasted out of a hipster’s speakers and a pickup trucks on dirt roads alike. He is also a great songwriter and has put together some truly great albums, here is the Vocals On Top best 5 Tom Petty albums:
#1 Album: Full Moon Fever
1989 Stand-out tracks: “The Apartment Song” “Runnin’ Down A Dream” “Yer So Bad” “I Won’t Back Down”
Tom Petty’s first “solo” album came in 1989 and was pretty much flawless. The album didn’t sound much different than anything that he had put out with the Heartbreakers but with Jeff Lynne producing and helping write, the songs were as strong as ever. “Runnin’ Down A Dream” should be illegal to listen to in the care because you will get a speeding ticket if you do while the sly humor in “Yer So Bad” is priceless. “I Won’t Back Down” is a perfectly structured song while “Love is a Long Road” is just straight up rock gem. Yes, “Free Fallin'” is on this record too so all your drunken buddies can sing along.
#2 Album: Wildflowers
Stand-out tracks: “Wildflowers” “It’s Good To Be King” “Crawling Back To You”
Another Petty solo venture that turned out to be a classic. The gentle “Wildflowers” sounds just about right for any mood and “You Wreck Me” and “You Don’t Know How It Feels” get credit as being rowdy rockers. “It’s Good To Be King” and “Cabin Down Below” are great deep cuts but the album is highlighted by the painfully understandable admissions in “Crawling Back To You.”
#3 Album: Hard Promises
Stand-out tracks: “A Woman In Love” “Something Big” “Insider”
One of Petty’s really great early albums, Hard Promises had the hits in “The Waiting” “A Woman In Love” and “Insider” but also produced a solid 10 song album. “King’s Road” and the ominous “Something Big” being the best of the remaining 7. The album fits well with Petty’s catalog but possesses a yearning throughout that creates a different mood than his other albums..
#4 Album: Damn The Torpedoes
Stand-out tracks: “Refugee” “Even The Losers” “Don’t Do Me Like That”
The big breakthrough for Petty that made him a household name had some of his finest individual singles like “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That.” This will likely be the album that forever defines Tom Petty as an artist and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
#5 Album: Echo
Stand-out tracks: “Room At The Top” “I Don’t Wanna Fight” “Free Girl Now”
Here is the shocker. Is Echo really that good? Yes. It is Petty’s first album of what I consider the third stage of his career. It sees him being comfortable throwing out sloppy rockers like “Free Girl Now” and “About To Give Out” all while also including slow, fragile songs like “No More” and “Accused of Love.” “Room At The Top” is a classic Petty tune that you won’t likely hear on the radio too much but it is a shining star among the other songs on this underrated album.
A special thanks to RiffRaf.net for the idea to do this.