Rattling off the names of Tom Petty‘s biggest hits is easy: “American Girl” and “Breakdown” from the Heartbreakers self-titled 1976 debut, “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That” from Damn the Torpedoes, “You Don’t Know How It Feels” from Wildflowers.
Over the course of his career, he landed 28 Top 10 hits on the Mainstream Rock chart, 10 of which reached No. 1. A total of 12 Petty albums hit the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart, including three “solo” albums (Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers and Highway Companion), two Traveling Wilburys releases and two more with his first band, Mudcrutch.
The singer-songwriter and frontman knew audiences at his shows were always eager to hear the knockout numbers —“If I was a fan and they didn’t play ‘American Girl’ or ‘Free Fallin” I’d be disappointed,” he told Rolling Stone in 2017, just before the Heartbreakers began their final tour.
Petty’s biggest songwriting successes, however, represent just a small fraction of his expansive catalogue of work. The video playlist below begins with a rundown featuring 15 of Petty’s rarest recordings, outtakes and hidden gems, followed by YouTube clips for each song.
The playlist includes rarely played B-sides, a pair of songs that were given away to Lone Justice and Rod Stewart, a candid studio collaboration between Petty and Stevie Nicks, tracks originally intended for Wildflowers that did not make the cut, an early version of a hit song as performed by Mudcrutch and more.
Tom Petty’s Rarest Songs: A Playlist
Tom Petty Albums Ranked
He’s a rock ‘n’ roll rarity: an artist who was consistent until the very end.