The 10 Greatest Cover Songs By Tom Petty
via Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers / YouTube
Although Tom Petty has produced a body of work that is nothing short of spectacular, his most memorable performances are those in which he provides an interpretation of the work of another artist sometimes. In the early days, he would routinely throw in conventional rock ‘n’ roll numbers to his act, and throughout his career, he touched on everything – from Chuck Berry and The Beatles. You can check some of its greatest cover songs of Petty with the list presented below.
“Shout” – Waitin’ For The Word (1978)
It’s possible that Tom Petty’s songs were images of America, but even so, he wasn’t beyond making a few references to the rock ‘n’ roll that he was brought up on. “Shout” served as the capstone to each Heartbreakers’ performance throughout his heyday. The Isley Brothers’ song has been performed by a wide variety of musicians throughout the years, but Tom Petty’s rendition is truly remarkable.
“So You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star” – Pack Up the Plantation: Live! (1985)
Petty’s sarcastic tone throughout the whole song, even though it reads like a crash course in becoming a successful artist. Petty acts as narrator, detailing the many atrocities of the rock ‘n’ roll culture.
“The Stories We Could Tell” – Pack Up the Plantation: Live! (1985)
When there is nothing to look at except empty stretches of road for hours on end, it is easy to feel lonely, even though it might seem like a good time to be out on the road playing with your friends. The journey could get difficult, but having songs like “The Stories We Could Tell” makes it easier to digest all that happens along the way.
“Needles and Pins” – Pack Up the Plantation: Live! (1985)
It appears Petty and the vocalist Stevie Nicks is taunting and encouraging one another throughout the entirety of “Needles and Pins,” as though they are engaging in some sort of musical dance around one another. Compared to the somber tone of the lyrics, there is a sense of purity when the two of them harmonize as if they are utilizing music as therapy for themselves.
“Asshole” – She’s The One (1996)
Petty reaches his lowest point as a storyteller, confining himself to an acoustic guitar and a keyboard to tell the narrative of his troubled relationship with his girlfriend. He may love her and want to give her the world, but she would do anything to treat him like garbage.
“I Need You” – Concert For George (2002)
Most of his cover songs have focused on how Tom Petty reworked parts of other people’s songs into his unique masterpieces. Petty, like when he interpreted The Beatles, becomes immersed in the melodic reality of the songs he performs, even if the story they tell isn’t his own.
“Shady Grove” – Mudcrutch (2008)
Their rendition of an ancient bluegrass song is called “Shady Grove,” and it was inspired by the country rock movement. Petty and guitarist Tom Leadon take turns delivering the lead vocals on the track. Since the song is based on traditional country music, the guitar lines wind in and out of each other, giving the impression that Mike Campbell is playing the banjo rather than a guitar.
“Mystic Eyes” – The Live Anthology (2009)
When performing “Mystic Eyes,” Petty never lost sight of the audience as a potential for connection, as is true for all musicians.
“I Just Want to Make Love To You” – The Live Anthology (2009)
Petty dusted up this version of “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” which was originally performed by Muddy Waters and is featured on the retrospective album Live Anthology. Petty transforms the song into a rave-up, rocking out like he would have if he were performing in a garage in 1965. This is even though the song was already well-established as a blues standard long before the Rolling Stones took their version and mixed it up.
“Call Me the Breeze” – San Francisco Serenades (2017)
This song started as a straightforward blues jam; but, the Heartbreakers’ performance at the Fillmore was more chill, as he talked about driving down the road during their set. Petty seems like an ancient wanderer who is carefreely making his way through life while channeling this song.