Tom Petty was a bit like Tom Hanks: he was so great that after a while you almost took his greatness for granted. When compiling this list, we kept in mind that the man was putting out great music up until the very end, and we wanted to recognize some of his gems that didn’t get as much love as they should have, including some of his final recordings.

We decided that anything he wrote was fair game: obviously his songs with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, as well as his three solo albums. We also included songs from Mudcrutch, his pre-Heartbreakers band (which included Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench) who broke up in 1975 after recording a few songs; they reunited in 2007 and released a pair of albums. Of course, we included the Traveling Wilburys, focusing on the songs where Tom was the main singer, as well as the songs he wrote for Stevie Nicks, Roy Orbison and Roger McGuinn. We mostly went with studio recordings, but nevertheless, we still heartily recommend the 2008 box set The Live Anthology. We also decided against including covers (although we love his Byrds covers “So You Wanna Be A Rock And Roll Star” and “Feel A Whole Lot Better,” his cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” and his duet with Stevie Nicks on Jackie DeShannon’s “Needles and Pins,” to name a few). It’s worth noting that we frequently referenced Paul Zollo’s excellent book, Conversations With Tom Petty often, and we’d definitely recommend that book, as well as Warren Zanes’ Tom Petty: The Biography.

Did we miss a few songs? Sure – Petty had waaaaay more than 50 great ones (and we’re sure you’ll let us know on social media what we missed). But for now, enjoy these, there might be some that you forgot about or some that you haven’t even heard.

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