Top ten best deep cuts by Tom Petty

Not all of Petty's great songs were singles.

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The Stones and The Byrds may have been major influences on Petty. But no one was bigger than the artist he would team up with in the Traveling Wilburys. Petty and the Heartbreakers had backed Bob Dylan on his 1986 tour and the mutual respect was obvious.

“Something Good Coming,” from one of the Heartbreakers' final albums, is Petty’s take on Dylan’s heart-wrenching “Not Dark Yet” from Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind album in 1997. It almost plays as a photo negative of Dylan. It features some of Petty’s simplest and most beautiful poetry. “And I’m thinking about mama – And about the kids – And the way we lived – And the things we did – How she never had a chance – Never caught a break – And how we pay for our big mistakes.” Each verse ends with a hopeful “something good coming,” but it remains terribly wistful and sad, more prayer than belief. It’s a beautiful, mature song.

No. 8 - “COOL DRY PLACE” (1990)

Nowhere in all of Petty’s output is the debt to Dylan as pronounced as it is on this galloping satire on success in the music business from the Traveling Wilbury’s second and final album. I can’t be sure that Petty wrote this one – all four remaining Wilburys shared equal songwriting credit on the album.

But he sings it as a solo and unless Dylan ghost-wrote a few lines, this sounds like Petty. “We got solids and acoustics and some from plywood boards – And some are trimmed in leather and some are made with gourds – There’s organs and trombones and reverbs we can’t use – Lots of DX7s, and old athletic shoes.”

The music begins jangly but gradually builds to almost rococo proportions as horns and saxes offer little bursts of exclamation. I remember the first time I heard it, assuming it was Dylan singing. It wasn’t til I listened again that it became clear the voice wasn’t quite rough enough. Then I decided it was simply the best Bob Dylan song that Bob Dylan never did.