5 Songs Through the Eyes of Tom Petty

Words: Bernadette Galbraith | Subbing: Joanne Clark

Today would have been Tom Petty’s 67th birthday. While many artists have covered him, Petty himself found inspiration through a wide variety of performers and we look at five songs through his eyes.

1. Oh Well by Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well was released in 1969, in the day’s before Stevie Nicks brought her mystical presence to the band and Peter Green was still a core member. Since then, Oh Well has been covered by many artists, including Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page through to the trio sister act, Haim. You can hear Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers version on The Live Anthology album from 2009.

2. Shout by The Isley Brothers

While Scottish powerhouse singer Lulu was propelled into the spotlight with her version of Shout, at just 15 years old, it was originally written and recorded by The Isley Brothers in 1959. It wasn’t until 1985 that the world got to purchase Tom Petty’s own version though in the form of a collection of live songs called, Pack Up the Plantation: Live!

3. I Fought the Law by The Crickets 

In 1978 Tom Petty added his name to the many rebels of punk-rock that have covered I Fought the Law, including The Clash and Green Day. It stands as no surprise that Petty wanted to put his own print on The Crickets original though, as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame crowned it one of the 500 “Songs That Shaped Rock” in 2004.


4. Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey 

Leading the way for the third instalment in the James Bond series was the title song Goldfinger and so began the tradition of Bond songs. Written by Anthony Newley but performed by Shirley Bassey, this brassy number brought her only US Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hit. Petty contributed a solely instrumental version from his 1997 San Francisco show, onto his Live Anthology album.

5. I Got A Woman by Ray Charles

Running off the success from his leading role in the biopic Ray, Jamie Foxx collaborated with Kanye West on his track Gold Digger, which samples I Got A Woman. Prior to West putting his own spin on it, Petty covered the blues track, which featured on his 2003 album, Bad Girl Boogie. It seems that wasn’t the only Ray Charles song he was a fan of either, occasionally incorporating Hit the Road Jack into live performances of his single, Breakdown.


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