The Petty Archives

Record Review: More Quirky, Compelling Music From Tom Petty
By Larry Nager
Wilmington Star-News - December 14, 1994

"Wildflowers" Tom Petty (Warner Bros)
Tom Petty remains something of a Traveling Wilbury on his first solo album for Warner Bros. It's a sprawling, 15-song collection that opens with the title track's lilting, idyllic love song before getting down to the raucous, reckless "You Don't Know How It Feels," with its honking, Dylanesque harmonica and a chorus that runs "So let's get to the point, let's roll another joint, and head on down the road."

"Wildflowers" is an album filled with regrets, and the song titles tell the story -- "Time to Move On," "You Wreck Me," "Don't Fade on Me," "Hard on Me," "Crawling Back to You."

But the man who helped save guitar rock in the late '70s doesn't forget to turn it up on the bluesy "Honey Bee" and the bouncy rocker "Higher Place."

The centerpiece of the album, however, is the stunning "Only a Broken Heart," as Petty captures the bittersweet soul of John Lennon's best Beatle ballads. It's the most beautiful song of Petty's career, as his rasp gives way to a sweet falsetto, singing "What would I give to start all over again, to clean up my mistakes."

By Ted Simons
Phoenix New Times - December 15, 1994

Tom Petty | Wildflowers | (Warner Bros.)
You've grown up with Tom Petty. You first saw him all scraggly and snotty in the Seventies, and you couldn't miss his smug pug and godzillion-selling records through the Eighties.

Now, with the release of Wildflowers, the 43-year-old singer/songwriter plays the part of the wise but lonely geezer. He sounds like an old hippie rolling joints and admitting he's "too alone to be proud" on the album's debut single, "You Don't Know How It Feels." And later, on "To Find a Friend," which features graybeard buddy Ringo Starr on drums, Petty leans back and remembers how "Days went by/Like paper in the wind/Everything changed/And changed again." By album's end, Petty has slowed to sub-ballad speed with "Wake Up Time," an ode to pending midlife crisis: "You spend your life dreaming, running 'round in a trance/You hang out forever and still miss the dance . . . /It's wake up time."

What saves all this from rocking-chair stupor is the sleepy-eyed Petty himself. The guy wears well, even when he sounds worn out. And Petty's still able to kick himself in the ass with an occasional scorcher, as is evident on "You Wreck Me," his best up-tempo tune in years.

Wildflowers proves Petty's nowhere close to pushing up daisies. The old boy's got himself another winner, wrinkles and all.

  • 1995-01-11_New-Straits-Times

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Simple yet very Petty
Reviews by R.S. Murthi
New Straits Times - January 11, 1995

TOM PETTY -- Wildflowers (Warner Bros./62:51): The first thing that hits you about Petty's second solo album is its disarming directness. Despite some subtle orchestration (by Michael Kamen) and full-blown instrumentation, the music never sounds swamped.

In lesser hands, music as elementary as this would have been bland. But Petty is no average rocker, and his is a simplicity springing from a complex artristry.

There's nothing new about the themes Petty tackles in the songs, but his ability to capture emotion with words makes almost all the pieces enthralling.

Some of the songs tell sad stories while others deal with dark themes, like life on the edge. Most of them have a folk lilt, enhanced by instruments like harpsichord, harmonium and harmonica.

However, it's the chiming resonance of tunes such as Wildflowers, You Wreck Me, Cabin Down Below and To Find A Friend that has an intoxicating effect.

Wildflowers has its banal moments but its bittersweet touches leave a lasting impression.

Performance: ★★★ ½
Sound: ★★★★

  • 1995-01-19_The-Milwaukee-Journal

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Milwaukee a good bet for Petty tour
By Tina Maples
The Milwaukee Journal - January 19, 1995

For reasons known only to the man himself, Tom Petty proclaims himself the "king of Milwaukee" in his song "Honey Bee." Add that fact to some industry buss, and it looks likely that a local show will be on the roster when Petty and the Heartbreakers announce their US spring tour dates during a live VH-1 special at 8 p.m. Friday.

Also during the hourlong show, fans will be able to order up to four concert tickets per person via an 800 phone number. Four hundred of these advance tickets will be sold in each market on the 40-city "Dogs With Wings" tour.

There's been no official word on who will replace departed Heartbreakers drummer Stan Lynch for the tour. A likely candidate is ex-Average White Band drummer Steve Ferrone, who played on Petty's recent "Wildflowers" album.

The VH-1 show marks the first time concert tickets will be sold on live TV before going on sale to the general public. But the forum in general is part of a growing trend in which acts announce their full tour schedules on national TV or radio, rather than letting concert promoters in individual cities break shows in their markets.

Scene Around: Petty, Buffett planning Florida concert dates
By Bill DeYoung
Gainesville Sun - January 20, 1995

There's all kinds of concert news today. First and foremost, Gainesville's own Tom Petty is hitting the road again. Backed by a new Heartbreakers band (session played Steve Ferrone has replaced the recently-departed Stan Lynch), Petty will play 40 American cities beginning March. The tour is called, for some reason, "Dogs With Wings."

The itinerary will be announced at 9 tonight on the cable channel VH-1, which will offer viewers a chance to buy 400 "choice seats" at each show before they actually on on sale through Ticketmaster.

Sources say there are five dates in Florida -- look for them before the end of spring -- but it's not known whether or not TP will play Gainesville on this swing (doubtful, since he's been here a lot in the last few years).

Anyway, "Wildflowers" is approaching double platinum and will soon become the best-selling album of Petty's career.

Newsmakers: VH1 hawks Tom Petty concert tickets via live TV
The Daily Iowan - Friday, January 20, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) -- The multimedia age is upon us: Tickets to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' tour will be sold on live TV before they become available at the usual outlets.

The tickets will be sold to VH1 viewers calling an 800 number, starting Friday. Moon Zappa will be among those answering the phone.

"This event will mark the first time in history that tickets for a music event are sold via live television before going to the public anywhere," VH1's Renee Koblentz said.

Top 50 songs of the 1990's (So Far)
By Ted Swedalla & Scott J. Lubsy
The Stony Brook Press - January 23, 1995

This list of top 50 songs of the 90's was decided upon by the Editor-in-Chief and the Managing Editor of The Press. It is neither an end all or be all list of songs, just a list that suggests how music in the 90s's evolved. The presence of many bands from Seattle or that embody the "Seattle sound" show how much influence 'grunge' [boy do I hate that word] had on the first half of the decade. Do not read the next paragraph.

Don't listen to that dork -- this is the list. Anyone who doesn't agree can write us at The Press, care of the Editor-in-Chief -- he's responsible for all incorrect reviews.

32. Mary Jane's Last Dance -- Tom Petty -- "Oh my my, oh hell yes," that's all you need to sing this song, over and over and over...
Kim Basinger as a corpse, hmmm... I'd probably consider necrophilia at this point too.

Wildflowers gains popularity
By Christina Vasil
The Stetson Reporter - January 24, 1995

Tom Petty comes into his own despite controversy over new single, "You Don't Know How It Feels"
Tom Petty's latest album has been gaining popularity since its late-1994 release. Wildflowers is a mellow, easygoing album which is a pleasant combination of classic Tom Petty, minus the Heartbreakers, and some new innovations.

Since the release of the album's first single, "You Don't Know How It Feels," the album has been receiving large amounts of airplay and rave reviews. Wildflowers is recognizable by the repetitive riffs and Petty's whiny vocals, but Petty seems to have come into his own with cautious experimentation.

Bands: Drummers move to up-down beat
By Steve Knopper
Youngstown Vindicator - Saturday, January 28, 1995

The drummer's stool is often not kept warm by the same body. Maybe it should be replaced with a revolving door.

The great influence of '90s rock, it turns out, isn't Neil Young or Iggy Pop or even the Troggs.

It's Pete Best, and you know his story: He joins the Beatles, they dump him, they achieve worldwide fame, and Best spends the rest of his life as a professional footnote.
There's ample recent evidence of Best's legacy:

-- Stan Lynch must have suspected something when, after 19 years of drumming for Tom Petty, he was the only Heartbreaker who wasn't invited to play on either of Petty's solo albums. Steve Ferrone (Eric Clapton, Bryan Ferry) has replaced Lynch and one-night-stand-in Dave Grohl.