The Petty Archives

Through The Years
By Mike Bell
CANOE - December 31, 2000

Two CDs of the best of everything Tom Petty
ANTHOLOGY: THROUGH THE YEARS | Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | (UNI/UTV)
The shoe: truly one of man's great feats.

I believe it was poet Ogden Nash (who later went on to form the seminal rock/philosophy act Crapsey, Whitman, Nash and Jung) who wrote: "I think that I shall never view/Footwear as lovely as a shoe."

Comforting, familiar, practical and, yea, noble, it has moved with us through history and helped establish and crush civilizations.

And, sure, the Fleuvogs, the Nikes and the Dr. Martens of this world can dress it up and market it all they want and fetishists like Imelda Marcos can make it seem like a dirty, dirty thing, but the simple truth remains that the shoe is an idea that will always be there and will never grow old.

Like the music of Tom Petty.

There's something very shoe-like about the Floridian's songs and no-nonsense approach to rock and roll -- it's so basic and basically good that it's rather impossible to not like.

Anthology: Through the Years walks us from the beginning of Petty and The Heartbreakers' career with 1976's self-titled release right up to a new, previously unreleased track, Surrender, that was written back in the late '70s.

The two-disc best-of set fills out his one-CD 18-song greatest hits album with even more blue-collar rock classics that slide on with little or no effort.

Though not necessary for the casual Petty listener, the inclusion of tracks like Hometown Blues, Change of Heart, Yer So Bad and Stop Draggin' My Heart Around (which was originally featured on Stevie Nicks' Bella Donna album) alongside the usual hits American Girl, Don't Come Around Here No More and those from the Jeff Lynne years (the poppier albums Full Moon Fever and Into the Great Wide Open), might just add to your appreciation of an American songwriter who can still affect with his comfortable, practical and, yea, noble approach.