FILLED WITH GIDDYING BONUSES AND RARE HOME DEMOS, A DELUXE EDITION OF TOM PETTY’S WILDFLOWERS & ALL THE REST OFFERS A PEEK INSIDE THE RAW CREATIVE PROCESS OF A MUSIC LEGEND
BY AMANDA McCOY
When Tom Petty began writing his second solo album, Wildflowers (1994), he envisioned a two-disc set with 25 songs. At the time, the Florida-born “hero of the everyman” was on the cusp of a personal and professional crossroads; his two-decade marriage was ending, his fiery relationship with Heartbreakers band mate Stan Lynch was spiraling, and the demons from his childhood were getting louder. He spilled all of this raw emotion, pain, and hope into his music, a veritable departure from the rollicking tunes of his earlier hits. Eventually, the record that made its way onto store shelves was a pruned-down but masterful single disc that went Triple Platinum in less than a year and earned Petty his first solo Grammy for “You Don’t Know How It Feels.”
Decades later, the artist dusted off Wildflowers’ original concept and its camp of songs that were never released, but tragically Petty wasn’t able to finish the project before his sudden death in October 2017. His band mates and family stepped in to realize his vision with the release of Wildflowers & All the Rest, a stunning extended reissue that includes a re-mastered version of the original album coupled with an additional ten songs intended for the two-disc version. A deluxe edition includes a cache of extras, from home recordings to live performances, plus the haunting first home recorded demo of the album’s title track. The set invites listeners inside the mind of the music dignitary, illuminating the ache, the vulnerability, and the creative genius of one of the world’s most poignant and profound poets. And it was a gift Petty desperately wanted to give to the world.
“It was his last project that he was working on and we know for a fact that he really wanted it to be out,” said Petty’s daughter, Adria. “It’s been really a treasure hunt for us in kind of a really positive beautiful space to hunt around in.”