Southern Accents

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Southern Accents
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 26, 1985 (1985-03-26)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers chronology
Long After Dark
Southern Accents
Pack Up the Plantation: Live!
Singles from Southern Accents
  1. "Don't Come Around Here No More"
    Released: February 1985
  2. "Rebels / Southern Accents"
    Released: March 1985
  3. "Make It Better (Forget About Me)"
    Released: June 1985

Southern Accents is the sixth studio album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released on March 26, 1985, through MCA Records. The album's lead single, "Don't Come Around Here No More", co-written by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song "Southern Accents" was later covered by Johnny Cash for his Unchained album in 1996.


Originally conceived as a concept album, the theme of Southern Accents became somewhat murky with the inclusion of three songs co-written by Stewart, and several others originally planned for the album left off. Songs cut from the track list include "Trailer", "Crackin' Up" (a Nick Lowe cover), "Big Boss Man" (a Jimmy Reed cover), "The Image of Me" (a Conway Twitty cover), "Walkin' from the Fire", and "The Apartment Song". The first two were released as B-sides, while the two remaining covers (and a demo version of "The Apartment Song") were later released on the Playback box set. A studio version of "The Apartment Song" appeared on Petty's first solo album, Full Moon Fever, released in 1989. "Trailer" was later re-recorded and released in May 2016 by Petty's other band Mudcrutch, on its second studio album, 2.[1] "Walkin' from the Fire" was eventually released on the posthumous box set An American Treasure in 2018. The song "My Life/Your World" from Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) included several of the song's lyrics rewritten.

While mixing the album's opening track, "Rebels", Petty became frustrated and punched a wall, severely breaking his left hand. Subsequent surgery on his hand left him with several pins, wires and screws holding his hand together.

The album cover features an 1865 painting by Winslow Homer titled The Veteran in a New Field.

The album would prove to be the last album to have any involvement of bassist Ron Blair until 2002, with Blair featuring on the track "The Best of Everything". A new version of the song with a different arrangement and a previously unreleased verse was released as a single in 2018, before the release of the upcoming eponymous compilation album.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[4]
Christgau's Record GuideB−[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[6]
The Essential Rock Discography6/10[7]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[10]

In a three-out-of-five star review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic commented that while "occasionally, the songs work" and "Don't Come Around Here No More" and "Make It Better (Forget About Me)" expand [the band's] sound nicely", the record was too often "weighed down by its own ambitions".[11]

In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Connor Goodwin said the album is "deeply embedded in nostalgia for the Lost Cause."[12]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Tom Petty, except where noted.

Side one
1."Rebels" 5:21
2."It Ain't Nothin' to Me"Tom Petty, Dave Stewart5:12
3."Don't Come Around Here No More"Petty, Stewart5:07
4."Southern Accents" 4:44
Side two
5."Make It Better (Forget About Me)"Petty, Stewart4:23
6."Spike" 3:33
7."Dogs on the Run"Petty, Mike Campbell3:40
8."Mary's New Car" 3:47
9."The Best of Everything" 4:03
Total length:39:54


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Additional musicians


  • David Bianco – engineer
  • Steve Breitborde – photography
  • Mike Campbell - producer
  • Joel Fein – engineer
  • Winslow Homer – artwork, cover painting
  • Jimmy Iovine – producer
  • Dennis Keeley – photography
  • Stephen Marcussen – mastering
  • Tom Petty - producer
  • Robbie Robertson – producer
  • Don Smith – engineer, remixing
  • Steele Works – design, cover design
  • Tommy Steele – art direction, design, cover design
  • David A. Stewart - producer
  • Alan "Bugs" Weidel – engineer
  • Shelly Yakus – engineer, remixing


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[13] 25
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[14] 10
UK Albums (OCC)[15] 23
US Billboard 200[16] 7


Single Chart Position
"Don't Come Around Here No More" US Billboard Hot 100 13
US Mainstream Rock Tracks 2
UK Singles Chart 50
"Make It Better (Forget About Me)" US Billboard Hot 100 54
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 12
"Rebels" US Billboard Hot 100 74
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 5


  1. ^ "2 - Mudcrutch - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  2. ^ AllMusic review
  3. ^ "Tom Petty: Southern Accents". Blender. Archived from the original on June 15, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  4. ^ Kot, Greg (September 1, 1991). "Through The Years With Tom Petty". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  5. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: tom petty and the heartbreakers".
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin, ed. (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th edn). London: Omnibus Press. p. 2005. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  7. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 816. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9.
  8. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel, eds. (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 870. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  9. ^ "Southern Accents". Rolling Stone. 23 May 1985.
  10. ^ "Tom Petty: Album Guide". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Southern Accents - Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers - AllMusic Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  12. ^ Goodwin, Connor (May 5, 2019). "Tom Petty: A Cool, Gray Neo-Confederate?". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  13. ^ " – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Southern Accents". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  14. ^ " – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Southern Accents". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  15. ^ "TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  16. ^ "Tom Petty Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 3, 2013.