Wildflowers (Tom Petty album)

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Wildflowers
Tom Petty Wildflowers.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 1, 1994 (1994-11-01)
RecordedJuly 20, 1992 – April 29, 1994
Studio
Genre
Length62:48
LabelWarner Bros.
Producer
Tom Petty chronology
Greatest Hits
(1993)
Wildflowers
(1994)
Songs and Music from "She's the One"
(1996)
Singles from Wildflowers
  1. "You Don't Know How It Feels"
    Released: December 3, 1994
  2. "You Wreck Me"
    Released: 1995
  3. "It's Good to Be King"
    Released: 1995
  4. "A Higher Place"
    Released: 1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[2]
Christgau's Consumer GuideB−[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[4]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[5]
The Guardian[6]
Los Angeles Times[7]
NME8/10[8]
Pitchfork8.8/10[9]
Rolling Stone[10]
Uncut8/10[11]

Wildflowers is the second solo studio album by American musician Tom Petty, released on November 1, 1994. The album was the first released by Petty after signing a contract with Warner Bros. Records (where he had recorded as part of the Traveling Wilburys) and the first of three albums produced by Rick Rubin. The album was certified 3× platinum in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America.

In 2020, the album was ranked at number 214 on Rolling Stone's Greatest Albums of All Time list.[12]

Production[edit]

Wildflowers was credited only to Petty and not to his usual band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers because, in Petty's words, "Rick [Rubin] and I both wanted more freedom than to be strapped into five guys."[13] Nonetheless, the Heartbreakers predominantly served as the musicians on the album. The album features all the band's members with the exception of drummer Stan Lynch. Petty auditioned numerous drummers for the album, and eventually chose Steve Ferrone. Petty fired Lynch from the Heartbreakers soon before the album's release, and Ferrone officially joined the touring band the following year, and later became a full band member. (Lynch did play on one outtake from Wildflowers, "Something Could Happen").

Petty wrote and recorded numerous songs for the album, and the original plan was to have Wildflowers be a double album, with 25 songs in total. However, Lenny Waronker of Warner Bros. Records felt that the album was too long, and it was decided to reduce the album to 15 tracks.[14] Of the 10 tracks left out, one, "Leave Virginia Alone", notably became a hit single the following year when it was recorded by Rod Stewart, while another four were included, in modified form, in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' next album, the soundtrack album to the 1996 film She's the One. All ten songs, in their original form, were finally released in the 2020 re-released edition of Wildflowers, Wildflowers & All the Rest.

Release[edit]

Four singles were released from the album between 1994 and 1995, the most successful of which, "You Don't Know How It Feels", reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Album Rock Tracks chart for one week. It was followed by "You Wreck Me", "It's Good to Be King" and "A Higher Place" which reached Nos. 2, 6, and 12 respectively on the Mainstream Rock chart.[15] The title track, while not released as a single, charted at #16 on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart[16] and at #3 on the Billboard Lyric Find.[17] and became one of Petty's most streamed and popular songs.[18][19]

Rolling Stone placed Wildflowers at number 12 on their list of the best albums of the 1990s.[20] Guitar World placed the album at number 49 in their "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994" list.[21]

In April 2015, when Petty's back catalog was released in high-resolution audio, this was one of only two albums not included in the series (Songs and Music from "She's the One" was the other one), but a hi-res version was available on Pono Music.

The title of the 2020 book Somewhere You Feel Free: Tom Petty and Los Angeles comes from a lyric in the album's title song "Wildflowers".[22]

2020 re-release[edit]

Petty's family and bandmates arranged a 2020 re-release of the album that includes deleted songs, demos, and live tracks, entitled Wildflowers & All the Rest.[23] The super deluxe edition of the box set included a fifth disc of alternate versions of the Wildflowers tracks, called Finding Wildflowers. In April 2021, Finding Wildflowers was released individually.[24]

Documentary[edit]

The making of Wildflowers is the subject of the 2021 documentary film Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free - The Making of Wildflowers, directed by Mary Wharton. The documentary includes a significant amount of archival footage from the recording sessions, recorded by Martyn Atkins, which had only recently been unearthed following Petty's death; as well as new interviews with many of the producers and musicians who had been involved with the album. The film was released in November 2021 on YouTube.[25][26]

Track listing[edit]

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

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Wildflowers" 3:11
2."You Don't Know How It Feels" 4:49
3."Time to Move On" 3:15
4."You Wreck Me"
  • Petty
  • Mike Campbell
3:22
5."It's Good to Be King" 5:10
6."Only a Broken Heart" 4:30
7."Honey Bee" 4:58
8."Don't Fade on Me"
  • Petty
  • Campbell
3:32
9."Hard on Me" 3:48
10."Cabin Down Below" 2:51
11."To Find a Friend" 3:23
12."A Higher Place" 3:56
13."House in the Woods" 5:32
14."Crawling Back to You" 5:05
15."Wake Up Time" 5:19

All the Rest[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Something Could Happen" 4:35
2."Leave Virginia Alone" 4:16
3."Climb That Hill Blues"
  • Petty
  • Campbell
2:33
4."Confusion Wheel" 4:20
5."California" 2:38
6."Harry Green" 3:54
7."Hope You Never" 3:03
8."Somewhere Under Heaven"
  • Petty
  • Campbell
4:37
9."Climb That Hill"
  • Petty
  • Campbell
3:34
10."Hung Up and Overdue" 6:03

Outtakes[edit]

  • "Girl on LSD" was released as the B-side of the "You Don't Know How It Feels" single (1994).
  • "Leave Virginia Alone" was another song written and recorded during the sessions and left off the finished album. It was given to Rod Stewart for his album A Spanner in the Works (1995).
  • The songs "California", "Hope You Never", "Hung Up and Overdue", and "Climb That Hill" were all included on the She's the One soundtrack album (1996), with various edits across the first three tracks, while "Climb That Hill" was a complete remake.[27]
  • In 2018, outtake "Lonesome Dave," recorded July 23, 1993, was released on Petty's posthumous box set An American Treasure.
  • In 2021, a cover of J.J. Cale's "Thirteen Days," recorded July 22, 1993, was released on the reimagined version of She's the One soundtrack album, Angel Dream.

Personnel[edit]

Additional musicians

Production

Charts[edit]

Sales chart performance for singles from Wildflowers
Year Single Chart Position
1994 "You Don't Know How It Feels" US Mainstream Rock Chart 1[61]
1995 US Billboard Hot 100 13[61]
"You Wreck Me" US Mainstream Rock Chart 2[62]
"It's Good to Be King" 6[63]
"A Higher Place" 12[64]

Certifications[edit]

Sales certifications for Wildflowers
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[65] Silver 60,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[66] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rock Hall digs into Tom Petty's life through his 'Wildflowers' period". December 9, 2021.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Wildflowers – Tom Petty". AllMusic. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Tom Petty: Wildflowers". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Petty, Tom, and the Heartbreakers". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). London: Omnibus Press. p. 2005. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  5. ^ Browne, David (November 4, 1994). "Music Reviews: 'Wildflowers' and 'You Got Lucky'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  6. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (November 4, 1994). "Tom Petty: Wildflowers (Warner)". The Guardian.
  7. ^ Willman, Chris (October 30, 1994). "Tom Petty 'Wildflowers' Warner Bros". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  8. ^ "Tom Petty: Wildflowers". NME. November 19, 1994. p. 48.
  9. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (October 10, 2017). "Tom Petty: Wildflowers". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  10. ^ Gardner, Elysa (November 3, 1994). "Tom Petty: Wildflowers". Rolling Stone. No. 694. pp. 95–97. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  11. ^ Deusner, Stephen (December 2017). "Major Tom". Uncut. No. 247. p. 83.
  12. ^ "Wildflowers ranked 214th greatest album by Rolling Stone magazine". Rolling Stone. September 22, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  13. ^ Petty, Tom: Conversations with Tom Petty, page 142. Omnibus Press, 2005.
  14. ^ Brown, David (September 16, 2020). "Three Years After Tom Petty's Death, His Dream Project Finally Emerges". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  15. ^ Tom Petty discography
  16. ^ "Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers Chart History". Billboard.
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  18. ^ "Tom Petty". Spotify.
  19. ^ Kelly, Sean. "Tom Petty's 'Wildflowers' Turns 25: The Stories Behind the Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock.
  20. ^ "100 Best Albums of the Nineties: Tom Petty, 'Wildflowers' | Rolling Stone | Lists". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  21. ^ "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994". GuitarWorld.com. July 14, 2014. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
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  63. ^ "Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers It's Good To Be King Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  64. ^ "Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers A Higher Place Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
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  66. ^ "American album certifications – Tom Petty – Wildflowers". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]