By John Patrick Pullen
October 3, 2017

Tom Petty passed away Monday, after a day full of speculation about whether he had died or not. After the rock ‘n’ roll roll great was hospitalized in Los Angeles for cardiac arrest, CBS reported that Petty had passed away, setting off a firestorm of condolence posts on social media. Later the network clarified that it could not confirm the singer’s death. The New York Times reported Monday evening, Pacific Time, that Petty’s longtime manager had confirmed his death. Petty was 66 years old.

There’s no better way to celebrate the artist than to listen to his work. Petty’s career spanned four decades and spun out dozens of hits. Along with his band, The Heartbreakers, he sold more than 80 million albums. Here are his top 10 best-selling tracks, according to the Billboard Hot 100.

1. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (with Stevie Nicks)

Surprisingly, the best-selling track by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers didn’t even come on one of their own albums. The singer and his band were featured on a track that appeared on the 1981 album Bella Donna by Stevie Nicks, which spent nearly three years on the Billboard 200, reached number one, and went quadruple-platinum on its way to selling more than 6 million copies. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” was the first single released from the album.


2. “Free Fallin'”

Petty’s number two song was originally released in 1989 on Full Moon Fever and was one of the songwriter’s most beloved tracks—perhaps because of it’s simple chorus that’s so easy to remember, even Tom Cruise was able to rock out to the anthem in this famous scene from Jerry McGuire.


3. “Don’t Do Me Like That”

The Heartbreakers’ first Top 10 hit, “Don’t Do Me Like That” was produced by Jimmy Iovine, the legendary music executive who now works at Apple.


4. “I Won’t Back Down”

Also released on Full Moon River in 1989, “I Won’t Back Down” is a rebel song that is perhaps Petty’s best known work, though it didn’t sell as well as other tracks.


5. “Don’t Come Around Here No More”

Perhaps best known for its bizarre Alice in Wonderland-themed music video that dominated MTV at the height of the station’s success, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” was co-written by Petty and David Stewart of the Eurythmics.


6. “You Don’t Know How It Feels”

With the distinctive sound of both a harmonica and accordion solos, this 1994 track reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s video won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video in 1995.


7. “You Got Lucky”

Eschewing Petty’s signature guitar riffs for synthesizers, “You Got Lucky” reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. The 1982 track was also produced by Iovine.


8. “Refugee”

One of Petty’s earliest hits, this 1979 track from Damn the Torpedoes has spun off countless covers. Despite its seemingly political nature, it was actually written in response to the pressures of working in the music industry, Petty has reportedly said. Its defiant nature is a harbinger of what was to come over the rest of Petty’s career.


9. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”

A relatively recent hit in the Petty catalog, this 1993 track was recorded for that years’ Wildflowers album and was subsequently included on the band’s Greatest Hits album, which also came out that year. Luckily, fans agree—it is one of the Heartbreakers’ best.


10. “Runnin’ Down a Dream”

This 1989 track is among the most iconic of Petty songs. It reached number 23 in the Billboard Hot 100, just enough to put it in the band’s top 10. But the signature electric guitar riff at the song’s start will get any motor running. This is classic driving music, and it was Petty at his best.


Honorable mention: “Learning to Fly”

Falling all the way to number 14 on Petty’s top 10 tracks, “Learning to Fly” gets an honorable mention inclusion here because when people think of classic Petty, this is one of the songs they think about most.




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