HITS Daily Double


The first taste of an expanded edition of Tom Petty’s 1994 masterpiece, Wildflowers, has been released by the late artist’s family. The 8-track demo of “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” the original LP’s lead single, was recorded in TP’s home studio as he was working up material for what would be his second solo project.

The demo contains the couplet, “Let’s get to the point/Let’s roll another joint,” which subsequently inspired mass singalongs in concert. But it’s also the source of the indelible lines that eventually found their way into Wildflowers cornerstone “Crawling Back to You”: “I’m so tired of being tired/Sure as night will follow day/Most things I worry ’bout/Never happen anyway.”

Dozens of tracks, including alternate takes, were recorded during the extended gestation of Wildflowers, which began with engineer/producer Jim Scott behind Sound City’s famed Neve console before the arrival of Rick Rubin, and before drummer Stan Lynch was replaced by Steve Ferrone.

Petty and his engineer Ryan Ulyate were in the process of putting together a 20th-anniversary expanded edition (a year behind schedule) under the title Wildflowers: All the Rest in 2015. WBR sent out an advance CD sampler labeled Wildflowers (Disc 2) and released the outtake “Somewhere Under Heaven” before delaying the project.

Versions of four of the tracks on the sampler had been used for 1996’s Songs and Music From the Motion Picture She's the One. “I think I put four of the [Wildflowers outtakes] on the She’s the One soundtrack just to fill out the album,” TP told Rolling Stone in 2016, “but they were very hastily mixed. Take ‘Climb That Hill.’ There’s a version of that on She’s The One, but the Wildflowers one I think is extremely better. I’m gonna put that out. ‘Hung Up and Overdue’ is another one we remixed, and it turned into an epic. I had Carl Wilson [of The Beach Boys] and [late Heartbreakers bassist] Howie Epstein singing quite a bit of harmony that didn’t come through on the original. Then again, there’s probably six songs that nobody has heard. There’s 11 or 12 [new] songs on the album. I think people are going to like it a lot. I like it a lot.”

Three more Wildflowers outtakes—“Don’t Fade on Me,” “Lonesome Dave” and a 1992 version of “Wake Up Time”—were first heard on the 2018 career overview Tom Petty: An American Treasure. Happily, there’s much more where those came from—including an ecstatic, Lynch-powered early take of “Crawling Back to You” that Ulyate played for me while I was writing the notes for An American Treasure—and we’ll finally be able to hear a bunch of it, possibly before the end of the year, on Warner Records.