The Sound Cafe
Fans Can Experience Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' Best Selling Greatest Hits Like Never Before
For nearly three decades, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ multi-platinum Greatest Hits collection has remained the GRAMMY® Award-winning band’s biggest selling album, surpassing 12 million copies in the U.S. alone. While the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers would continue to reign for nearly 25 years after the LP’s 1993 release – touring and recording until Petty’s sudden death in 2017 – the enduring popularity of Greatest Hits remains a testament to the celebrated songwriter’s timeless appeal.
Now, for the very first time, fans can experience this collection of classic songs like never before – in enveloping Dolby Atmos. Available to stream on Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, and Tidal as of today, Greatest Hits has been mixed for the new format from the multi-tracks by Petty’s longtime engineer, Ryan Ulyate, whose credits with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers span nearly two decades worth of solo and full-band projects, including Mojo (2010), Hypnotic Eye (2014), Highway Companion (2006), The Live Anthology (2009), and 2020’s deluxe Wildflowers & All the Rest. The album features 18 of Petty’s best – including the Heartbreakers’ earliest singles, chart-topping solo tracks, plus the Top 20 hit “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and a cover of Thunderclap Newman’s “Something In The Air” – both of which were first made available on this album.
“It was a joy listening to the tapes and discovering all the sonic elements that went into each song, and then presenting them in a new, compelling, and immersive way,” says Ulyate. “The goal with this Atmos mix is simple: get people closer to the music they love, by putting them inside it! Greatest Hits has so many iconic recordings that fans have lived with and loved over the years. Several great producers and engineers contributed to these classic tracks. I did my best with the Atmos mix to give the music the respect it deserves, by going back to the multitrack tapes and making sure that every sound and nuance in the original stereo mix was accounted for.”
Among the album’s highlights are two favourites off Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1976 self-titled debut: “Breakdown,” which served as their first single and first Top 40 hit, and the classic rock radio staple, “American Girl.” Another late ‘70s selection is the high-energy “Don’t Do Me Like That,” which marked the band’s only Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. The broadly acclaimed “Refugee” (off 1979’s Damn the Torpedoes), meanwhile, has long been considered to be among the group’s best songs.
The album also spans the band’s beloved ‘80s catalog, including hits like “Don’t Come Around Here No More” (from 1985’s Southern Accents). Co-written with Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, the song was accompanied by one of the group’s more iconic videos, in which Petty and Stewart are dressed as characters from “Alice in Wonderland”. Also featured is “The Waiting” (off 1981’s Hard Promises), which topped the U.S. Rock Tracks chart for six consecutive weeks. Another No. 1 Rock hit is “You Got Lucky” (from 1982’s Long After Dark). The synth-driven track marks a rare, stylistic departure for the band.
Greatest Hits also includes three hits off Petty’s 1989 multi-platinum solo debut, Full Moon Fever: “Free Fallin’,” “I Won’t Back Down,” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” Each song was co-written by Petty’s Traveling Wilburys bandmate, Jeff Lynne, while “I Won’t Back Down” features a guest appearance by another member of the supergroup, George Harrison (who joins in on acoustic guitar and backing vocals). While all three songs topped the Rock Tracks chart – and remain signature favorites – “Free Fallin’” was the album’s biggest hit and helped propel Full Moon Fever to No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Landing at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, the Los Angeles-centric song marked Petty’s highest and longest-charting hit. Years later, “Free Fallin’” ranked on Rolling Stones’ 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.
Greatest Hits closes with two songs that were recorded specifically for the collection. The first is a cover of the 1969 hit, “Something in the Air,” by Thunderclap Newman, a group formed by The Who’s Pete Townshend, Jimmy McColloch (later of Wings), Speedy Keen, and Andy “Thunderclap” Newman. The second selection is an original song by the Heartbreakers, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” Captured during sessions for Petty’s Wildflowers album and produced by Rick Rubin, the song marked the band’s final recording with founding drummer, Stan Lynch. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” became a significant hit for the group, peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Rock Tracks chart. Its music video, which starred actress Kim Basinger, earned an MTV Music Award the following year.
While all of these songs have become staples in the American rock canon, the new, state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos mixes will allow fans to hear them like never before – and fall in love with them all over again.