Revisiting that list now, I was surprised at how high I placed this album. It certainly had no chance of cracking the top three (Damn the Torpedoes, Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers) but four is still a pretty lofty position given Petty’s legendary status.
Tom Petty released three solo albums over the course of his 40-year career, and on their face they don’t differ all that much from his work with The Heartbreakers. In fact, almost every band member appears on each of those three records.
But there must be something to the distinction because (spoiler alert) all three of those solo albums show up in my top five.
In 2006, Petty decided to team up once again with Jeff Lynne, producer of Full Moon Fever, to record his third solo album. The record was Highway Companion and, while it never reaches the heights of previous solo efforts Full Moon Fever or Wildflowers, it did signal a return to form.
I should do a Tom Petty theme week one of these days. He’s written some incredible music during a career that’s spanned four decades, making him more than worthy of the spotlight. But today I’m focusing on a Petty song from his most recent album in order to tell a tale of an encounter in a far off land.
OK, it wasn’t that far off a land… it was Chicago. Alex and I were there for a wedding, enjoying a weekend away from the kids. Whenever I’m in a new city, I always make a point of tracking down the best record stores I can find, whether they’re local and eclectic (like Amoeba Records in San Francisco) or big chains. On this trip, I found myself in a Virgin Megastore downtown (or maybe it was Tower Records… either way, it’s probably closed down by now).