For Tom Petty fans, the long wait is over, with today’s (October 16th) release of the eagerly anticipated box set, Wildflowers & All The Rest. The five-disc set collection restores Petty’s original broad concept of the watershed 1994 solo release. The compilation was curated by Tom’s daughters, Adria and Annakim Petty and his wife Dana Petty, who were assisted by Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, with the project produced by Petty’s longtime engineer and co-producer Ryan Ulyate.
The Wildflowers & All The Rest “Deluxe Edition” features 15 home studio recordings made by Petty and is rounded-off with 14 live performances of songs from Wildflowers, recorded on various tours from 1995 to 2017, along with 16 studio recordings of alternate takes of Wildflower’s songs.
Back in June, Tom Petty’s daughter Aida Petty told Rolling Stone, “My dad’s demos were always really awesome. They were a good guiding light in the Wildflowers sessions. And this one has a right-out-of-the-box feeling to it. . . The family and all our engineers and the Heartbreakers have been circling around this project and making it as delightful and completist (sic) as possible. We’re really pleased to be able to share the second half of the Wildflowers double album.”
Tom Petty’s songs were always able to resonate with such a large fan base in part because they dealt with the human condition in such an honest and low-key manner. During a chat with the CBC, Petty spoke of some of the changes he went through that changed his songwriting: “Y’know, there are so many painful things that we all go through in life. And they become. . . They become a load that you carry around. I think it’s about forgiveness, maybe? Part of learning how to be a good person, and how to be happy. . . When you forgive those things, you can. . you can drop that load and move forward.”
Tom Petty’s Wildflowers was released on November 1st, 1994 and peaked at Number Eight on the Billboard 200. The album featured such instant classics as the title track, “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” “It’s Good To Be King,” “You Wreck Me.”
Although officially billed as his second solo album, all the Heartbreakers, except for drummer Stan Lynch, appear on the set, with guitarist Mike Campbell co-producing with Petty and Rick Rubin.