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Buzz’s Favorite Tom Petty Covers

Songwriters Hall Of Fame 47th Annual Induction And Awards - Show
Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame

I love Tom Petty. Just like the lyrics of the Todd Snider song, I’ve got “piles and piles of Tom Petty”. Though, to be honest only some of them are in vinyl record form. I’ve got “Full Moon Fever” on cassette, “Traveling Wilbury’s” on CD and “Damn the Torpedoes” on eight-track.

There’s nothing better than hearing Tom Petty come on the jukebox when you’re sitting in a bar and all they’ve been playing all night long is some pretty-boy, pop-country garbage.

There are also some great cover versions of Tom’s songs done by people that idolized him and by some people that HE idolized. Here are a few of my favorites.



by Gov’t Mule



This is the only one on my list that’s brand new. Gov’t Mule did it in Houston on Monday. In fact, the story goes that the band heard that Tom had died during the concert and did this song as an impromptu tribute. You can tell that Warren Haynes is playing and singing with a lot of emotion on this cover.



“You Wreck Me”

by The String Cheese Incident



This video comes from a concert at Red Rocks back on July 21 of this year.  String Cheese are one of those trippy, jam bands that you have a real hard time classifying. Are they rock? Are they country? Bluegrass? I think a lot of bands like String and Widespread Panic and Old Crow Medicine Show would happily admit to being fans of T.P.



“You Got Lucky”

by Corey Taylor



This is a cover from a few years back when Corey Taylor was doing his (semi) solo acoustic shows at smaller venues.  This is a very stripped down version of one of Tom’s greatest hits and, as a bonus, you get to hear Corey flip some grief to a crowd member who yells out, “FREE FALLIN’!”



“Free Fallin'”

by Stevie Nicks



Speaking of Jerry Maquire’s favorite song to yell at the top of his lungs while driving, here’s a cover that Stevie Nicks included on her box set of songs from 1973-1997 called Enchanted. Of course, Tom and Stevie had a monster hit with their duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and remained close friends through the years. In fact, Stevie recently said in an interview that at one time she wanted to leave Fleetwood Mac and join the Heartbreakers.



“American Girl”

by Old Crow Medicine Show



Here’s one of those trippy, jam bands we were talking about earlier. Old Crow Medicine Show, the band that gave us the song you hear at least twice at every open-mic “Wagon Wheel” used to do this affectionate cover of “American Girl” during their live shows a few years back.  The fiddle break is a great variation on Mike Campbell’s guitar solo.



“I Won’t Back Down”

by Johnny Cash



The legendary Johnny Cash was such a Tom Petty fan that he included not one but TWO covers on his later albums. AND, when he made his big comeback in the mid-nineties, what band do you think he asked to be his backing band on his Unchained album? It rhymes with Dom Betty and the Bart Cakers. You can look up Cash’s mournful version of “Southern Accents” which was on that album and is also a great cover. I’ve chose to include on this list, however, Johnny’s take on “I Won’t Back Down.” And, yes, that is Tom singing backing vocals.


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