Music Monday: My Favorite Song by Tom Petty


“You Wreck Me” from the 1994 album “Wildflowers”

Out of all of the hundreds of songs that Tom Petty has done over the years – with the Heartbreakers and his solo work – this one stood out musically and how the song flows.

The Breakup

This album, “Wildflowers” is an album full of relationship ending lyrics and songs amidst his pending divorce with his then wife Jane Benyo. Songs like “Only a Broken Heart” are pretty obvious. So are the lyrics on “Don’t Fade On Me.” There are some bright spots that are not all related to divorce. Dave Grohl plays drums on “Honey Bee” which also is around the same time Tom asked him to be a member of the Heartbreakers, which obviously he turned down. Speaking of the Heartbreakers, they are the backing band here, minus their current drummer at the time Stan Lynch. But with the exception of Grohl, their soon-to-be drummer Steve Ferrone plays the skins on the rest of the tracks.

But aside from the above details of this album, we are here for one song out of the 15 tracks on one of the best works of Tom Petty.

You Wreck Me

This upbeat song does it for me. I never saw Tom live and wish I would have before his untimely death in October 2017. This song became a staple of live performances, often during an encore. Originally titled “You Rock Me” Heartbreakers lead guitarist Mike Campbell suggested a less ordinary name and the song took on a whole new meaning. Lyrically, it takes a look back at new love with the line:


“I’ll be the boy in the corduroy pants
You be the girl at the high school dance.”

The should-I-stay-or-should-I-go suggestions in the rest of the song paints a picture of what started out as good, is ending up being over and tugging at the heart strings of conflict. As I mentioned at the first part of this post, the flow is what gets me and what easily makes this song my favorite by the late great Tom Petty.

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