Our Top 10 Tom Petty Duets and Collaborations list will define some of the highlights and history of Tom Petty’s work with various artists throughout classic rock history.
10. Traveling Wilburys
We open open our top 10 Tom Petty Duets and Collaborations list with perhaps Tom Petty’s greatest collaboration. The Traveling Wilburys were not just a supergroup, they were a dream group. These were all incredible musical legends coming together and sharing the stage without any senses of ego. All five of them had already had spectacular iconic musical careers loaded with hits and adulation. It must have been something to be in that studio while they were all writing and recording the songs together. Every song on both Traveling Wilbury albums are credited as composed by the Traveling Wilburys. No one takes any sort of individual credit except for lead vocal responsibilities.
9. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
A legend in her own right Stevie Nicks was by Tom Petty’s side during his very last performance. Eventually becoming lifelong friends, Tom Petty wrote and gave Stevie Nicks a song that he had co-written with Heartbreaker bandmate Mike Campbell. The song “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” would go on to be one of Stevie Nicks’ first and biggest hits from her debut solo album entitled Bella Donna.
Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty would perform the song as a duet many times, including at the British Summertime Festival on July 9, 2017. This would end up being the last time the two would share a stage before Tom Petty’s unexpected death later that same year. Luckily for fans, this would not be the only time Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty got together and made magic (more on that later).
8. Got My Mind Made Up – Bob Dylan
“Don’t ever try to change me, I been in this too long.” Tom Petty had a way with words. “Got My Mind Made Up,” was initially written by Tom Petty with some alterations done by Bob Dylan. Both artists received writing credit for the song. The lyrics were somewhat incoherent but then again, that is likely at least partly why it stands out. Bob Dylan, who wasn’t exactly known for his repetitiveness, only performed the song once during an encore. It was, however, featured on his album Knocked Out Loaded. Tom Petty and Bob Dylan would go on to perform together quite a few times, including during the charitable set at the Live Aid concert in July 1989.
7. Blown Away – Jeff Lynne
Jeff Lynne produced numerous albums for Tom Petty and the two co-wrote one of Lynne’s biggest solo hits entitled “Blown Away.” The song was released on his first solo album Armchair Theatre in 1990. Three fifths of the future Traveling Wilburys performed on this album as George Harrison played on multiple tracks on the record. The track “Blown Away,” also featured another ex-Beatle on the song as Ringo Starr manned the drummer’s seat on the track.
6. Insider – Stevie Nicks
Again, stars collide. Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty worked together in a variety of ways throughout their spectacular careers, with Tom Petty not only performing alongside Stevie Nicks numerous times but also producing and writing some of her songs. Stevie Nicks was also recruited as backup vocals for quite a few of Tom Petty’s collaborations. The song “Insider,” was originally written for Stevie Nicks, but once Tom Petty had heard the finished vocals he decided he wanted it for himself. It was released in 1981 and featured Nicks on backup vocals. It was one of the biggest hits from Tom Petty’s album, Hard Promises.
5. The Running Kind – Johnny Cash
When it comes to classic rock, Johnny Cash is certainly considered royalty. Johnny Cash was never averse to doing covers, and many turned out much better than the originals. “The Running Kind,” was no exception. Written, and first recorded by Merle Haggard and The Strangers, the song has also been covered by talents such as The Ramones, and Radney Foster. However, when taken on by Johnny Cash and Tom Petty it was brought to a whole new level. Two iconic, legendary rock stars used their exceptional vocal talent to bring us a timeless song that still burns on long after the two have gone to rock-and-roll heaven.
Mudcrutch was Tom Petty’s first rock and roll band that broke up before Tom Petty had ever become a household name. The band eventually morphed into Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench were the original members of Mudcrutch that moved on together in forming the Heartbreakers. While most rock stars tend to bury their childhood bands, Tom Petty resurrected Mudcrutch with original members Randall Marsh and Tom Leadon. Joined by Tom Petty, Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell, the once popular Florida bar band released their first album in 2007. The band returned in 2016 with their second record.
3. The Best of Everything – Richard Manuel
On the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, Southern Accents, one of the lesser-known singles from the album, “The Best of Everything,” was unjustly under-appreciated. With Tom Petty at the helm, Richard Manuel on back up, and Garth Hudson on keyboards, this song was a classic treasure among many.
2. Needles and Pins – Stevie Nicks
Written by Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono, “Needles and Pins,” was first recorded by DeShannon in 1963. It was covered and released on 1985’s Pack Up the Plantation: Live . The record was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers first live album. Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks performed it for for the first time at the Forum in Los Angeles, California. The Ramones also covered it in 1978, following the English band Smokie in 1977, and both The Searchers and Jackie DeShannon in 1964.
1. I Will Run to You – Stevie Nicks
We will close out our Top 10 Tom Petty Duets And Collaborations list with another lovely duet with the stunningly talented Stevie Nicks. As shown here, Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks had a lasting bond and made decades worth of beautiful music together. Co-written and produced by Tom Petty, “I Will Run to You,” is the epitome of a musical powerhouse duet. The blend of Stevie Nicks’ velvety voice mingled with Tom Petty’s good ol boy sound, both brimming with heartfelt emotion, come together forming an underrated harmonic masterpiece. It was released in 1983, and unfairly was never released as a single in the U.S. The song peaked at #35 on the U.S. Billboard music charts. “I Will Run To You,” was released on Stevie Nicks’ second solo album entitled The Wild Heart.
We are fast losing the musical geniuses of our time. Tom Petty brought a whole new sound (and many interesting hats) to the scene. He wrote, produced, and sang with some of the greatest talents of classic rock history. Following what was to be their last time on stage together, Stevie Nicks told the crowd, “You know Tom Petty is my favorite rockstar.” Stevie Nicks always had pretty good taste. Godspeed, Mad Dog, a true rocker at heart.