The passing of Tom Petty is a huge blow, not just to his millions of diehard fans, but also to people who just keep the radio on in the background while they perform household chores. The man was a hell of a songwriter and a hell of a performer, and even people who aren’t dedicated fans are likely to have at least his greatest hits CD in their car. He was that good, and his appeal was that universal.

The many tributes and obituaries that have followed since his death are a testament to what a huge mark he left on popular music. He adapted to the changing times, but he never went out of style, because he never lost sight of the Holy Grail – the economically crafted, three-minute song, an art form of which he was a master.

Those of us at The Z Review are an argumentative, opinionated bunch, and we’re usually willing to go to the mat for our individual points of view, feelings be damned. This is one occasion, however, where all of us are on the same page, and we’ll all be grieving for a while.

That made it seem like the ideal time to compile a playlist of what we feel were his 10 best songs. It was difficult task, since the guy churned out one excellent song after another for 40 years like it was nothing.

There will not be a lot of huge, controversial surprises on this list, which features many of his biggest hits. They’re on this list, however, because many of Petty’s best known and most popular songs deserve every bit of that status. They’re damn good songs, they’ve never gotten tiresome and they sound as great today as they did the day they were released.

With that in mind here is The Z Review’s list of his top 10 greatest songs. Enjoy.

“Refugee” from Damn The Torpedoes

“The Waiting” from Hard Promises

“Straight Into Darkness” from Long After Dark

“Rebels” from Southern Accents

“Free Fallin'” from Full Moon Fever

“Yer So Bad” from Full Moon Fever

“You Don’t Know How It Feels” from Wildflowers

“House in the Woods” from Wildflowers

“Crawling Back To You” from Wildflowers

“Billy The Kid” from Echo

About Author

Daniel Bukszpan is a freelance writer with over 20 years' experience. He has written for such publications as Fortune, CNBC and The Daily Beast. He is the author of “The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal,” published in 2003 by Barnes and Noble and “The Encyclopedia of New Wave,” published in 2012 by Sterling Publishing.

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