Listen to Tom Petty's sublime 'Wildflowers' demo from the early '90s

Publish Date
Friday, 21 August 2020, 1:56PM

The Tom Petty album that was so good it "haunted" him is finally going to be released in its entirety on October 16.

You can listen to Petty's intimate home-recorded demo of the album's beloved title track in the player above.

The accompanying footage of Petty was reportedly captured by Martyn Atkins during a break in the Wildflowers record sessions. The video was co-directed by Alan Bibby and Jonny Kofoed.

Wildflowers & All the Rest features 70 tracks across five CDs, including the original 15-song album, nine previously unreleased songs and 34 alternate takes. You can pre-order it here.

Petty's Wildflowers album became an instant classic when it arrived in 1994. But the record's status in his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame catalog has endured over the enduring 26 years largely because of intrigue around the fact that the version that was released was only half of what Petty intended it to be.

Petty and his band recorded close to 50 songs — mostly originals — over two years for the Wildflowers sessions. Petty initially wanted Wildflowers to be a double album, but he agreed to release it as a single LP after discussing the idea with his record label.

Despite the effusive feedback on the initial albeit truncated version of the album, Petty always intended to reveal the rest of the music. It was just a matter of getting the timing right.

Producer Rick Rubin recently explained on the Broken Record Podcast with Malcolm Gladwell that Petty felt so strongly about the unreleased music that he spent the next two decades "sort of looking for the right story, where it would have the exposure that it deserved. And he never came up with it."

Petty had reportedly been planning a tour to celebrate Wildflowers before his death in 2017.

His estate has been working to complete the album and prepare it for a worldwide release since sometime last year.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission