Tom Petty was a singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and actor. He was born in Gainesville, Florida, on October 20, 1950. Sadly, he died of an accidental drug overdose in October 2017 when he was 66. Petty began his career in 1967 and was initially in a band called Mudcrutch. However, he is most famous for being the lead vocalist and guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Furthermore, he was in the 1980s supergroup Traveling Wilburys and had a career as a solo artist. Throughout his career, Tom Petty sold more than 80 million records worldwide, which has made him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Petty released 13 studio albums with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and released three solo albums. Here are the 10 best Tom Petty albums ranked.
10. The Last DJ (2002)
Throughout the 1990s, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers achieved only moderate success on the charts, with only one of the three albums they released in this decade achieving a position in the top ten on the US Billboard 100. Their fortunes changed in the early 2000s with the release of their 11th studio album, ‘The Last DJ,’ in 2002. It peaked at number nine on the US Billboard 200. Petty was the sole writer of ten of the 12 tracks, while he co-wrote the other two with Mike Campbell.
9. Long After Dark (1982)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fifth studio album, ‘Long After Dark,’ is considered by music critics as one of the group’s best. It was the first album to feature Howie Epstein on bass and harmony vocals. The best-known single from the album was ‘You Got Lucky,’ which became an MTV hit. ‘Straight into Darkness’ and ‘Change of Heart’ were the other two singles released from the album.
8. Southern Accents (1985)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ sixth studio album was ‘Southern Accents.’ The lead single from the album was ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More, which reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the album reached number seven on the US Billboard 200. The title track from the album was also released as a single, and the other tracks released as singles were ‘Rebels’ and ‘Make It Better (Forget About Me).’
7. Hard Promises (1981)
‘Hard Promises’ was released in 1981, and it was the fourth studio album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It reached number 5 on the US Billboard 200. However, it was an even bigger hit in New Zealand, as the group’s popularity was growing in that country. Just like ‘Damn the Torpedoes,’ ‘Hard Promises’ topped the album charts in New Zealand.
6. Wildflowers (1994)
According to Far Out Magazine, one of the best Tom Petty albums was ‘Wildflowers,’ which was his second solo album, released in 1994. Petty had more artistic freedom on his solo work than with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, so although some of the style is the same, there is a more bluesy feel to many of the tracks. The album, which contained 15 tracks, peaked at number eight on the US Billboard 200, and it was certified Triple Platinum.
5. Highway Companion (2006)
The third and final studio album released by Tom Petty as a solo artist was ‘Highway Companion.’ It originally contained 12 tracks, although there are four bonus tracks on a special edition of the album that became available later. The album received mostly positive reviews from both critics and fans, and it was commercially successful. ‘Highway Companion’ peaked at number four on the US Billboard 200 and topped the US Top Rock Albums chart.
4. Full Moon Fever (1989)
Rolling Stone lists Full Moon Fever as one of the best Tom Petty albums. Following the success throughout the late 70s and early 80s with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the group had their biggest failure in 1987 with the album ‘Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough).’ It was at this point that Petty decided to embark on a solo career, and ‘Full Moon Fever’ was his debut solo album. Of his three solo albums, it was his biggest commercial success, and it peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 chart.
3. Mojo (2010)
Mojo was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 12th and second-to-last album. Prior to releasing this album in 2010, the group had not released an album for eight years. The album has 15 tracks, although there is a bonus track if the album is purchased through iTunes. It reached number two on the US Billboard 200 and topped the US Top Rock Albums chart. Most of the songs on the album are blues-based.
2. Damn the Torpedoes (1979)
‘Damn the Torpedoes’ was the third studio album released by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and it was the band’s earliest success. It was also one of their greatest commercial successes in their career, as it peaked at number two on the Billboard 200. It went on to become certified Triple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
1. Hypnotic Eye (2014)
Hypnotic Eye was the best Tom Petty album, as it was his most successful commercially. It was the 13th and final studio album released by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, the only Tom Petty album to reach this position. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album in 2015. The album contains 12 tracks, 11 of which were written by Petty, and ‘Fault Lines’ was co-written by Petty and Mike Campbell.