The Real Story About Tom Petty’s “Wildflower”

via Walter Tychnowicz/Edmonton Journal

With the release of his second studio album, “Wildflowers,” musician Tom Petty proved a gentler, folkier aspect of himself. As Rolling Stone later claimed in 2020, the album was released numerous years into Petty’s lengthy and productive career, and became a huge favorite as well as Petty’s beloved self-made record. Petty’s keyboardist from his group The Heartbreakers, Benmont Tench, informed Rolling Stone that Petty “would always say, ‘That’s the best record we ever recorded.’ It was a moment when song after song was arriving, which doesn’t always happen 20 years after your first release.”



Petty’s ideal project became the complete release of “Wildflowers.” Petty eagerly revealed Rolling Stone in 2012, while recording on the project “Hypnotic Eye” with the Heartbreakers, that he intended to release the double album version. “We recorded quite a lot of songs and dug them out… songs are just so amazing,” stated Petty at the time.



Tom Petty had no idea in which the words for “Wildflowers” originated from or who they were about. However, Petty stated in an interview for the 2007 documentary “Runnin’ Down a Dream” that even his own therapist had a hypothesis about what the words to “Wildflowers” meant to him especially (via The New York Times). As per Petty, his therapist told him that the track was really about him:

“That’s you singing to yourself what you needed to hear.” This hadn’t occurred to Petty, and he later told his biographer, Warren Zanes, that the theory “kind of knocked me back … but I realized he was right. It was me singing to me” (via Rolling Stone).