Tom Petty's 50 Greatest Songs

His hits have defined rock radio since the Seventies, and he never stopped writing great music. Here's the definitive guide to his best songs

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11. "I Need to Know"

One of Petty's most driving Seventies rockers has roots in Sixties soul. "I was trying to make a song like Wilson Pickett's 'Land of a Thousand Dances,' " Petty said. "That's one of my favorite records." You can especially hear that influence during the bridge, which features Benmont Tench's roiling piano. But it's Petty's impatient intensity that sells the song. Written at a friend's house in Florida and cut in L.A. at Sound City Studios, it reflected the desire of a young band trying to strike while the iron was hot. Said Petty, "We wanted to get product out there." 

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