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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18. "Southern Accents"

The Heartbreakers spent 118 months recording Southern Accents, a loose concept album about Petty's roots. Recorded at his home studio, the sessions were intense and often drug-fueled, but the results were undeniable, especially the moving title track, which tells the story of a down-and-out Florida orange-picker. "I came from a real Southern family, and I wanted to address that world," Petty said. Johnny Cash was so moved by this that he recorded the tune for his Unchained LP and told Petty that he could see it replacing "Dixie" as the region's unofficial anthem. 

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