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The Heartbreakers’ Benmont Tench on 5 Transporting Songs

The longtime Tom Petty keyboardist shares his favorite tunes of freedom and escape, from the Band to Martha and the Vandellas

benmont tench tom petty and the heartbreakers five songs for transporting

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench shares his favorite songs of freedom and escape.

Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage

A loyal Tom Petty collaborator since the Mudcrutch days, Benmont Tench hosts his own Sirius show, where he spins classic records and shares colorful anecdotes about the band. While currently on the road for what may be the Heartbreakers’ last big tour, Tench shares his all-time favorite tracks of freedom and escape.

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Martha and the Vandellas, “Dancing in the Street”

A clarion call to the world – a beautiful
notion, since at that time what was going on in the streets wasn’t always

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J.J. Light, “Baby Let’s Go to Mexico”

This is a great, mariachi-inflected song by the
bassist in the Sir Douglas Quintet. It’s this glorious piece of freedom. 

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Dwight Yoakam With Buck Owens, “Streets of Bakersfield”

Buck did this on his own, but his version with Dwight is better. It’s about the need to see each other without judgment. 

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Lord Creator, “Such Is Life”

I came across this early reggae song in a compilation. He’s got an optimistic take even as he’s talking about these bad things happening. 

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The Band, “I Shall Be Released”

Bob Dylan does this great, but there’s something about Richard Manuel’s voice that’s sublime and beautiful. 

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