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Hear Previously Unreleased Tom Petty Song ‘For Real’

The poignant, autobiographical song wraps up the new Petty career-spanning compilation ‘The Best of Everything’

The upcoming Tom Petty two-disc retrospective The Best of Everything is packed with familiar tunes like “American Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” but it wraps up with a song that has never been released or even heard on bootlegs: “For Real.”

The song was recorded in August of 2000 when Petty and the Heartbreakers went to Bill Bottrell’s studio near Mendocino California to record a new version of “Surrender.” It’s essentially a declaration of purpose by the late singer/songwriter. “Didn’t do it for no magazine,” he sings. “Didn’t do it for no video/Never did it for no CEO/But I did it for real/Would have done it for free/I did it for me/’Cuz it was all that rang true/I did it for real/And I did it for you.”

The Best of Everything (out March 11th) is the second posthumous Tom Petty release after the 2018 box set An American Treasure, which skipped the obvious hits in favor of lesser-known tunes and unreleased material. The Best of Everything is geared more towards casual fans, though there are many songs like “Square One,” “Dreamville” and “Trailer” that never got much radio play. There’s also a previously-unreleased version of Southern Accent‘s “The Best of Everything.”

No exact plans have been set, but last year Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell told Rolling Stone that he hopes to release a live album drawn from the band’s 1997 stand at the Fillmore West at some point. “For me, that was almost the pinnacle of the band just being totally spontaneous night to night to night,” he said. “We might throw in a Grateful Dead song that we just learned that afternoon. We recorded every show and we had guest artists from Bo Diddley to Roger McGuinn to John Lee Hooker. And I know, in my memory of those 20 nights, there’s an amazing album in there.”

There are also plans to finally release a Wildflowers box set complete with numerous unreleased songs from those sessions. After it comes out, the Heartbreakers might even play a special Wildflowers show with guest singers. “It would be a great tribute to Tom to just do that album,” said Campbell. “We’d probably have four or five different guest singers with us. We don’t know who they might be though or when this might happen.”

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