A mysterious countdown clock appeared on Tom Petty’s official website earlier this week that is set to expire at 10:00 am ET on Wednesday morning. There’s no solid indication of what will happen when the countdown ends, but it is paired with an image of Petty as he looked in the mid-1990s, right around the time that Wildflowers came out. In many of his final interviews, Petty spoke excitedly about his plans for a deluxe edition of Wildflowers that would include many unreleased songs from the period. “There’s probably six songs that nobody has heard,” he told Rolling Stone in 2016. “There’s 11 or 12 [new] songs on the album. I think people are going to like it a lot. I like it a lot.”
Petty also spoke excitedly about a theater tour he hoped to launch after the release of the Wildflowers box set where he’d perform every song from it. “It will have to be in smaller places,” he told Rolling Stone in 2016, “because it’s just a lot of quiet and a lot of it is acoustic.” He gave a little preview of it most every night on his 2017 40th anniversary tour by playing three Wildflowers songs in a row: “It’s Good To Be King,” “Crawling Back To You” and “Wildflowers.” Here’s video of him playing the title track at the final show, which took place September 25th, 2017 at the Hollywood Bowl.
Tragically, Petty’s death just one week after that show means the Wildflowers tour will remain nothing more than a sad glimpse into a future that could have been. It doesn’t mean that the box set will never happen, and hopefully this countdown clock is a sign that’s going to happen. Let it be the beginning of a long series of Tom Petty archival releases. The vault is surely full of demos, outtakes, complete concerts and much more. We want to hear all of it.