Looking back, it's clear the 2008 Mudcrutch reunion was pivotal for Tom Petty, helping him re-focus and re-dedicate himself to playing in a band. Like the original band, Mudcrutch Mach II didn't last long – long enough to play a few shows and record a warm, gangly beast of an album – but it reinvigorated Petty. Afterward, he reveled in the sound of how the Heartbreakers played, digging deep into his catalog to shake up his set lists, letting the group exercise some blues muscles on 2010's Mojo, a record that stood as the Heartbreakers' rowdiest record since the '70s but which is easily overshadowed by the trashy psychedelic pulse of 2014's Hypnotic Eye.
An American Treasure, the first posthumous Tom Petty project, is designed as an aural biography of the late rocker, telling a tale that begins with a Mudcrutch session from 1974, running through the glory of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in 1976, and concluding with a live version of "Hungry No More" from 2016, just over a year prior to his tragic 2017 passing. Arriving roughly a year after Petty's death, the timing for An American Treasure makes sense – he certainly deserved a tribute – but in strict discographical terms, there didn't seem to be a need for a second career-spanning box set, as he already had 1995's rarity-laden box Playback and a multi-disc The Live Anthology from 2009. Happily, An American Treasure offers a story that's not told on either previous set, and that's a complete picture of Petty's career, told entirely through byways, not highways.
When Tom Petty died in October 2017, he left behind a vault overflowing with hundreds of hours of unheard music. Much of it came from concerts, but there were also tons of demos, alternative versions of album tracks and even tunes he discarded completely over the years that have never been released. Once the initial shock of his sudden death subsided, his wife Dana, daughter Adria, producer Ryan Ulyate and bandmates Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench began poring through the material to create the upcoming four-CD box set An American Treasure, which arrives in stores on September 28th.
Full Moon Fever is the debut solo studio album by Tom Petty, released on April 24, 1989, by MCA Records. It features contributions from members of his band the Heartbreakers, notably Mike Campbell, as well as Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison (who died prior to its release), and George Harrison, Petty's bandmates in the Traveling Wilburys. The record shows Petty exploring his musical roots with nods to his influences. The songwriting is mainly collaborations between Petty and Lynne, who was also a producer on the album. The album became a commercial and critical success peaking at No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and being certified 5× platinum in the United States and 6× platinum in Canada.
Considering that Southern Accents took so much time and money to complete, finally hitting the stores two and a half years after Long After Dark, it wasn't surprising that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers decided to release a double live album, Pack Up the Plantation: Live!, a mere eight months after its release. After all, Southern Accents was criticized from many corners for being too slick, too much in Dave Stewart's corner instead of the Heartbreakers', so it made sense to quickly return the focus to the band, showcasing the group as the rockers they are. Pack Up the Plantation does do that, even if it isn't quite the barnburner it should have been.