In 1996, Tom Petty Went to the Movies for 'She's the One'

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' in 1996
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Margaret Norton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

On Aug. 6, 1996, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers broke into the motion picture soundtrack business with the release of Songs and Music from “She’s the One,” from the film written and directed by - not to mention starring - Edward Burns.

Co-produced by Petty, Rick Rubin, and Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, She’s the One - as we will henceforth refer to the album, for simplicity’s sake - was recorded at various points between 1992 and 1996 within Sound City, Village Recorders and Andora Studios. It would be wrong to suggest that all of the songs on the album were recorded explicitly for the film; some of them had actually been laid down during the sessions for Petty’s previous album, Wildflowers, and ended up finding this new home when it was decided that Wildflowers would not, in fact, be a double album. Still, all of the songs work well together, so whether they were originally intended to share the same LP or not would seem to be a moot point...and it’s an even more moot point now than it used to be, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

She’s the One holds the unique distinction of being the only Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers album where the band didn’t officially have a drummer within their ranks. (Stan Lynch had left the group in 1994.) As a result, the LP ended up featuring a number of guest musicians of note, including Curt Bisquera, Ringo Starr (on “Hung Up and Overdue”), and Steve Ferrone, who would subsequently get the call-up and formally become The Heartbreakers’ new drummer. In addition to having a former Beatle behind the kit for a track, the album also features background vocals from Lindsey Buckingham on three tracks as well as late Beach Boys singer/guitarist Carl Wilson.

As far as the album’s singles go, only its first, “Walls (Circus),” managed to crack the Billboard Hot 100, stalling at No. 69. That said, however, the song hit No. 6 on the Mainstream Rock Chart, as did the follow-up single, “Climb That Hill,” while third single “Change the Locks” landed at No. 20 on the same chart. As for how She’s the One did on the album charts, it certainly wasn’t Petty’s greatest commercial success, but it did hit No. 15 on the Billboard 200 and eventually went gold.

So getting back to that earlier point: in the first drop of 2021's Record Store Day events, Petty fans were giddy to be able to pick up Angel Dream, which is effectively She’s the One, except now it’s sans the songs that had originally been recorded for Wildflowers, with previously-unreleased bonus tracks now in their place...and it’s not even really accurate to say that they’re “in their place,” since the track listing has been completely reworked as well.

Basically, it’s a whole new album...and yet it’s just as good as it ever was, if not better. Go find yourself a copy, why don’t you?

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