Connect with us

The Tom Petty song that Phil Collins said is one of his favorites

Phil Collins and Tom Petty
Photos by Neale Haynes and Aaron Rappaport


The Tom Petty song that Phil Collins said is one of his favorites

The legendary singer, songwriter and drummer Phil Collins is one of the few artists in the history of music who were able to sell an estimated amount of more than 100 million records worldwide both as a solo act and as part of a band. He first achieved fame as the drummer in Genesis and after the singer Peter Gabriel decided to leave in 1975, he had the chance to become their vocalist. Obviously, everything started to really change when the group was a trio with Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. Because that was when they started to have a more commercial sound. In the 80s, Collins himself became a huge solo artist and the success of his career really went to a whole different level.


Over the decades he talked a lot about many other artists, including the late singer, songwriter and guitarist Tom Petty. Collins even revealed once which is one of his favorite songs from the American artist.

The Tom Petty song that Phil Collins said is one of his favorites

By the time Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers released their self-titled debut album in 1976, Phil Collins was already Genesis‘ vocalist and Rock and Roll was changing a lot. As the British artist revealed in an interview with Ken Bruce in the BBC Radio show Tracks of My Years back in 2016 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), he was a fan of Petty for a long time. And one of the songs he chose as one of his favorites was “Learning To Fly”. That track was released on his praised studio album “Into The Great Wide Open”, made with The Heartbreakers. The song was also released as a single at the time. It peaked at number 1 on the United States Mainstream Rock charts.

“I’ve loved Tom Petty’s stuff for a long, long time. He is very cynical, which I kind of understand, you know. It’s very English in some respects. I always loved his work with the Traveling Wilburys. But he has that 12 string thing, it’s just that reminds me a little bit of The Byrds, I think, from the 60s. I just find him very edgy, keeps reinventing himself, big fan,” Phil Collins said.

The Byrds’ influence on Tom Petty’s music

Collins was right in connecting Petty’s music with The Byrds. The American musician was a big fan of the influential 60s band. He even recorded a great song with Byrds’ singer and guitarist Roger McGuinn called “King of The Hill”. That track was released on Mcguin’s studio album “Back From Rio” (1991). Petty also had previously covered The Byrds track “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” on his solo album “Full Moon Fever” released in 1989.
As Collins also noted, Tom Petty was a member of the supergroup Traveling Wilburys. The group was formed by Roy Orbison, George Harrison (Beatles), Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lyne (ELO). They were active from 1988 to 1991 and released two studio albums.
Tom Petty tragically passed away back in 2017 at the age of 66. The official cause was “multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity”. The drugs included “fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetyl fentanyl, and despropionyl fentanyl.”

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

To Top