The song that took Tom Petty nearly 30 years to release

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Tom Petty’s influence on the musical scene is beyond comparison. His unique voice, a blend of raw rock and soothing pop, resonated deeply with fans across America, making him an enduring favorite.

His illustrious career spanned over forty years, gifting the world with tunes that are timeless and immensely relatable. He remains a cornerstone in the vast landscape of rock and roll.

Three years post his untimely departure in 2017, the world was gifted with ‘Leave Virginia Alone,’ a track from the extended version of Wildflowers & All The Rest.

The 1994 album’s re-release was a special tribute, featuring previously unreleased music, live versions, and demo tracks from Petty.

This particular track, penned in 1993, was intended for the Wildflowers album but missed out. Instead, it found its way into Rod Stewart’s ‘A Spanner In The Works.’

However, 2020 reintroduced the song the way Petty had imagined it, with the backing of his loyal band, The Heartbreakers.

This wasn’t a solitary instance; even in Petty’s solo endeavor, Full Moon Fever, The Heartbreakers’ presence was significant.

One of Petty’s most admirable talents was his storytelling ability within his lyrics. ‘Leave Virginia Alone’ is a shining testament to this.

The song presents a character reminiscent of ‘American Girl’; an enigmatic figure who allows the listeners to stitch together her narrative. With verses like, “She’s a loser / She’s a forgiver / And she still finds good / Where no one could”, Petty paints a portrait of a strong-willed, resilient woman.

This lyrical mystique is echoed in the song’s accompanying video, the creative brainchild of Petty’s daughter Adria and the talented Mark Selinger, a previous collaborator with Tom Petty.

Their combined understanding of Petty’s vision resulted in a masterpiece. Casimere Jollette brilliantly portrayed Virginia, illustrating her battle with the burdens of fame and her ultimate liberation, perhaps alluding to the line: “Well they chased her down the alley / And over the hill / To steal her will.”

Adria intended to maintain an air of ambiguity around Virginia’s character in the video, leaving viewers to form their interpretations. This indirect approach was a hallmark of Petty’s style, especially his knack for championing the misunderstood and marginalized.

Through tracks like ‘Leave Virginia Alone’ and countless others, he connected with listeners, speaking for those who felt unheard. His genuine voice and relatable lyrics solidified his position as one of the most approachable legends in rock.

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