2 Songs You Didn’t Know Tom Petty Wrote for Other Artists

There are few songwriters quite like Tom Petty. The man had a style all his own, one that was difficult to properly pinpoint, but instantly recognizable all the same. He built a career off of merging rock’s sub-genres to, in turn, create a sound—part heartland rock part roots rock, tinged in Southern rock– unlike any other. He crafted songs that defied the norm, pushed the boundaries, and became just as legendary as their maker.

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While some of Petty’s songs throughout his decades-long career have been meant for others, he can still be heard on every line. We’ve touched on a few previously, but here are two more songs Tom Petty wrote for other artists that prove his one-of-a-kind style is forever unmistakable.

1. “Lost in Your Eyes” – The Searchers (1979)

Written by Tom Petty

Love isn’t easy / It isn’t always kind / I could have stood there / Lost in your eyes, plays the 1979 piano-powered ballad “Lost in Your Eyes.” Originally released by British rockers The Searchers on their self-titled album, the Petty-penned tune resounds with much of the legend’s style.

The lyrics are simple, yet poignant; to the point, but still dreamily endearing, sung in Petty’s trademark coolness. While Petty never recorded a version of the song himself, Miami Vice star-turned-musician Don Johnson took on the track for his 1986 debut.

2. “California Blue” – Roy Orbison (1989)

Written by Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne

One sunny day / I’ll get back again / Somehow, someway / But I don’t know when / California blue, sings Orbison in the chorus of the warbling 1989 ballad “California Blue.”

While Petty is probably best known for helping to pen Roy Orbison’s classic “You Got It,” that was not the end of their musical partnership. The two performed in the supergroup Traveling Wilburys, and during that time worked on crafting a number of tracks together. “California Blue” was among them. The track was released as a single from Orbison’s acclaimed final album, Mystery Girl, and from there became an international Top 40 hit.

Along with Petty, fellow Traveling Wilburys member and “California Blue” co-writer, Jeff Lynne, appeared on the track, both contributing vocals and instrumentals to Orbison’s tune.

Photo by George Rose / Sacks & Co.

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