The Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Song the Band Refused to Play Live Since They Barely Knew It

When Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their seventh album, Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough), it opened with a track co-written by Petty, guitarist Mike Campbell, and Traveling Wilburys bandmate Bob Dylan, “Jammin’ Me,” which went to No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks charts and No. 18 on the Hot 100. Lower down on the list was another song that would never get played live by the band after 1990.

The penultimate “How Many More Days” was barely performed live since its release on the band’s 1987 album except for 11 dates including four on the band’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Caravan Tour and the remainder on their Strange Behaviors Tour in 1989, including the Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California on July 29, along with Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio on August 8, and Hampton, Virginia on September 12, and presumably the last time in Oakland, California on March 6, 1990.

“That was ad-libbed quickly, and not a bad song,” said Petty of “How Many Days,” which was pieced together on the spot for the album. “Our wardrobe girl, Linda, she always requests that one. And we always laugh because we know damn well we’re not gonna play it. We never do it. We don’t know it. Just that she thinks we would know it is hysterical.”

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[RELATED: 7 Songs You Didn’t Know Tom Petty Wrote for Other Artists]

“The Waiting,” Part II”

Written by Petty, “How Many More Days” could have very well been the sequel to the band’s 1981 hit “The Waiting“—one of the most difficult songs he ever wrote—drawing on the agony of anticipation, for love.

There is something little darling
That I want you to know
Honey I love you, yeah I need you
Every night, everyday goes so slow
How many more days?
I want to see you again

Yes, I remember you smiling
I remember you feeling mighty fine
I remember your kiss, I remember your touch
I can’t get you out of my mind
Little girl, how many more days?
I need to see you again
How long will that take?
I want to see you again

Oh babe can’t you see? I’ll be honest with you
Please don’t lie babe, please don’t smile
Please don’t play around with this heart of mine
Can’t you see?
It’s something I want babe
It’s more than that, it’s something I need
Oh little darling please be truthful, please
Be faithful, please come now to me
Oh baby, I need to see you again

Chugging through Campbell’s solos, Belmont Tench’s piercing piano, and Petty’s improvised lyrics, “How Many Days” is the jam song that could have been. Though overlooked by Petty and the Heartbreakers, it remains a buried gem from the band’s end-of-the-’80s stretch.

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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