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Tom Petty Was Planning a ‘Wildflowers’ Tour

Mark Bowman, Ultimate Classic Rock
Mark Bowman, Ultimate Classic Rock

Tom Petty was reportedly planning a tour centered on his 1994 solo album Wildflowers at the time of his death earlier this month.

According to Rolling Stone, the singer and songwriter had even recruited Norah Jones for the tour, which was originally planned for this year but was put on hold as Petty and the Heartbreakers hit the road for their 40th anniversary instead.

Petty had previously said he wanted to expand Wildflowers into a two-disc set as originally planned, and then perform the entire album that way onstage. “That would have been smaller-scale, away from the hits,” Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell told Rolling Stone. “[But] plans for that somehow evolved into ‘It’s the 40th year. Let’s do this tour first.'”

Even with the band in the middle of those dates, Petty was still thinking ahead about how to bring the expanded Wildflowers to the stage. “He asked me to call some people and see if they would come on the road and perform it with him,” Tony Dimitriades, Petty’s longtime manager, told Rolling Stone. “One – and she said yes immediately – was Norah Jones.”

“That album was really about sound in a big way,” Petty told Rolling Stone last year. “I would like to go out there and perform the entire album as it was originally conceived with all of the songs. … Nobody has ever done something like this where you’re previewing the second part of a never-released album. How often does that happen? It’s old and new at the same time.”

Petty and the Heartbreakers had wrapped up their 40th anniversary tour just a week before he died on Oct. 2 at the age of 66 of cardiac arrest. The new Rolling Stone cover story about Petty also reveals that he had a hairline fracture in his left hip, which he planned to fix after the tour.

“I don’t know how it happened — I don’t think he even knew when it happened,” said Dimitriades, who cautioned Petty against touring in that state. “Why not?” asked Petty. “I’ll do it in a chair if I have to.”

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