Hear Tom Petty’s Previously Unreleased ‘Leave Virginia Alone’
Tom Petty's version of "Leave Virginia Alone" has finally been released.
More than a quarter century after he left the track off his 1994 album Wildflowers, Petty's version of the song, which instead became a hit single for Rod Stewart, has been released as the fourth track from the upcoming Wildflowers & All the Rest box set.
Petty thought the song sounded too similar to another cut, so he left "Leave Virginia Alone" off his 1994 album. "Sometimes I feel it's just not that great," he told Paul Zollo in the 2005 book Conversations With Tom Petty. "I do it all the time. I'll be here in the studio, and I'll have an idea, and I might spend the whole day doing the track. And then I'll feel it's not really that good. So it just goes in the outtake file. But sometimes you'll do that, and maybe it wasn't that good, but one little bit of it was, and so you go, 'Okay, let's keep that one little bit.' Maybe those two lines, or that one bit of melody was really good, and that can start you on another journey to where maybe something really good is going to appear."
The song was then given to Stewart, whose version reached No. 10 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1995.
"It was for Tom Petty's album, but he took it off because it was too close lyrically to something that was a hit beforehand, and his managers couldn't persuade him to put it on the album," Stewart told Billboard. "So his manager, who's a friend of my manager, said 'Would Rod listen to the song?'"
You can watch the new video for Petty's original version of the song below. It was directed by Petty's daughter, Adria, and photographer, Mark Seliger. “The one idea that kept coming back to both of us is that we really want Tom to be narrating the story," Seliger explained. "We really want to hear his voice as he runs you through this journey that this woman is having.”