Album: Wildflowers & All The Rest
Alright, “Somewhere Under Heaven” has a weird history, so pay attention, because this will be on the final.
“Somewhere Under Heaven” was originally recorded for Wildflowers in late 1992, but didn’t make the final tracklist after Warner Bros nixed Petty’s original 24-song double CD concept in 1994. Nor did it make the She’s The One soundtrack, that weird combo of Wildflowers leftovers, new songs and covers that came out in 1996. And so, tough luck for “Somewhere Under Heaven,” as it remained unheard for a long long time.
Said long long time? Over two decades, until Tom Petty was finally ready to revisit the Wildflowers era and put out a box set of everything he recorded for it, and as a taste, they released “Somewhere Under Heaven” digitally in 2015. And in fact, Petty’s team even made a teaser video and stuck it up on YouTube, saying that was “the first track to be released from Tom Petty’s album Wildflowers – All The Rest.”
I’m also told that “Somewhere Under Heaven” was featured in the Entourage film, which was a thing that somebody actually made. Of course, Petty died in 2017 — unrelated to the Entourage film, they tell me — and the Wildflowers project was officially shelved in favor of the An American Treasure and The Best of Everything box sets.
And so it wasn’t until the 47 different permutations of the Wildflowers sessions that were finally released in October 2020 that “Somewhere Under Heaven” finally had an official home: near the end of the All The Rest disc, which Petty apparently strongly considered releasing as Wildflowers 2 back in 1995.
It was worth the wait, even if “Somewhere Under Heaven” is a bit of an anomaly among even the Wildflowers songs: Mike Campbell plays all of the instruments — bass, organ, drums, and a ton of guitars — and Petty just sings, making me think it was basically a Campbell demo Petty wrote words for.
Jenny’s father was a working man
He worked hard to be his best
In the middle of the afternoon
He would give little Jenny a kiss
“Somewhere Under Heaven” takes its time to even get to that opening verse, as Campbell first twirls a ton of guitars around each other over his slow and totally rudimentary beat, which you don’t even notice because all of those guitars, and Petty’s totally grand and yearning vocals in the chorus.
Somewhere under Heaven
In the eye of a hurricane
Little Jenny would dance in the rain
After the second chorus, which has moved Jenny’s dancing from “the eye of a hurricane” to “a field of sugarcane”, “Somewhere Under Heaven” comes to a complete stop, only to start back up from the beginning. So now I’m wondering if “Somewhere Under Heaven” was Campbell demo that they just repeated twice so Petty could fit all of his words into it. Which just makes it even weirder and cooler, another outlier from a session chock full of them.
Finally, just to add to the confusion, you’re probably assuming that we’re now fully into the Wildflowers portion of Certain Songs, but as you’ll see tomorrow, yes and no.
“Somewhere Under Heaven”
“Somewhere Under Heaven” 2015 teaser
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