The Billboard Review
Originally reviewed for week ending 12/9/95
Six-CD retrospective of Tom Petty's first 20 years in recording contains highlights of all his ABC and MCA studio albums--with and without the Heartbreakers--during the period, plus B-sides, alternate versions of familiar songs, singles, and demos of the Heartbreakers and its precursor, Mudcrutch. Besides offering ample evidence of Petty's greatness as a composer, singer, and musician, 'Playback' traces the artist's growth from his Florida bar band days to American rock icon status. An in-depth essay by journalist Bill Flanagan provides insight into Petty's rags-to-riches success and his collaborations with such prime movers as Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Jeff Lynne. One of the top boxed sets of the year.