Top 5: Our Favorite A Cappella Tom Petty Covers
The music world lost a truly phenomenal talent this week with the passing of Tom Petty. As lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the band brought a unique and soft touch to rock music that connected with listeners in the best kind of way.
Over the last few decades, Petty's music inspired a great deal of covers in the a cappella community, spawning numerous performances of such songs like "Free Fallin'."
In today's Top 5, we remember the spirit of his music with five of our very favorite Tom Petty covers.
"Learning To Fly" - Sixteen Feet (Swarthmore College)
Simple. Sentimental. And Passionate. Sixteen Feet's take on "Learning To Fly" is the type of a cappella performance fit for all music lovers, even those who have no vested interest in the genre. This is the kind of song that you can play as you're cruising down the open highways, with no set destination.
"Free Fallin'" - Awaken A Cappella (UCLA)
When it comes to soft rock in contemporary a cappella, no song is more heavily covered than "Free Fallin'." Trust us, we've done extensive YouTube searches. So, when a cover of the tune makes this list, you have to trust us that it deserves to be here. From the talented two leads to the somewhat jazzy arrangement, this a performance that can stand the test of time for decades to come.
"American Girl" - The Callbacks (Harvard University)
Props to the Harvard Callbacks for laying down some serious 70s pop rock in 2017. The rhythmic backing vocals mixed with the classic stylings of the soloist combine to deliver the right elements for some vintage Tom Petty.
"Can't Flunk Out" - MEDLEY (University of Texas School of Law)
When it comes to art, there's no bigger risk a musician can take than crafting a parody. And in this parody of Petty's "Won't Back Down" by UT's MEDLEY, they've struck aca-gold as they transform the song into a track more relatable to the life of a law student entitled "Can't Flunk Out." Prepare to laugh your head off.
"Mary Jane's Last Dance" - 8 to the Bar (Drexel University)
This cover of one of Tom Petty's biggest hits is full of great rock chords and frankly a classic sound that you just don't hear in a cappella anymore. Although the video is from 2009, 8 to the Bar has somehow time travelled to the early 90s to reclaim an old-school style that today's music could take a few pointers from.