All of Tom Petty's Record 28 Mainstream Rock Songs Top 10s
The rock legend, who died Oct. 2 at 66, boasts the most top 10s in the Mainstream Rock Songs chart's history. Here's all of them.
Last week (on the chart dated Oct. 7), Foo Fighters rose to third place on the all-time list for the most top 10s on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs chart with their latest single, "The Sky Is a Neighborhood," the band's 24th top 10 on the tally.
The man that they're chasing? Tom Petty.
The legend, who died Monday (Oct. 2) at 66 following sudden cardiac arrest, racked up 28 top 10s among his 48 appearances on the chart, which began in 1981. In fact, he earned his first top 10 and first No. 1 (of 10 total) the same year, when "The Waiting" ruled for six weeks. (Below Petty, Van Halen ranks second with 26 top 10s, followed by both Aerosmith and Foo Fighters, each with 24.)
His presence on the chart even stretched across four different decades, when "I Should Have Known It" peaked at No. 40 on the chart dated July 3, 2010.
Here are Petty's record 28 top 10s (both solo and with The Heartbreakers), in chronological order.
"The Waiting," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 1 (six weeks), beginning May 9, 1981: At the time, the song's six-week reign was the longest in the chart's relatively brief history, eclipsing the five-week command for The Who's "You Better You Bet." Sure, it was just the third No. 1 on Mainstream Rock Songs ever, but the distinction held through that September, when The Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" embarked on its 13-week rule.
"A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 5, July 18, 1981: The follow-up to "The Wanting" and the second single from 1981's Hard Promises allowed Petty to become the first act with two top five hits on Mainstream Rock Songs.
"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 2, Aug. 29, 1981: It also stands as Petty's best rank on the Billboard Hot 100 (as well as Nicks' in a solo capacity), reaching No. 3.
"You Got Lucky," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 1 (three weeks), Dec. 11, 1982: With "You Got Lucky," Petty became only the second act at the time to snag multiple No. 1s on Mainstream Rock Songs, following Foreigner.
"Change of Heart," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 10, March 19, 1983: The song also became the seventh of Petty's 16 top 40 hits on the Hot 100.
"Don't Come Around Here No More," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 2, April 6, 1985: Petty's first top 10 in two years (following four charted titles in between) was -- perhaps surprisingly, in retrospect, as it's a signature Petty song -- blocked from No. 1 by Eric Clapton's "Forever Man" for two weeks, followed by Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)" for two more.
"Rebels," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 5, May 18, 1985: The second and final top five from 1985's Southern Accents, "Rebels" is known as the song that caused Petty, frustrated at how its recording was going, to break his hand after punching a wall.
"So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 9, Jan. 25, 1986: This cover of The Byrds' 1967 top 40 Hot 100 hit became Petty's first live top 10 on Mainstream Rock Songs, released from 1985's Pack Up the Plantation: Live!
"Jammin' Me," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 1 (four weeks), May 9, 1987: Bob Dylan co-wrote Petty's third Mainstream Rock Songs No. 1, the lead single off 1987's Let Me Up (I've Had Enough). That served as a harbinger of five Mainstream Rock Songs top 10s in 1988-90 for Traveling Wilburys, the supergroup of Petty, Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne, the latter of whom, as a producer, helped shape Petty's jangly sound for much of the late '80s and early '90s.
"Runaway Trains," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 6, July 4, 1987: With "Runaway Trains," Petty moved into a six-way tie at the time for the most Mainstream Rock Songs top 10s, sharing the distinction with a true who's-who of rock, then and now: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Bryan Adams, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and 38 Special.
"I Won't Back Down," Tom Petty, No. 1 (five weeks), April 22, 1989: Petty's first top 10 without the Heartbreakers officially credited introduced his debut solo album, 1989's Full Moon Fever. The song granted him his best rank on the Hot 100 (No. 12) in nearly eight years, dating back to "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." In 2014, the song wound up scoring Petty his highest peak on the Hot 100 as a writer, when he and Lynne were added to the writing credits of Sam Smith's No. 2-peaking "Stay With Me," as the chorus of Smith's hit borrows the melody of the verses to "I Won't Back Down."
"Runnin' Down a Dream," Tom Petty, No. 1 (one week), June 24, 1989: Petty's first instance of two straight No. 1s on Mainstream Rock Songs, and not the last. It debuted the same week (May 6, 1989) as two other Petty songs, "Free Fallin' " and "Feel a Whole Lot Better" (also a Byrds cover), starting a seven-week run of four Petty songs on the chart simultaneously, as "I Won't Back Down" was also still charting.
"Free Fallin'," Tom Petty," No. 1 (one week), Aug. 26, 1989: This classic made it three straight No. 1s for Petty, the only act to link such a streak in the '80s. The song also marked Petty's final top 10 on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 7 (Jan. 27, 1990).
"Love Is a Long Road," Tom Petty, No. 7, Oct. 28, 1989: Petty's last top 10 of the '80s, the song gave him 14 by decade's end, tied for second with Springsteen and behind only John Mellencamp (16).
"A Face in the Crowd," Tom Petty, No. 5, March 10, 1990: The fifth top 10 from 1989's Full Moon Fever. And, continuing Petty's Dylan connections beyond co-writes and their time in the Wilburys, Dylan's son Jesse directed the plaintive song's video.
"Yer So Bad," Tom Petty, No. 5, May 26, 1990: Make that six top 10s from the Full Moon Fever on Mainstream Rock Songs, the most from any Petty album and approached only by the set's follow-up, 1991's Into the Great Wide Open (four).
"Learning to Fly," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 1 (six weeks), June 29, 1991: Petty's return to the Mainstream Rock Songs chart with the Heartbreakers ruled for six weeks in 1991, his longest reign since "The Wanting" a decade earlier. The song's legacy includes a ballad cover by country's Lady Antebellum.
"Out in the Cold," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 1 (two weeks), Sept. 7, 1991: "Cold" followed "Fly" as Petty's last set of consecutive Mainstream Rock Songs No. 1s. "Cold" gave Petty eight No. 1s, moving him into sole possession of the most ever at the time.
"Into the Great Wide Open," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 4, Nov. 2, 1991: The title track from Petty's 1991 Heartbreakers reboot, the track's video stars Johnny Depp, hot off his breakout success in Edward Scissorhands. (Biased pick for best Petty lyric: "They made a record and it went in the charts …")
"King's Highway," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 4, Jan. 25, 1992: Your Petty top 10 update following his fourth top 10 from Into the Great Wide Open: 20, making him the first act to reach that milestone.
"Mary Jane's Last Dance," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 1 (two weeks), Nov. 20, 1993: One of just nine songs to debut in the top 10 of Mainstream Rock Songs in 1993, and one of Petty's quickest rises to No. 1, reaching the chart's summit in three weeks.
"You Don't Know How It Feels," Tom Petty, No. 1 (one week), Dec. 31, 1994: Petty's final No. 1 on Mainstream Rock Songs, giving him 10 in all. At the time, that was the most ever, and the sum still ranks Petty fourth overall, below only Van Halen with 13, Three Days Grace (12) and Shinedown (11).
"You Wreck Me," Tom Petty, No. 2, Feb. 25, 1995: The hard-charging track stopped at No. 2 behind Pearl Jam's second No. 1, "Better Man," which was in the midst of its eight-week reign.
"It's Good to Be King," Tom Petty, No. 6, May 20, 1995: Petty's final top 10 as a solo artist, and the third to reach that distinction from 1994's Wildflowers -- although "King" was followed by two more Mainstream Rock Songs entries in 1995 (including the No. 12-peaking "A Higher Place").
"Waiting for Tonight," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 6, Jan. 6, 1996: Before Petty and co. dropped ninth studio album Songs and Music from the Motion Picture She's the One later in 1996, they released "Waiting for Tonight" -- which was originally recorded around the time of Full Moon Fever, before being included on the 1995 box set Playback. Notably, the melodic song features backing vocals by the Bangles.
"Walls" (from She's the One), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 6, Aug. 24, 1996: The second of three straight songs by Petty to peak at No. 6 on Mainstream Rock Songs, "Walls" also marked the Heartbreakers' final appearance to date on the Hot 100 (hitting No. 69).
"Climb That Hill" (from She's the One), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 6, Nov. 16, 1996: In addition to its No. 6 peak, "Hill" also spent the most time of any song from She's the One on Mainstream Rock Songs (17 weeks).
"Free Girl Now," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, No. 5, March 13, 1999: "Free Girl Now" stands as Petty's record 28th (and so far final) top 10, released as the lead single from 1999's Echo. Its No. 5 peak was also the spot at which it debuted, marking Petty's best first week on the chart since 1991's "Learning to Fly," and arrived as the second-best debut of 1999, cleared only by Creed's "Higher" (No. 3). Petty would add five more Mainstream Rock Songs entries through 2010, including his highest-charting hit of the 2000s, 2002's No. 22-peaking "The Last DJ." (In more recent years, Petty continued to earn airplay with new material, reaching No. 19 on Adult Alternative Songs in 2016 with "Trailer" by his side band, Mudcrutch.)