Tom Petty Was 'Haunted' By 'Wildflowers,' Says Producer Rick Rubin

Fans are sitting by patiently, perhaps some not so patiently, for the long-promised expanded edition of late Tom Petty's 1994 album Wildflowers. Now, Ultimate Classic Rock reports that fans may have some new insight of the sessions thanks to the album's producer, Rick Rubin. The producer stated to reporters during an interview that Tom Petty was "haunted" by the album's legacy. Haunted how? Rubin went on to further explain.

"He knew that the second second half of Wildflowers was an important statement. His issue was [that] he didn't want to put it out as a new Tom Petty album, 'cause it's not a new Tom Petty album, it was recorded 25 years ago, and he didn't want to release it as an old catalog album because he thought it deserved more than being a catalog album. He felt like it was too good to just put out and was sort of looking for the right story where it would have the exposure that it deserved. And he never came up with it."
The initial Wildflowers album has 14 tracks, but Rubin says that Tom Petty always wanted and hoped to put out the other tracks he'd created. During the initial recording sessions, Rubin stated that Petty had recorded "between 26 and 28 songs." However, Warner Bros. did not want to release all of the recordings, as they felt a single LP would have far more commercial potential. According to Rubin, Petty fought hard with his former label, but eventually agreed with his bosses and set about picking through the songs and choosing which 14 would make it to the album and in what order.Rubin stated that during their listening session approximately two and a half years ago, Tom played the unreleased tracks at Rubin's house, making a few changes. Rubin says the quality "floored him." He claims to have had a vague memory of some of the songs Tom Petty was playing that day. He says he told Tom, "Wow, what a great song! How did we ever miss this?"
"He told me Wildflowers scares him, because he's not really sure why it's as good as it is. So it has this, like, haunted feeling for him...He loved it, but it's not like he could turn that on again. He couldn't make Wildflowers 2 today. That was the point. The point was, 'I can't do this now. This was then, and it was where I was then and it was a prolific period. This is an extension of that moment.'"