Mary Jane’s Last Dance

When author Paul Zollo asks Tom about the song in his book Conversations With Tom Petty, and mentions that the song had been partially written some years previously, Tom confirms this, saying, “That was one I wrote during the Full Moon Fever sessions. I wrote all but the chorus. I just had the loop going around and around and really had most of the words and everything. And I played the tape for Rick Rubin and he liked it a lot and suggested I write a chorus. There were maybe five years between the writing of the verses and the chorus.” Of course, all hardcore Pettyheads know that the lyrics that Tom initially came up with in the chorus were very different to what ended up on the recording. In 2020, Mike Campbell told Vulture magazine, “What’s funny is that when Tom wrote this song, when he first showed it to me, the chorus was, “Hey Indiana girl, go out and find the world.” It was a completely different chorus and we all hated it. A few days later Tom came in and sang, “Last dance for[sic] Mary Jane.”

Today’s episode covers the first single from the Greatest Hits release, the iconic “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”.

You can listen (and watch) to the song here:

To hear the live version from the Fillmore, check that here:

The podcast I promoted in this week’s episode, And The Podcast Will Rock, can be found here:

The Tom Petty Project is a proud member of The Deep Dive Podcast Network, which you can find on Twitter:

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All music, including the theme song, provided by my very best friend Randy Woods. Check him out at

The Tom Petty Project is not affiliated with the Tom Petty estate in any way and when you’re looking for Tom’s music, please visit the official YouTube channel first and go to for official merchandise.

A last very special thanks to Paul Zollo. Without his book, “Conversations with Tom Petty”, this podcast wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to research. And further thanks to Warren Zanes for his outstanding book “Petty, the Biography”

Producer: Kevin Brown

Executive Producer: Paul Roberts

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