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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Singer Chris Hillman performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Tom Petty at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California; NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09: Tom Petty performs onstage during the Songwriters Hall Of Fame 47th Annual Induction And Awards at Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 9, 2016 in New York City.

Depending on what’s in the recent vaults, Tom Petty‘s final recordings may not have been for himself.

Petty produced Bidin’ My Time, the new album by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chris Hillman — a key member of the key Petty influence the Byrds. In addition to producing, Petty performs on two of the album’s tracks, while Heartbreakers members Benmont Tench, Steve Ferrone and Mike Campbell also appear on the album.

Hillman — who also co-founded the Flying Burrito Brothers Band and the Desert Rose Band — tells us that Petty’s love for the Byrds bonded the two musicians early on:

“Tom has always acknowledged the Byrds in the early part of his career…He cut a couple of our songs, ‘Feel A Whole Lot Better’ and ‘Rock and Roll Star’ on a live album, and he really nailed ’em, just so much excitement. And he’s a great guy. I knew him from 1978 when the Heartbreakers were starting to break…I really got to know him on this project, ¬†and it’s hard for me to look at Tom as a true rock star that he is, and he is such a humble guy and he loves music and understands and loves all kinds of music, which I like. So as a producer he was fantastic.”

Hillman’s album also includes a rendition of Petty’s “Wildflowers,” which he’d performed during the MusiCares Person of the Year gala honoring Petty earlier this year.


Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights