Walls (Circus) – Tom Petty

It’s not very often that I have the pleasure of introducing an aficionado of a given artist to a song in that artist’s repertoire that somehow got “missed.” I’m a fan of Tom Petty’s and I respect the man’s canon, but I absolutely LOVE the song “Walls (Circus).” Seemingly no one in my life knows this song. It was released in July of 1996, the month I turned 15, and I can still recall hearing it in regular rotation on Winnipeg radio. It burned up the Billboard Hot 100 to a whopping #69.  It may have made it up to #2 in Canada on the RPM chart, although this is unconfirmed (unless one of you can do so on Wikipedia).

Something about that song stuck in my heart, and still does. So, at a recent jam session, when my musical partner suggested a few Tom Petty tunes for the busking set we’re working on, I remembered my love for “Walls.” He hadn’t heard it before, and it was a pleasure to watch the discovery wash over.  We’ll be test-running it for the first time at a jam this Friday. He’s also offered to sing lead for the first time, and that’s an amazing thing to witness (I’m really excited about this, and so proud).  I’m also stoked to sing the harmony lines, which I’ve always found a bit magical.

Speaking of the harmonies, I decided this morning that I would research “Walls” in more detail. I’d known it was from the soundtrack to the film, “She’s the One,” but not much else.  I didn’t even know it whether it was a Heartbreakers’ tune (it is). However, I nearly fell out of my chair to learn that Fleetwood Mac‘s Lindsay Buckingham provides the backing vocals. Now that I know I can hear it with abundant clarity; it’s taken the song to a whole new depth for me as listener, but has also intrigued me as a backup singer as I listen more closely. Such a gorgeous part…I’m excited to play and explore those lines!  In the meantime, perhaps I’ll have another listen…and another…and…

2 thoughts on “Walls (Circus) – Tom Petty

Add yours

  1. thank you for introducing me to this song! oh and btw….I was 28 when it was released, about half way through my university degree. I seem to remember the whole Brit pop thing had taken over at that time, you know, Oasis, Blur, Pulp etc. Tom Petty had really gone off-radar by this stage. But hey, I still have the first 5 or so Heartbreaker albums, on vinyl!


  2. Tim, thanks for reading, and for self-identifying! I was being careful to protect the guilty. I love how you’ve taken to this tune; maybe a follow up audio sample will be in order for the lovely readers here? 🙂

    Oh, vinyl…my feelings on that are for another post. *Swoons*.


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