Cut from the Original Analog Tapes by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Studios
1999's Echo served as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' first official studio album since 1991's Into the Great Wide Open with the frontman's second solo endeavor Wildflowers (1994) and Songs and Music from She's the One (1996) issued in the interim.
A self-described dark record rooted in the pangs of his recent divorce, Rick Rubin wonderfully balances the weight of the record's themes with a revealing no-nonsense production which only adds to the intimacy of Petty's songwriting. Home to the trio of Top 20 singles "Free Girl Now," "Swingin'" and "Room at the Top," Echo would also be the last album to feature contributions from the band's longtime bassist/vocalist Howie Epstein who died of a drug overdose in 2003.
Petty's musical integrity and craft, not to mention his seemingly effortless flair for rapturous hooks, have remained constant despite ever-shifting musical trends, and his multi-generational fan base continues to swell. In the words of Rolling Stone's Alan Light, "The man's consistency is pretty astounding."