Hailing from the state of Florida, singer-songwriter Tom Petty has come to epitomise a new rootsy style of California rock'n'roll. Rhythmically, the music harkens back to the basic crunch of the Rolling Stones and the dancing pop of the Beatles, while Petty's gravelly vocals and sing-song narrative style suggest roots in the folk-blues Americana of Bob Dylan. Years before R.E.M. returned to the jangly, Rickenbacker-infected timbre of the Byrds, Petty's nasal delivery and bell-like mix of guitars and vocal harmonies gave new life to the atmospheric ballad style of Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and company. GREATEST HITS is evenly divided between material from Petty's mid-'70s/early '80s breakthrough and the more mature work he's been doing with producer Jeff Lynne since 1989's FULL MOON FEVER. The craft and content of his songwriting has grown more relaxed and accomplished with each passing album, whether alone or in tandem with Lynne and long-time lead guitarist Mike Campbell. Thus we move from the hard-churning outsider's anthem of "Refugee" with Benmont Tench's pulsing Hammond organ (from 1979's DAMN THE TORPEDOES), to the moody Southern California metaphors of the transplanted rock exiles and doomed romantics who populate "Free Fallin'" and "Learning To Fly"--all examples of Petty's timeless, evocative songwriting.