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Tom Petty - "American Girl" - Tom Petty’s Last Song at the Hollywood Bowl 2017

In 1976, the late Tom Petty recorded what was then a relatively unremarkable single.

The song, about a girl on a balcony facing a “great big world,” didn’t even chart in the U.S. when it was released as a single the following year. A 1978 Rolling Stone review of the debut album upon which the song appeared, the self-titled “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,” takes no notice of the final track on the record. English audiences might’ve caught on when it hit the U.K. Top 40 and was praised by NME as one of its favorite singles from ’77, but American interest was hard to come by.

Today, “American Girl” is pop-rock gospel, hailed as one of the 100 best guitar songs of all time.


Well she was an American girl

Raised on promises

She couldn't help thinkin' that there

Was a little more to life

Somewhere else

After all it was a great big world

With lots of places to run to

Yeah, an d if she had to die

Tryin' she had one little promise

She was gonna keep

Oh yeah, all right

Take it easy baby

Make it last all night

She was an American girl

It was kind of cold that night

She stood alone on her balcony

She could the cars roll by

Out on 441

Like waves crashin' in the beach

And for one desperate moment there

He crept back in her memory

God it's so painful

Something that's so close

And still so far out of reach

Oh yeah, all right

Take it easy baby

Make it last all night

She was an American girl

Songwriters: Tom Petty

American Girl lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group


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