Music Friday: Tom Petty Wants Her More Than Diamonds or Gold in "Built to Last"

October 29, 2021

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we feature Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performing “Built to Last” from their 1991 2X platinum-selling album, Into the Great Wide Open.

In this song about a couple whose love has endured both the good and bad times, frontman Petty sings, “I want her more than diamonds / I want her more than gold / I want her more than anything anyone could hold.”

In the next verse, he adds, “We were built to last / On until forever / The world is changing fast / But our love was built to last.”

Although the song was never released as a single, it was a favorite of concert-goers. In a rare clip (below) from a 1991 performance in Oakland, CA, enthusiastic fans can be heard singing along with Petty and his bandmates.

“Built to Last” was co-written by Petty and Jeff Lynne, the frontman for Electric Light Orchestra. It was the 12th track on Into the Great Wide Open, an album that sold nearly 3 million copies worldwide and rose to #13 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart. A Rolling Stone critic wrote at the time that the album features Petty’s best lyrics. The album spawned two #1 hits, “Learning to Fly” and “Out in the Cold.”

Established in 1976 in Gainesville, Fla., Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were still rocking' in 2017 when Petty died of an accidental overdose one week after the end of the Heartbreakers' 40th Anniversary Tour. The singer had been taking medications to alleviate pain from a serious hip injury.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have sold more than 80 million records worldwide, putting them high in the ranks of the world’s best-selling bands. Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 91st on its list of the Greatest Artists of All Time.

We welcome you to check out the rare clip of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ live performance of “Built to Last.” The video actually features two songs, “Built to Last” and “Makin’ Some Noise.” Our featured song leads off the double bill. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

“Built to Last”
Written by Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. Performed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Somewhere out my doorway
Somewhere down my block
I can hear her heartbeat
In rhythm with my clock
I want her more than diamonds
I want her more than gold
I want her more than anything anyone could hold

We were built to last
On until forever
The world is changing fast
But our love was built to last

She has followed me down
Along those empty streets
She has followed me where the rain would fall in sheets
And I know I been changing
Changing like the wind
I was feeling burned out
I got tired of it

We were built to last
On until forever
The world is changing fast
But our love was built to last

So come to me my darlin’
Hold me while I sleep
I know you feel lost
But you’re not in too deep

We were built to last
On until forever
The world is changing fast
But our love was built to last

Credit: Image by By musicisentropy, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.