Petty wrote the future Stewart hit during a fertile period of songwriting for his 1994 solo album, Wildflowers.
The song, along with many others, was cut from the final version of Wildflowers. Petty reportedly reasoned that it was too similar to another track. Eventually "Leave Virginia Alone" wound up in Stewart's hands via Petty's manager, where it hit No. 10 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1995.
Watch the Adria Petty-directed music video for it in the player above!
Petty wrote at least 35 songs for Wildflowers and initially planned the record to be a double album. But after discussing the idea with his record label, Petty agreed to pair down to track list to encompass a standard album length.
Before his death in 2017, Petty was planning to release the full version of Wildflowers and tour to celebrate the legacy of one of his best records.
Wildflower's producer Rick Rubin said the album and the legacy of its unreleased tracks "loomed large" in Petty's career, and Petty knew it.
"He told me Wildflowers scares him because he's not really sure why it's as good as it is. So it has this haunted feeling for him," Rubin told Malcolm Gladwell on the Broken Record podcast. "...Like, he loves it, but it's not like he could turn that on again. He couldn't make Wildflowers 2 today. That was the point. 'I can't do this now. This was then, and it was where I was then and it was a prolific period. This is an extension of that moment.'"
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