Bus to Tampa Bay

Album: An American Treasure (2018)

Songfacts®:

  • A 2011 outtake from sessions for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 13th and final studio album Hypnotic Eye, "Bus to Tampa Bay" eventually saw the light of day when it was included on the 2018 compilation album An American Treasure.
  • Heartbreaker keyboardist Benmont Tench told Uncut the background to this song:

    "It's a story, but also a Florida snapshot. Tom is writing about when he was young and working in the Tampa area around St. Petersburg. He worked for an undertaker for a while!"
  • Petty speaks up in the second verse for Seminole leader Osceola, who fought in the 19th century against the genocide against the native American population in Florida.

    There's a map of Osceola and his Raiders
    Fighting off the Everglades Invaders
    He burnt them down, he left them for the gators


    Born of mixed parentage in Alabama, Osceola (1804-1838), migrated as a child to Florida, where he and the rest of his family became part of the Seminole people. When the United States tried to remove the tribe from their lands in Florida to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River in 1836, Osceola led a small group of warriors in the Seminole resistance.

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