Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus Pays Tribute To Tom Petty performing "Wildflowers"

Song covers can be a great way to reinvent a hit track. They can serve as a homage to stars other artists aspire to. Sometimes a new interpretation or performance can be done in such a way that it belongs to that cover artist. 

It stands on its one as a great piece of music. Take Bill Wither’s three most famous singles, ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, ‘Lean On Me’ and ‘Just the Two of Us.’ Each has successfully been sung and sold by legends in the industry from Ed Sheeran, Joe Cocker and Will Smith.

Returning to Motown classics, country hits or ‘Roots, Rock & Reggae’ gives a chance for performers to show audiences their range. Often it allows people to see them in a new light and can even help shift public perception as they transit into different music personas as time goes on. 

Bruno Mars once covered Michael Jackson, David Bowie was talented at being able to channel his creativity into pseudo egos. Even the folk rock legends, CCR, paid their dues when they covered Little Richard’s ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ and Marvin Gaye’s ‘Heard it Through the Grapevine.’

Miley Cyrus is no different. 

She wowed younger crowds with her tv show, Hanna Montana before shaking the teen Disney image for a solo music career. She then made the move to more edgier themes and became even more famous for her controversial performances. 

Her album Can’t Be Tamed signalled a desire to change direction, but it wasn’t until Bangerz, with songs like ‘We Can’t Stop’ and ‘Wrecking Ball’ that she revealed her most drastic changes. 

But despite negative critical reactions to her music and image, some performances have made people see Miley Cyrus in a different light. The first is her cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, which started convincing some that she was a serious artist. 

More recently she joined her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, on stage covering the title track, ‘Wildflowers’, from the late great Tom Petty’s second solo album.  Performed live on Jimmy Fallon’s talk show, what makes this a stand out performance is not just how comfortable Miley is hitting the song’s high notes, but that she believes and feels the message it contains as she sings ‘You belong somewhere you feel free.’ 

It’s a line that can only be delivered by someone who has journeyed through the highs and lows and has become stronger for it.