“You Don’t Know How It Feels” is a song and the lead single from Tom Petty‘s 1994 album Wildflowers. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his last Top 40 hit. With candid lyrics regarding the songwriter’s desire for personal and professional autonomy, it is known for its accordion solo and harmonica solo.
MTV and many radio stations aired a censored version of “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” taking the word “roll” out of “let’s roll another joint”, as well as a version that played the word “joint” backwards. A version replacing the word “roll” with “hit” was also made. Nevertheless, the music video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video in 1995.
Tom Petty originally intended the B-side of the single, “Girl on LSD”, to appear on Wildflowers, but Warner Bros. refused because it was too controversial. In the song Petty sings about being in love with multiple girls on different drugs: marijuana, cocaine, LSD, beer, crystal meth, china white (a slang term for heroin) and coffee. In the chorus Petty states: “Through ecstasy, crystal meth and glue/I found no drug compares to you/all these pills, all this weed/I dunno just what I need.”