Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Tom Petty RIP
So, in the course of events the other day, Twitter informed me that Tom Petty was found unconscious after a heart attack at the age of 66, which is a thing people in their sixties often do survive, and then, news came about that he was taken off life support, and then, he was dead, but then again, we got told he wasn't dead yet, and then, no, he was. Which was a kick in the gut, because Tom Petty is right up there with Warren Zevon and a damn few others in my musical pantheon. (Bowie. Leonard Cohen. Protective light and health vibes around Pete Townsend, Stevie Nicks, Paul McCartney, etc.)
The thing with Tom Petty is that he didn't write any bad songs, but some just stood out as being especially good. "American Girl" is like that. "Raised on promises" suggests the "American Dream". She couldn't help thinking that there was a little more life, somewhere else. She was ambitious because of her upbringing. Some people see this as a song about suicide--not me. "And if she had to die, trying, she had one little promise she was going to keep" tells me this girl wasn't fixing to die, but to do something she promised to do. She had a "desperate moment there", but she got the hell over it.
Tom Petty painted pictures, and familiar scenes, with his songs. I guess that might be why some of his late '80's and early '90's work like "Last Dance with Mary Jane" (hello, necro!) and "Yer So Bad" made such odd great videos.
I don't know--he wasn't just a great songwriter and performer, but he passed that craft down and went out never having done any music that sounded like bullshit.
He had a perspective about music and the rest of it.
His voice was unique and I will both appreciate the way it stays with me, and miss how it won't say anything anymore, except in retrospect.