grateful to God for tom petty...
I loved Tom Petty. I loved everything about him from his geeky outsider looks to his fusion of Beatles/Byrds/Roots music to his own brand of Southern fried rock and soul groove. Like me, his world changed while watching the Beatles perform on Ed Sullivan. Like Little Steven (of Springsteen fame) we knew that the world had shifted with this music and "there was a way out" (of our white bread, bored realm.) I can't help but feel that his unexpected death at 66 is yet another confirmation that I am moving in the right direction with retirement. Some of his tunes became anthemic in my little life starting with "Listen to Her Heart" and "American Girl" just a year after my first daughter came into the world.
And the brother didn't quit creating tunes that filled my soul with with joy, verve and just a little be of sass. From his homage to psychedelia, "Don't Come Around Here No More" to his cover of The Byrds' "So You Wanna Be a Rock'n' Roll Start," he kept giving life everything he had - and probably more, too.
A few other killer Tom Petty songs have been etched into my memory in ways that will endure. Hell, I'll probably be chanting the lyrics to "Last Dance" in the geriatric ward" "I don't know but I've been told, you never slow down, you NEVER grow old... oh my, my - oh hell yes - you gotta put on your party dress... buy me a drink, sing me a song, take me as I come cuz I can't stay long!" And how about that freakin' NASTY guitar riff that pushes everything forward?!?
The other personal favorites include: "Free Fallin'," "I Won't Back Down," "Breakdown," "Refugee," "Yer So Bad" and two from the Traveling Willburys' catalog: "Handle Me with Care" and "End of the Line" with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.
Watching this video this morning is sobering: not only was Brother Roy already gone during the filming, but now George and Tom have crossed over, too. I am grateful to God for the music TP shared with the world. I am grateful for his rebellious spirit, good humor and commitment to the cause of building community with love. And I am grateful that he helped inspire my own personal soundtrack as I moved through adulthood. Be gentle with one another - and put on your party dress!