What The Fuck? And, I mean: What? The? Fuck? We lost another one. A big one. My favorite one. The one whose music has been in my ears since “American Girl” hit the airwaves. The one whose pictures (45 sleeves) were taped up in my locker for all 4 years of high school. The one who I try to see on every tour simply because he is my favorite. This loss is huge……even if he has already made his impact on the music world and it is unlikely he would have broken new ground or released something so big…he became a household name again. But, I am going to miss him all the same.
I know who he is. You know who he is….but, many kids today don’t know. Don’t care. And that is probably okay….his impact has already shaped much of the music they are listening to anyway. But, I no longer breathe the same air that he does. I no longer live in a world where he does. And, I no longer will be able to see or hear him perform any of my favorite songs live. And, that is heartbreaking…..no pun intended.
I saw him a few weeks ago…..40th Anniversary and all. Awesome show. Solid. Always a joy to be in the presence of rock and roll greatness. To witness the professionalism, the tightness of a band that has been playing together foralmostfuckingever, and to just enjoy it so damn much….always a pleasure. While I am aware many musicians (including Petty) deliver a scripted show…..I am good with that. It demonstrates all that Tom Petty believes in musically…..work hard, deliver your best, and give the fans all you’ve got. I saw him several times and I will say…he never disappoints. He always leaves me satisfied and confident that my musical taste was impeccable….even as a pre-teen.
This tour was particularly poignant for me…..he played some songs that you would only know if you listened to his entire albums like scores of music fans in the 70s and 80s, including me. Songs I loved and had forgotten about. I was so moved, actually…..I pulled his first 5 or 6 albums out and just played them on shuffle for the next few weeks. What a joy that was. He took me right back to where I was in my life when those songs weaved themselves into to my heart and memories.
As I sit here writing and crying and trying not to sob at work…….I am thankful he shared his greatness with us…..which sounds so trite……and thankful I saw him so recently.
Incidentally…..I was watching Running Down a Dream a year or so ago……they interviewed his mom (I think it was her). She said his dad tried to beat the music out of Tom. Couldn’t. It made me think…..some things we are just born to do. Well….some of us are. He was going to be Tom Petty no matter what. He knew deep in the fiber of his being that he was born to do what he was doing. And, then he went and did it. Fantastically. How great would the world be if we all knew what we were supposed to do? And, if we actually did it? I am not sad for him and a life cut short……he lived his life his way doing his favorite thing. And, he made so many of us happy by sharing his gift. But, I am going to miss him.
RIP American Boy