Monday, October 2, 2017

Tom Petty 1950 - 2017

The only content here it seems anymore is copied from my tumblr.

"Mary Jane's Last Dance" ('cause it sounded like something off Harvest) and "Billy the Kid" ('cause it fit in with this 'People' theme CD I burned) were the only tunes of his in my iTunes, but when my girl told me as I walked in the door, I nearly fell over from shock.

What? Whether you really followed him or not, he was an icon.

"American Girl," all by itself, guarantees Petty entry into my pantheon. Fast Times at Ridgemont High is THE film for high school stoners of a certain time period (like me), and "American Girl" is basically the centerpiece of the movie, and then Jonathan Demme utilized the very same song to great and unsettling effect in Silence of the Lambs, which instantly became one of my ten greatest movies upon first viewing.

Beyond that, I remember taping Damn the Torpedoes when that came out in 1979, and if you can believe it, Petty seemed like the new guard then, taking down Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and Black Oak Arkansas with his jangly Southern rock. And then I came across the "Listen to Her Heart" single in my old man's grocery bags of 45's from the radio stations he visited, and I was like, this guy is suddenly everywhere.

: Petty went from "new wave" to "classic rock" faster than anyone in music history, which only means that he drew on traditions without seeming like he did. It was a pretty neat trick. He was a little too MOR, a little too jangly, for me to stay with him, considering my forays into American hardcore, and speedmetal, but no matter: I understood and understand he was an icon, and it truly sucks he's no longer with us, whether I would have heard his next album or not.