I don’t go to that many music concerts so I don’t have any really good Tom Petty stories, I pretty much only have this one:
A million years ago, when I was being sent out to Maryland for a month every couple of months, I had a favorite dinner place. It had a bar area large enough to hold a small band and they had live music from Thursday-Saturday. (Different groups!)
The only one I actively remember was the one guy who was there by himself with a six-string and he sang Tom Petty and Talking Heads and the like. I knew the words to every single song he played.
Tom Petty is one of those artists who spanned a lot of different eras. He was a bar band kinda guy with his band “The Epics”, signed his first recording contract with “Mudcrutch”, became a huge venue guy with the Heartbreakers, became a hit video guy on MTv, grew into the whole “elder statesman” thing with the Travelling Wilburys, and, well, just generally provides a cornerstone of “Classic Rock” that everybody knew was classic even when it was new stuff off of a new album.
The music itself was uncomplicated. Not to say that it’s particularly simple, per se… though when I look at the tabs for songs like American Girl or Refugee or Free Fallin’, I’m seeing a lot of G, A, and D with maybe the occasional Em thrown in there to spice it up… but to call it uncomplicated is not to denigrate it at all.
His songs were a warm blanket. Comfortable rock and roll that was easy to sing along to at the top of your lungs or hum along to while drumming the steering wheel or, yes, sitting in a strange restaurant a thousand miles from home and being glad that the guy playing was playing something that you knew and recognized and was familiar with.
I suppose if I had to pick a favorite album of his, it’d be Wildflowers but if I had to pick a favorite song, it’s be one of the songs that was written during that period but didn’t quite make it onto the album itself (which is too bad, because it’s a corker).
A little song called “Somewhere Under Heaven”. I listened to it three or four times today.
Thanks, Tom. Your songs made me feel like I was closer to home when I was far away from it.
So… what are you listening to?