Tom Petty Has Died

Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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13 Responses

  1. Doctor Jay says:

    Well some say life will beat you down
    Break your heart, steal your crown
    So I’ve started out for God knows where
    Guess I’ll know when I get there

    I’m learning to fly, around the clouds
    But what goes up must come down


  2. fillyjonk says:

    Man, I had forgotten how much I LOVED “Handle with Care.” It’s the perfect mix of sad and hopeful.Report

  3. Oscar Gordon says:

    The Traveling Wilbury’s was one of my favorite albums growing up. Too many greats are gone.

    Also, is it just me, or is Jeff Lynne one the most underappreciated singers out there?Report

  4. Maribou says:

    The summer I was 13 I helped my aunt out in her gift shop for $3.25/hr. The Traveling Wilburys was one of two cassettes she was inclined to play in the shop. No memory of what the other one was…. but those guys will stick with me forever. Even at thirteen I could tell how much fun they were having.

  5. Burt Likko says:

    I don’t know that it’s his creative best, but it is the distilled essence of his craft:

    Well, I won’t back down.
    No, I won’t back down.
    You can stand me up at the gates of hell,
    But I won’t back down
    No, I’ll stand my ground.
    Won’t be turned around.
    And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down:
    Gonna stand my ground.

    Simple, repetitive lyrics, strong harmonies. This makes the song easy and fun to sing along to. There’s a tight emotional focus in the lyrical message. It has a near-universal emotional resonance: we’ve all faced adversity and either stood up to it (or at least wished that we had). That elevates the song to “anthem” territory.

    And here’s the thing about Tom Petty: all of his work is like this. All of it. From the very beginning of his career — “Breakdown” on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released in 1976, to the very end — “U Get Me High” on Hypnotic Eye released in 2014. Is that blend of folk, blues, and southern rock, harmonies that are made to sing along with, and devil-may-care attitude a “formula?” Well, I don’t know about that — seems to me that it’s the core what people look to rock and roll music to get.

    Tom Petty’s music never fails to put a smile on your face and fun in your heart, even if only for a few moments and even when the world is trying to drag you down. RIP, Tom, and thank you for forty years of fun.Report

  6. Thank you for picking nice songs for me today.Report