Thread: appreciating Tom Petty

JimSheridan - 10/3/2017 at 02:31 AM

Tom Petty's career has been so astonishingly full of good music it's almost blinding. And I was blind to its excellence for a while.

I would compare it to how when I was a teen in the early 80s, I was so burned out on the 25 Greatest Radio Hits by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles that I really paid those bands no mind. It was not until some good friends played me the TWO HUNDRED OR SO amazing Stones songs that I really got into that band.

Ditto the Beatles.

So with Petty I had always heard and enjoyed the radio hits but didn't buy any albums. I heard the hits on the radio a zillion times. I loved his casual demeanor and the vivid character in his voice. I loved the Wilburys' humor. I thought his "solo" albums were amazing though the Jeff Lynne production was not my bag. Some songs like "Free Fallin" and "Won't Back Down" seemed so effortlessly simple that I brushed them off at first. I wasn't fully in.

I did see him in 1989 with the Replacements opening and he was great. I was in love with the Replacements, though, who threatened to overshadow him in my mind. He served up a staggering "Running Down a Dream" that did knock me out.

Luckily I caught him 20 years later when he double-billed with the Allmans - with the DTB opening! - about a decade ago. Jeez what a full night of music THAT was. Petty tore it up. I was sold. That was when I finally started getting his albums, and got a glimpse of all of those non-hits.

For my money, he was on a serious tear with his latest stuff - Hypnotic Eye, the Mudcrutch albums, Mojo, all great.

I still have not gotten all of his albums, not by a long shot. I have loads of enjoyment in front of me.

Is Petty one of the few who survived the 1980s curse? I tend to think of 1960s and 1970s rockers being really treated poorly by 1980s sound production and videos etc, but Petty might be one of the few that I don't cringe with their 1980s stuff.

I raise a glass to an incredibly consistent rocker, maybe the most consistently powerful American rockers. Has he outpaced Bruce? That's your call. Food for thought.

ABBDutchFan - 10/3/2017 at 12:37 PM

A very nice appreciation of Tom Petty. Thanks!

This sad, sad news really hit me hard. Took me completely by surprise. Slept poorly because when i went to bed last night the news of his passing was just being rectified in the media but predictions that he may die in the hours to come turned to be correct. Saw the confirmation of his passing early this morning when i "woke up".

Gonna watch "Running Down A Dream" (one of my favorite rock-docs eve made, if only the ABB.....) this afternoon and gonna spin a bunch of Tom Petty's CD's tonight. Probably multiple discs from his "Flashback" boxset.

Thanks for the tons of wonderful music!

islalala - 10/3/2017 at 12:51 PM

So grateful I finally saw him live this summer --- he played his greatest hits but it was still a terrific experience.

The guy carved out quite a musical feifdom for himself between all the hits, the collaborations ( Wilburys, etc. ), and the XM31 channel.

I typically average one purchase per every session of Buried Treasure I listen to. Tom had great taste!

Charlesinator - 10/3/2017 at 02:11 PM

I have three important memories concerning Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. First around 1979-80 I was a Southern Rock loving kid in college which was in the throes of Punk Rock/New Wave movement. I auditioned for a band that would become fairly popular at school. The band practiced at the bass players home he shared with his mom and like 100 cats. It literally reeked of cat piss. We jammed on the Ramones “I Wanna Be Sedated” and the Heartbreakers “I Need To Know” which I was surprised that I actually liked quite a bit. I didn’t get the gig, but they were impressed I knew the riff to Bowie’s “Rebel, Rebel.” Fast forward to early mid eighties a pig picking at friends trailor at the lake with a big bag of shrooms. Nobody bothered to change the record, TP and the HB’s Long After Dark which played continuously. Fast forward to early 2000, the ABB had a standing July 4th or thereabouts gig in Charlotte pretty much since the 89 reunion. Legendary shows ask anybody. Well they chose to end that tradition to open for TP during his RnT HOF induction year. I was royally pissed. Thanks to a friend I’ve come to appreciate Tom Petty, the Heartbreakers, their music, their vibe. RIP Tom Petty.

WarEagleRK - 10/3/2017 at 11:47 PM

I posted this elsewhere earlier today where someone posted a picture of the album "Hard Promises"...

This might be a bit rambling, but here goes...

This one hit me harder than any of the recent rock star deaths. Not that I wasn't a fan of Prince, Bowie, The Eagles, Chris Cornell or any of the others, but Tom Petty was something different. I am a huge Allman Brothers Band fan, but Gregg Allman's death was something that had been expected. Tom Petty's death floored me yesterday. He was a larger than life star, but seemed relatable. I'm 41 and I probably first heard "American Girl" when I was 6 or 7. Every since then his music was an almost daily part of my life.

His songs were amazing, and his singing and performance of those songs made you feel/know he believed every defiant word he wrote. There was humor, struggle, love, anger, loss and he delivered it in a way that you knew "it'll all work out". Tom Petty was real, his songs were honest and always with hidden depth. His songs at first seem very direct, but just beneath the surface of every song was an extra level that you had to listen to a few times to see where he was coming from or going. You don't just listen to his songs, you feel them, you've lived them and you live through them. Maybe my favorite line of his "Most things I worry about never happen anyway" sums up how silly most of life's worries really are.

As far as this particular album goes, it might be the one that best exemplifies his pride in his art. He wasn't going to let the label (and the industry) use his work as a way to rip off the fans. Nobody dug in like Petty, those defiant songs were believable because that's who he was. He fought for the things he wanted and he wasn't going to have his music compromised by anyone. "The Waiting" on this album is maybe my favorite Petty hit. Just a perfect song.

A fighter even at the very end. In his last day he still wasn't letting people write him off. He fought to write his final verse in life while others were rushing off to get the story first. In his final day he left us all with a valuable lesson in storytelling. Always be working for the truth in whatever you do.

He's got a room at the top of the world tonight, but unfortunately he ain't coming down.

BIGV - 10/4/2017 at 12:05 AM

The one and only time I ever saw Tom, don't usually like "Sing along" concerts, but this was a gas.

Thanks Mr. Petty, you are already missed....

adhill58 - 10/4/2017 at 01:45 PM

Petty shows were weird because you had a mix of people who would not be at any other shows together. I almost felt like I was selling myself out because he was so popular, and the shows were packed with people who loved "pop music". Yet there were the others who would have been seeing Petty in a bar in Toledo had he never made it big. Somehow everyone got what they wanted from the show. He usually played a lot of "hits", but other than that, I never had a gripe. They would stretch one or two songs out, which I loved, but not enough to lose the fans of three minute songs. It is very uncommon for an artist to have such a universal appeal.

Pretty crappy deal to lose him in this world.

sully - 10/4/2017 at 02:44 PM

can i ramble a bit?

petty - hit after hit, but the deep cuts were just as good, if not better
wildflowers - a masterpiece and imho, one of the best albums ever
he loved music. loved it. his xm radio show buried treasure was the best.
he had such a great sense of humor. his promos for buried treasure were hilarious and harmonious
he kept playing music! loved mudcrutch and played the small venues

i saw his deep cuts tour at the beacon - it was amazing.
he could really stretch out a jam - Good to Be King always clocked in around 12 mins. And it was memorizing.

he assembled an amazing band. benmont is amazing on key. campbell on guitar is a monster. steve on drums - he is one of the best.

he personified california to me. good weather, good tunes.

the traveling wilburys - wow. he was majorly responsible for them. find the story of him and harrison starting that up - i can't do it justice.

we lost a great musician. he had 15 - 20 more years. just sad.

adhill58 - 10/4/2017 at 03:33 PM

I have to second the last poster's opinion about Wildflowers. It was released in 1994. I am not sure that there has been a better album released since then. In my opinion, the closest thing to a dud on Wildflowers is "You Don't Know How It Feels", which was a huge hit. Every song all the way through that album is perfect. Also, the B-side of the aforementioned single, "Girl On LSD", was also a great funny song - although I can see why it was left off of the album.

I was in high school at the time, and, when I listen to that album now, I realize how lucky I was to have the freedom to burn one and listen to this with my closest friends.

Dylan's Time Out of Mind might be just as good from 1997. Obviously, I love the Hittin' the Note album from 2003. But, it would be hard to convince me that Wildflowers has been topped by any studio album since.

Obviously........... just my opinion.

Lee - 10/4/2017 at 03:57 PM


petty - hit after hit, but the deep cuts were just as good, if not better

Great observation sully. One of my favorite albums of his is Southern Accents. And while Rebels and Don't Come Around Here No More were the two hits, the rest of the album is REALLY good. I think there are several bands that you could say that of. Especially when we've heard a lot of songs so often.

jparadise - 10/4/2017 at 04:39 PM

I think it was Patterson Hood that said this (I could be wrong), but it summed up pretty much how I felt about Petty's work. "if he'd never written another song "Southern Accents" would be enough to make him one of the best ever".....fortunately, he did write all the others.....but still.

World lost a monster

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