Growing up in the 1980s in MTV America, Tom Petty might as well have been the Beatles. the music seeped into everything. It was on the TV, the radio. it was culturally important, it was brilliant, it was critically acclaimed. It was the music you wanted to hear in your car. It was the music you'd hear at a baseball game. It was the music you'd hear in a post office. The tri-colored designed scheme of the Full Moon Fever Album was as iconic as the three colors on the Rastafari flag. it was everywhere.
The pristine Jeff Lynne production of Full Moon Fever summed up an era in the best way. The kick and the snare were crisp as razor wire. The 12 string guitars rang out like a gorgeous wonder. Of course, Free Falling was the super smash, but Running Down A Dream… that riff, the lyric in the second verse—“the last three days the rain was unstoppable” is the first lyric I heard as a pre-teen that maybe made me understand what grown-up melancholy was.
As you grow older, you want your tastes to be a little hipper. music becomes your identity, a badge of distinction. it was then that I discovered “cool” Petty. I realized why Tom Petty was hands-down the American most embraced during the English punk era. as england rejected all bloated notions of arena rock, whether native bands like Led zeppelin or their american approximations, Tom Petty, though being from Gainesville, Florida couldn't have been anymore American in his own way, was seen as a kindred spirit to Elvis Costello, Nick lowe, the Sex Pistols, . This new generation of kids were shaking off the trends of the uninspired remains of what Rock & Roll had become. i discovered the songs… breakdown. You Got Lucky, American Girl, the songs that—as I got into my twenties—resonated with a rawness that spoke to me on another level.
Personally, as I got more and more into Hip Hop, R&B, Soul… I lost a little bit of touch with the kind of music, the guitar music Tom Petty represented. but six years ago, I stumbled across the Peter Bogdanovich Documentary one night. This incredible four hour documentary started to make me re-realize how much I really, really, really, really, really dug Tom Petty and how much his music was