Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tom Petty, RIP

It was easy to take Tom Petty for granted. He was the rock and roll equivalent of a Honda Accord -- always reliable, comfortable, capable. His songbook is one of the deepest of the rock era. He may not have had the moments of sheer brilliance that you get from Bruce Springsteen, or Prince, or Dylan, but he was consistently listenable. As word spread of his heart attack and death, with reporting retracted and then confirmed, the radio filled with his songs. And there were a lot of them. A few favorites, then -- first out of the gate, a well-executed emulation on the Byrds:


Then some straight-ahead rock and roll:


A collaboration with fellow titans Roy Orbison, Dylan, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne:


A moody reflection on madness and love presumably lost:


Another straight ahead rocker:


And finally, where we are:



You probably have your favorites, too. RIP.

UPDATE:  Mitch Berg offers a heartfelt tribute of his own.

5 comments:

R.A. Crankbait said...

There are some songs and some performers I "love" more than TP, but I can say I can't think of a TP song I didn't like. I painstakingly populated my iTunes account with rips from CDs, plus purchases of things that I thought I'd like to listen to or keep in a playlist. After a few years I did an audit of my tunes; the largest single contributor was Tom Petty.

Of course, with Petty you pretty much got every form of rock in one way or another. I wouldn't call him a "preservationist" as much as a "celebrationist". There was such joy in his replication of Ur-chords and rhythms.And not even Seger did a better job of describing the feeling of getting out on an open road with a good car, as he did in "Running Down A Dream".

Me and Del, and about a million others were singing, "Little Runaway".

R.A. Crankbait said...

There are some songs and some performers I "love" more than TP, but I can say I can't think of a TP song I didn't like. I painstakingly populated my iTunes account with rips from CDs, plus purchases of things that I thought I'd like to listen to or keep in a playlist. After a few years I did an audit of my tunes; the largest single contributor was Tom Petty.

Of course, with Petty you pretty much got every form of rock in one way or another. I wouldn't call him a "preservationist" as much as a "celebrationist". There was such joy in his replication of Ur-chords and rhythms.And not even Seger did a better job of describing the feeling of getting out on an open road with a good car, as he did in "Running Down A Dream".

Me and Del, and about a million others were singing, "Little Runaway".

Mr. D said...

I agree, R.A. I like everything about Tom Petty. The challenge in assessing his career and legacy is that he was consistently good, so picking out a high point is tough. I have the same problem when I think about Eddie Murray, the old Oriole first baseman. Can you pick out his best season?

I noticed Mitch featured three songs from Damn the Torpedoes, while I didn’t pick one for this piece. Yet I really love Damn the Torpedoes, as much as any album in Petty's discography. In recent years, I’ve listened to Wildflowers, which came out in ’94, as much or more than any other Petty album. I posted two songs from Wildflowers. Had Petty not met his maker at this moment and instead died 10 years in the future, I’d probably have selected different songs. Rock and roll is not a reliable genre, but Petty is probably the most reliable rock and roller of them all.

Gino said...

He was so consistent for so so long you can cedit him for providing the soundtrack to our generation.

R.A. Crankbait said...

With three of them now gone, perhaps we should start referring to them as "The Traveling Will-buries".