Into the Great Wide Open
October 2, 2017 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Tom Petty has died at the age of 66 after suffering cardiac arrest.

Lead singer of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and the Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty has been actively writing, performing, acting, and being just an all-around awesome guy for over 40 years.
posted by Elly Vortex (364 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 1:17 PM on October 2


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posted by the webmistress at 1:17 PM on October 2


. Oh, this day.
posted by ceejaytee at 1:17 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


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Just saw him in concert twice this summer. I loved that guy 💔
posted by kiwi-epitome at 1:18 PM on October 2


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posted by miaou at 1:18 PM on October 2


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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:19 PM on October 2


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posted by DrAstroZoom at 1:19 PM on October 2


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It takes rhino skin
posted by riverlife at 1:20 PM on October 2


Damn, Elly, you beat me by 3 minutes. Bonus points for the same post title I was going to use. :-) Here's the post I was trying to make:

Thomas Earl Petty, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, Wilbury, and all-around rocker has passed away after being removed from life support following a massive heart attack last night. Petty had just wrapped up a four-month tour of the US with the Heartbreakers, his long-time band.

Petty's extensive career started in the mid-70s with his high school band, Mudcrutch. After Mudcrutch split up, he embarked on a solo career, drawing heavily from his Gainesville, Florida youth, Southern drawl, the jangly sounds of the Byrds and the country-rock stylings of the Eagles. As Petty's career evolved, he collaborated with Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell of Mudcrutch to form the Heartbreakers, and went on to release 13 albums with the Heartbreakers over the next 40 years. He also released 3 solo albums, and 2 albums as part of the Traveling Wilburys, a true supergroup, formed with Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and George Harrison.
posted by jferg at 1:20 PM on October 2 [47 favorites]


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posted by iamkimiam at 1:20 PM on October 2


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posted by InfidelZombie at 1:21 PM on October 2


i want to go back to bed.

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posted by entropicamericana at 1:22 PM on October 2 [15 favorites]


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posted by otherchaz at 1:22 PM on October 2


For posterity, a deleted double with some more links.
posted by cortex at 1:23 PM on October 2 [10 favorites]


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posted by jet_pack_in_a_can at 1:23 PM on October 2


That long-hoped-for Traveling Wilbury reunion just keeps becoming less and less likely.
posted by orange swan at 1:23 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


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posted by SansPoint at 1:23 PM on October 2


Soundtrack of my childhood. Mom is a huge fan and every road trip was Tom Petty singalongs. I called her in person to tell her because I know she doesn't watch the news, and she's heartbroken.
posted by catwoman429 at 1:23 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


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posted by 4ster at 1:24 PM on October 2



posted by MovableBookLady at 1:24 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


I was never a big fan in the sense that I never owned an album or saw him live but boy did he have some pretty kick-ass rock and roll songs. He also seemed like a genuinely decent sort of dude, like that kid from high school who was friends with the stoners, the jocks, and the nerds. Also, that Don't Come Around Here No More video was trippy as fuck.

RIP, good sir.
posted by bondcliff at 1:24 PM on October 2 [21 favorites]




Goodbye Tom, your music is like an old friend.

".. you belong among the wildflowers, you belong somewhere you feel free.."
posted by crayon at 1:24 PM on October 2 [11 favorites]


I can't today. I loved him so much. There are no words.
posted by silverstatue at 1:24 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


I am so fucking angry about this. I don't even have words.
posted by maxsparber at 1:25 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


"Free Falling" came out when I was in seventh grade and was a stone cold classic at all the dances. I may have even had my first dance to that song with the first boy who kissed me. RIP, man--thanks for the good music.

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posted by pxe2000 at 1:26 PM on October 2 [7 favorites]


The Webb Sisters were posting pics and videos from behind the scenes of Tom's last tour, which ended last week. Clearly, everyone was having a grand ol' time. So much energy and good vibes.

Godspeed, Tom. Say hi to Roy for us.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:26 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


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posted by mikelieman at 1:26 PM on October 2


From a Rolling Stone feature last December -
"I'm thinking it may be the last trip around the country," says Petty. "It's very likely we'll keep playing, but will we take on 50 shows in one tour? I don't think so. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was thinking this might be the last big one. We're all on the backside of our sixties. I have a granddaughter now I'd like to see as much as I can. I don't want to spend my life on the road. This tour will take me away for four months. With a little kid, that's a lot of time."
Their last show of that tour was a week ago.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:26 PM on October 2 [40 favorites]


Aw for fuck's fucking sake
posted by Beardman at 1:26 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Oh man. Back when I worked at Borders, the one and only CD I knew I could throw into the five-disc changer that controlled our in-store music (without offending either the easy listeners or punk rockers) was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits. It's been a while since I threw on some Petty, but I think I'll take a moment to do so at home tonight.

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posted by Strange Interlude at 1:26 PM on October 2 [8 favorites]


Heart = Broken.

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posted by yoga at 1:27 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


(Searches iTunes library for Tom Petty/TP & Heartbreakers/Traveling Wilburys tracks) (220 items) (Crap, crap, crap, arghh)

Off to listen to all of them.

Into the Great Wide Open...
posted by rory at 1:27 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


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I loved Tom Petty in High School, but hid my fandom during my late teens/early twenties when I got really into "underground" music. One day, I was riding in a car with some punk rock kids that I respected. A Tom Petty song came on the radio and they talked about how great he was. It made it ok for me to like Tom Petty again, and opened the door to eventually mostly not carrying what other people thought about my tastes.

Tom Petty ended up being one of the fandoms my now-wife and I had in common.
posted by drezdn at 1:27 PM on October 2 [26 favorites]


Dammit.

A Tom Petty song or two - and it varied - is on every single one of the road trip and "getting out in nature" mixes I've made over the years. He was just perfect for driving down the road with your windows open, an elbow out, hair blowing in the wind, going where you're going but not in too big of a hurry. His songs made me feel like I should be out there living.

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posted by barchan at 1:27 PM on October 2 [17 favorites]


That long-hoped-for Traveling Wilbury reunion just keeps becoming less and less likely.

It actually seems like they're getting the band back together, but the entrance fee is pretty steep.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:27 PM on October 2 [77 favorites]


First concert my husband and I went to together (9 years ago). He was absolutely wonderful, incredibly gracious. I Won't Back Down is my husband's anthem.
posted by kitcat at 1:27 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


This sucks. :-(
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posted by mosk at 1:28 PM on October 2


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posted by BekahVee at 1:28 PM on October 2


fuck
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:28 PM on October 2


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Lenny Kravitz (opening)
Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, NY - Feb 3, 1990
posted by mikelieman at 1:28 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Darn, I didn't see that one coming at all. Finally got a chance to see him a few years ago and he put on a great show as I expect he always did. The man put out great rock-n-rolls songs for most of my life without ever really fitting into any movement or genre.
posted by octothorpe at 1:28 PM on October 2


Godspeed, Tom. Say hi to Roy for me.

And George, too. Another voice of not just one generation, but many, silenced.

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posted by zombieflanders at 1:28 PM on October 2 [7 favorites]


He was just perfect for driving down the road with your windows open, an elbow, hair blowing in the wind, going where you're going but not in too big of a hurry.

I listened to a lot of Petty as I was driving from across country, relocating for a new job, last year.

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posted by dhens at 1:29 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


crayon:. Tom was one of my favorites, and his Free Falling tour was the first major concert I ever went to. That quote from Wildflowers was what we used on my dad's funeral cards.
posted by jferg at 1:29 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream is on Netflix. Going to watch it again this week.
posted by fings at 1:30 PM on October 2 [7 favorites]


Wildflowers is a gorgeous and amazing album.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:30 PM on October 2 [16 favorites]


not everyone knows that tom petty and the heartbreakers were the backing band for Johnny Cash's 1996 album Unchained, a good listen if you like johnny cash or tom petty or the heartbreaker or the many artists Cash covers on this

i'm listening to "rusty cage" and having a hard time with the fact that johnny, tom, and chris are all gone
posted by entropicamericana at 1:30 PM on October 2 [13 favorites]


Tom Petty was always on the radio when I was growing up. And his work with the Wilburys was astounding - for a kid who listened to a lot of Pantera, Anthrax and Slayer, the Wilburys found a comfortable home in my tape collection.

It's kind of a dumb song, but always been one of my favorites. Yer So Bad.

RIP, Tom. It's a world gone mad.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:30 PM on October 2 [10 favorites]


Oh man.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:30 PM on October 2


What a loss. He wrote so many great songs.

I was trying to come up with a list of the top played artists on classic rock radio at one point and most artists that get played a lot usually only have a few songs in the rotation. The Beatles and the Stones had more as would be expected. Bob Dylan too if you include covers. But Tom Petty has dozens of hits that get played regularly and they're all classics.
posted by downtohisturtles at 1:30 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


So weird. Was just listening to his "Wildflowers" album while I was cooking lunch. That album got me through a tough time in my life and I still have a great love of it. Goddamnit.

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posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:31 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


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posted by champagneminimalist at 1:31 PM on October 2


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posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:31 PM on October 2


Just going to share my favorite Petty deep cut from 1999's Echo - "Lonesome Sundown."

I have loved Tom Petty's music since I loved music.

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posted by Joey Michaels at 1:31 PM on October 2


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posted by /\/\/\/ at 1:31 PM on October 2


Man, I nearly threw my computer across the room when I read this...

My graduation gift to myself was tickets for me and my girlfriend to go see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on the Dogs With Wings Tour (the Wildflowers album tour). It was an amazing show, and his opener was Taj Mahal who came out for a few songs. I know the cliche is that the music you hear in high school (or immediately thereafter in my case) is the best music you'll ever hear, but that is still the concert I judge all others by.

I recently saw him in the Sound City documentary, and hearing his drawl and talk about striving toward perfection on Refugee made me remember my love of his music and go back on a deep dive through his catalog. So many great hits, so many good songs.

Goddamn.

"You belong among the wildflowers/You belong somewhere you feel free."

Whelp. It's really hard for me to not keep on quoting his songs here, which is a testament to his place in the American Songbook.

After a hard life, and finding his way clean, I hope he did. He sure did pay like a man who enjoyed every note.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:32 PM on October 2 [9 favorites]


Now I'm free....fallin.

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posted by jasper411 at 1:33 PM on October 2


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posted by greermahoney at 1:33 PM on October 2


What! Tom Petty's Wildflowers was the first album I learned to play note by note on the guitar. Christ I gasped outloud. I haven't really listened to him in years but this hit me more than I expected. Fuck.
posted by dis_integration at 1:34 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Too many .s

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posted by jabo at 1:35 PM on October 2


Tom Petty has always been the place where my family's musical interests and tastes converge. So many stretches of my life, from my youngest memories, were soundtracked by him. I broke the news in our family chat because it felt like a member of our clan had died and I didn't want them to read it scrolling down Facebook or as a snippet from a passing radio.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:35 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


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posted by Don Pepino at 1:35 PM on October 2


Damn. Damn, damn, damn. Horrible news. :(

I hope he went quickly and didn't suffer in any way.

Damn it. :(

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posted by zarq at 1:36 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


I have a full back tattoo. My tattoo artist and I are both fans of Tom Petty. I listened to nearly the entire catalog of Tom Petty while getting that tattoo. In 7th grade, I had an I <3 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sticker on my notebook. I can still visualize it.

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posted by Sophie1 at 1:36 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


I should have waited, jferg. You said it better than I could. Thank you.

I'm still just kind of numb. This one hits me harder than even Prince - and I'm from Minneapolis. I found out from my niece, who turns 17 tomorrow and has the musical taste of a Gen Xer. I am so crushed for her that there will be no new Tom Petty music, no more concerts, no more...cool.

That's what I'll miss about him. He lived through the 80's and never succumbed to whatever pressure to be 80's Raging Rock Star Cool. He just was what he was and that's about it. Road trips will never be the same. I'd pour one out for Tom Petty but he'd probably prefer a tnioj. Peace.
posted by Elly Vortex at 1:36 PM on October 2 [14 favorites]


Me, in my early thirties: Man, middle-aged white people really love getting drunk and dancing to American Girl.

Me, in my late thirties: Why did no one tell me what a great song American Girl is!?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:36 PM on October 2 [40 favorites]


I was never a big fan in the sense that I never owned an album or saw him live but boy did he have some pretty kick-ass rock and roll songs. He also seemed like a genuinely decent sort of dude, like that kid from high school who was friends with the stoners, the jocks, and the nerds. Also, that Don't Come Around Here No More video was trippy as fuck.


Same. Add to that, I loved "You don't know how it feels" and "Maryjanes Last Dance" so freaking much. Generation-defining music.
posted by greermahoney at 1:38 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


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posted by cwarmy at 1:38 PM on October 2


Alan Sepinwall: American Girl (is) just 1 amazing Petty track among many, but think of how versatile a song is that it can be used here (in The Sopranos), here (in The Silence of the Lambs), on Parks and Recreation, and a million other things, and always fit, and never feel stale?
posted by rewil at 1:38 PM on October 2 [9 favorites]


He was just perfect for driving down the road with your windows open, an elbow, hair blowing in the wind, going where you're going but not in too big of a hurry.

He even wrote a song about it.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:38 PM on October 2 [12 favorites]


A couple years ago, Tom and the Heartbreakers were rehearsing on one of the sound stages on the lot where I work. There were a lot of signs up - CLOSED SET, NO ACCESS, NO PICTURES - but there when the band was playing there was usually a cloud of employees around that stage that coincidentally happened to have nothing better to do at the moment. One evening, though, I was walking past the stage on the way to my car. It was probably 6ish, the lot was quiet, the stage was quiet, and very few people were around. As I'm heading past the stage, the door opens, and out comes Tom Petty.

Some people look very different on stage than they do in person. Take away the guitar, the lights, and they're... less, somehow. More human.

Tom Petty, in front of me, looked exactly as I expected him to. Take away the guitar, put him in an alley on a backlot, and he was still undeniably Tom Petty.

He look at me, gave a little wave, said "hey", and headed off somewhere. I listened to Wildflowers on the way home.

I bought a Telecaster at least partially because of Tom Petty.

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posted by curiousgene at 1:39 PM on October 2 [29 favorites]


"Running Down a Dream" has always been the song I use when I'm running and need to boost my energy and my pace. Never fails to keep me going for the rest of the run.

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posted by mogget at 1:39 PM on October 2 [12 favorites]


American Girl (is) just 1 amazing Petty track among many, but think of how versatile a song is that it can be

it even survived an everclear cover
posted by entropicamericana at 1:39 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


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posted by tdismukes at 1:39 PM on October 2


The first concert I ever went to as a teenager was a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert. My older cousin took me. It was a small venue and I recall Tom Petty being super chill and friendly to the crowd. Talking back and forth, sharing stories in between songs.

He played an extra 30 minute encore at the end of the night. I'll never forget what he said, “I like this crowd and I like this town, let's keep the night going.”

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posted by Fizz at 1:40 PM on October 2 [11 favorites]


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posted by demonic winged headgear at 1:41 PM on October 2


Died of a broken heart on a heartbreaking day.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:42 PM on October 2 [8 favorites]


Another Rolling Stone piece - hours after the Confederate flag came down in South Carolina, Tom Petty spoke about how foolish his use of it was on his 1985 tour. I will miss new music and new tours and seeing his wonderful smile on different tv programs, but mostly I'll miss his wonderful spirit and ability to grow and reflect.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:42 PM on October 2 [30 favorites]


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posted by get off of my cloud at 1:42 PM on October 2


Well, this month has certainly started poorly.

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posted by davebush at 1:43 PM on October 2


🎵
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:43 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]




A truly great musician. My favorite Tom Petty moment, though, is from a bit part he had in The Postman.

Postman: Hey, didn't you used to be somebody?
Tom Petty. Yeah. Used to be.

RIP.
posted by davelog at 1:43 PM on October 2 [14 favorites]


As a native Floridian growing up on MTV, Tom Petty has been as culturally influential to me as Disney and NASA. He was the oddball, an independent rocker who made it mainstream and kept his Florida soul.

For me no moment better captures his splendid originality, his laughing-with-you sense of humor, and his blessed talent than his and Prince's–and Steve Winwood's and Jeff Lynne's et al–big share on stage at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame performing George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

(And hearing Petty talk about that moment only adds to the wonder of it.)

66? Petty had another 20 good years left to go. My God, we are all crying here today but they are jamming in heaven tonight.

Oh yeah one last thing:
* x's 100
posted by Mike Mongo at 1:44 PM on October 2 [10 favorites]


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Gainesville's finest son. Keep trucking down 441, Tom.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 1:44 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


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I always think back to his performing"I won't back down" after 9/11.
posted by MrGuilt at 1:45 PM on October 2 [6 favorites]


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posted by suelac at 1:46 PM on October 2


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posted by strixus at 1:48 PM on October 2


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posted by pointystick at 1:51 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


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Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers was the first "grownup" concert I was allowed to go to by myself (well, without parental supervision) it was in 1976 or 77 at UC Davis in, if I remember correctly, a gym. So much fun!
posted by agatha_magatha at 1:52 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Summer of 89. My parents had decided that the house needed a deck, and that my brothers and I were to be a significant part of the labor. So, every Saturday morning, we hauled the tools into the backyard and set my parents' stereo speakers up in the windows. Tuned in to 92.3 K-ROCK and waited. Sure enough, within 3-4 songs, "Yer So Bad" came on. Every. Single. Weekend.

Couple of years later, freshman year of college. Amidst Nirvana and Pearl Jam, my roommate and I fell in love with the video to Into The Great Wide Open. To the point where a mythology was built - before heading out to take an exam, we'd flip on MTV. If Into The Great Wide open was playing, the exam would be fine. If not, well, perhaps we should have studied a bit more. It was called a Petty Check, and the ritual stuck with us for all 4 years of college.

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posted by neilbert at 1:52 PM on October 2 [28 favorites]


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posted by mygothlaundry at 1:53 PM on October 2


ok, so maybe someone can find a link for me. In the 1980s some time, on either HBO or MTV, they showed a Tom Petty concert. At one point during the concert he told the story about breaking his hand (in a fight, I think) and the doctor telling him he'd never play guitar again, to which he replied "fuck that." Then he went on to say "and I tried playing it, and it sounded like this..." and then he went into a song.

It was just a story that I remember and I'd like to see it again. I don't remember the song he went into and I don't know his stuff well enough so I'm having trouble finding it.

Anyone know what this might be?
posted by bondcliff at 1:53 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


I am just gutted. When I was a youngster, I babysat for his brother's kids. For my 14th birthday, they surprised me with a limo ride and backstage access to a a Tom Petty show. I felt so grown up, even though I was guarded vigilantly by brother's wife, who did yeomans work keeping roadies away from virgin. I still have the signed concert shirt. Years, and I mean years later, I ran into him at a comic con event, iirc, and he remembered me. I'm guessing his brother didn't spend a lot of time taking babysitters to concerts. Heh.

He was a good man, with a good heart, who made good music, and I'm just so sad that he's gone.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 1:53 PM on October 2 [36 favorites]


Just got the news. Damn. Petty was a great songwriter, and a great live performer.
I've got Change of Heart as loud as it can go.
This hurts.

Safe travels Tom.
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posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:53 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]




Like, I suppose, virtually everyone in America who grew up during or after the 70s, I always liked Tom Petty a lot. But then, about ten years back, the AV Club ran an "Inventory" article called 14 Classic Tom Petty Opening Lines, which really opened my eyes and got me thinking about his music more closely than I had previously.

And, it turned out, his music more than stood up to that kind of extended scrutiny. In particular, that article pointed out that Petty was virtually alone as a male songwriter in how frequently he attempted to write lyrics from a woman character's point of view. I also remember reading that article earlier this year, during all of the white supremacist bullshit that's been going on, about him apologizing for his use of the Confederate flag.

So, a vastly underrated lyricist with an ungodly knack for compelling hooks, and if you just sit down and start trying to write all the songs of his that you can remember, the list gets shockingly long very quickly.

I'm crushed.
posted by Ipsifendus at 1:53 PM on October 2 [24 favorites]


fuck today

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posted by photoslob at 1:54 PM on October 2 [6 favorites]


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posted by lalochezia at 1:55 PM on October 2


UPDATE "At this time, Tom's still clinging to life. A report that the LAPD confirmed the singer's death is inaccurate"
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:55 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


kee-rist.

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:(
posted by JohnFromGR at 1:55 PM on October 2


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His three greatest records (Full Moon Fever, Into the Great Wide Open, Wildflowers) are on constant rotation for my girls, now three years old. They call Runnin Down A Dream the Running Song, and when it's on they run around the living room giggling. Hell of a body of work he leaves us, from one hell of a guy.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:56 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


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posted by etc. at 1:57 PM on October 2


CBS News misreports death of Tom Petty [Death and Taxes]
“Tom Petty is not dead.

At 3:58 p.m. ET Monday, CBS News reported that they spoke to the Los Angeles Police Department about the 66-year-old’s condition, which Death and Taxes and several outlets then picked up, but moments ago, CBS deleted their tweet and removed any mention of their LAPD source from their news story — a story which is still live on their site and has “dead” in the headline without any correction or retraction.

Their story leads off with TMZ’s reporting from earlier this afternoon about Petty’s being hospitalized after being found unconscious and not breathing at his Malibu home.

CBS’s deletion of their tweet came after The Hollywood Reporter’s Ryan Parker spoke to a police source who said that they “have not commented” on the death of Petty.”

posted by Fizz at 1:57 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


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posted by cazoo at 1:57 PM on October 2


Oh my gosh... Tom's music has always been a go-to for me when I have been feeling down. He has been a constant companion on many late night drives.
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posted by NorthernAutumn at 1:57 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


I LOVE YOU FIZZ COME ON TOM WE PULLING FOR YOU
posted by Mike Mongo at 1:57 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Nobody wrote better first lines than him.

It was nearly summer, we sat on your roof, we smoked cigarettes & stared at the moon
We got something we both know it we don't talk to much about it
Honey don't walk out I'm too drunk to follow
Baby don't it feel like heaven right now, don't it feel like something from a dream
Good stuff, RIP
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:57 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Schroedinger’s Petty
posted by chavenet at 1:58 PM on October 2 [10 favorites]


?
posted by mrjohnmuller at 1:58 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


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That summer in 83 with that video for You Got Lucky... to a couple of years ago that one night listening to Refugee and realizing I didn't have to revel in my abandon. He wrote some mighty fine songs.
posted by Catblack at 1:59 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


Oof. This hits hard. Bless this man and his decades of music that falls entirely within the singalong range of the average person.

Shit, both Lucky and Luanne gone.
posted by apparently at 1:59 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


> In the 1980s some time, on either HBO or MTV, they showed a Tom Petty concert. At one point during the concert he told the story about breaking his hand

Bondcliff: This one? (it's a collage of different interviews about hurting his hand but ends with a "Behind the Music" profile.
posted by ardgedee at 2:00 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Well, if playing an album is a prayer, and teenage me is pretty sure it is, they're coming fast and furious out of my stereo right now. Godspeed.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 2:00 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


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Last Dance With Mary Jane is the best creeptastic music video.
posted by nicebookrack at 2:01 PM on October 2 [6 favorites]


Best thing about Petty's stuff is that everyone has a different "Tom Petty's Greatest Song is X," and they are all correct.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:01 PM on October 2 [27 favorites]


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posted by Iridic at 2:02 PM on October 2


As much as I hate TMZ, they always have the most accurate information when it comes to celebrities in hospitals.

Sources tell us at 10:30 Monday morning a chaplain was called to Tom's hospital room. We're told the family has a do not resuscitate order on Tom. The singer is not expected to live throughout the day, but he's still clinging to life. A report that the LAPD confirmed the singer's death is inaccurate -- the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. handled the emergency.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 2:02 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


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posted by dudemanlives at 2:02 PM on October 2


Okay so what we have right here now is what's called a "Schroedinger's Petty" situation.
posted by ardgedee at 2:02 PM on October 2 [14 favorites]


wtf is going on guys
posted by triggerfinger at 2:03 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


Lots of conflicting reports, as you'd expect on Twitter. Not sure I'd call TMZ a reliable source, but they're the ones reporting that it's not yet been confirmed.
posted by Fizz at 2:03 PM on October 2


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posted by Halloween Jack at 2:10 PM on October 2


"Don't Come Across Here No More"?
posted by Sand at 2:10 PM on October 2


Look, if he was out (cardiac arrest) for a significant period of time, then he's "left the building" whatever his heart, lungs, liver, etc think....

I stick by my earlier remarks.

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posted by mikelieman at 2:11 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


TMZ is craven and disgusting and unethical and without decorum, but I really can't remember the last time they were wrong about the specifics in situations like this.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 2:11 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Let us also not forget his run as Lucky in King of the Hill, who hit the jackpot when he slipped on the pee pee.
posted by rp at 2:14 PM on October 2 [7 favorites]


One of my few real life celebrity encounters. I was at Meyer The Hatter in New Orleans when he was headlining Jazz Fest. He waltzed in with his partner having fun trying on hats. We shared a mirror and told me “looks good.” This hat.

I was too cool for school to like him in the 80s but after middle age, I’ve been going through a thing with his music.

I bought a Telecaster at least partially because of Tom Petty.

Me too. And a rickenbacker.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:16 PM on October 2 [12 favorites]


I never had an album of his, but his music was the background of my child/teen hood. At my lunch table senior year, a kid in my class, Phu, LOVED Free Fallin’ and would play it on his Walkman with the volume up so we could all hear it in the headphones. Over and over for months and months. (No, I couldn’t move tables. These were my people.) I lost touch with Phu after graduation, but always thought of him when I heard that song.

Thanks for the music, Tom. And I hope Phu is okay today.
posted by kimberussell at 2:17 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


> UPDATE "At this time, Tom's still clinging to life. A report that the LAPD confirmed the singer's death is inaccurate"

That's somehow even worse. Safe passage, friend. It's time to go.
posted by davelog at 2:19 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


.
posted by tommasz at 2:20 PM on October 2


He wrote my high school sound track.

"What's changed these days is that the man who approaches me on the street is more or less thanking me for a body of work – the soundtrack to his life, as a lot of them say. And that's a wonderful feeling. It's all an artist can ask."--from the Rolling Stone obituary.
posted by mecran01 at 2:21 PM on October 2 [11 favorites]


Still remember finding my dad's Full Moon fever cassette and taking full possession of it. Was a fan for life after that.

., childhood
posted by resurrexit at 2:22 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


.
posted by chatelaine at 2:22 PM on October 2


waaaaay back in my youth, i saw a triple bill at RFK: petty, dylan, and the dead. it was 104 on the field. tom came out wearing black leather pants and black vest. and. they. killed. stole the show. i'll never forget the way he projected energy into that collosal stadium.

.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:22 PM on October 2 [12 favorites]


This year I had a mean case of the summertime blues, and it threw a pall over everthing I had planned (I'm a planner) to acheive over the year. Including enjoying an upcoming gig at Hyde Park with Tom freaking Petty and Stevie Goddamn Nicks. I arrived at the venue in a miserable mood, almost wanting to walk out before it even started.

Whatever magic music has, there was plenty of it that night. A mighty, mighty show that lifted my heart back up from where I'd let it fall, and I came away from it with a revived energy that got me through the rest of the season.

RIP, sir.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:22 PM on October 2 [20 favorites]


.
posted by aerotive at 2:22 PM on October 2


.
posted by gudrun at 2:23 PM on October 2


.
whatchuwant?
posted by NoMich at 2:24 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


It's mind boggling how many hits he had. I saw him in Golden Gate park about 10 years ago and watched him play for two hours, each song was a radio classic. I couldn't believe how many high quality rock songs he'd put out over the decades. Gonna miss him and his mischievous/stoned- eyes- behind- the- shades look.
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:25 PM on October 2 [6 favorites]


I wish it weren't true, but he's not "clinging to life" that's clickbait. He's completing the process of dying.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 2:26 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


.

Just Lucky and Otis Wilbury left then...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:27 PM on October 2




Are you saying that reports of his death have been exaggerated!?
posted by I-Write-Essays at 2:31 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]




Shit, The Traveling Wilburys has only 2 live members
posted by growabrain at 2:36 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


I could use a laugh right now, how about you?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:37 PM on October 2


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 and I won't back down

posted by chavenet at 2:37 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Tom Petty is dying and I don’t like this new future where the entire world experiences trauma at the same time. Let's all load him up on Spotify, yeah?
posted by Donald Trump Sex Nightmare at 2:39 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Ah shit. Saw some blurb on Facebook and hoped it was "fake news".

Damn.

.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:39 PM on October 2


As a crusty old punk I am not ashamed at all to admit I loved Tom Petty. He was the Joe Strummer of the American Clash writing workman-like songs about life and love and hurt. I got the news of his passing today while picking up some mushrooms at the local Whole Foods and I can say, along with the news from Vegas, that it was the first time I have ever broke down sobbing in a produce aisle. A dreadlocked stock kid just hugged me and we cried it out. What a world. Now off to home where I will play his music to my two young sons until they beg me to stop.
posted by extraheavymarcellus at 2:39 PM on October 2 [52 favorites]


God fucking damn it.

.
posted by Caduceus at 2:42 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


First of all, "Yer So Bad" is not a dumb song. It is a stellar song and fantastic Byrds homage.

Second, speaking of The Byrds, one of the great things Tom Petty did was cover "Feel a Whole Lot Better," which was great because it put a big chunk of royalties change in the pocket of the divine transcendent Gene Clark in 1989, when he sure as hell needed it. (Probably spent it mostly on drugs, but oh well.)

Tom Petty did a lot of wonderful things. Here are a few: "You Tell Me," "Angel Dream (No. 2) ," "Change of Heart."

I hope it was swift and quiet, and I hate so fucking much that his death will get swallowed up by today's horror.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:42 PM on October 2 [10 favorites]


Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others -- "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

For Prince, the initial attraction was the chance to share a stage with Tom Petty. "It was an honor to play with him," Prince said later. "'Free Fallin' is one of my favorite songs."

.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:45 PM on October 2 [25 favorites]


Ive loved him all my adult life, I'm not going to stop now.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:45 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


We’re at a burger place right now and the shop’s Pandora or Spotify playlist is roughly 50% Tom Petty and 50% bands that you would have no problem imagining on a double-bill with him.
posted by ardgedee at 2:47 PM on October 2




Oh, fuck this noise. God damn it.

.
posted by Kinbote at 2:49 PM on October 2


.
posted by SillyShepherd at 2:55 PM on October 2


.
posted by bjgeiger at 2:58 PM on October 2


.
posted by neutralmojo at 3:00 PM on October 2


My favourite moments of his were always “The Apartment Song”, and “I Won’t Back Down” - textbook examples of how to write a great rock ‘n’roll song.

Oh, and any time he sang with the Traveling Wilburys.

Rest In Peace, sir.
posted by tantrumthecat at 3:00 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Jesus fucking fuck.
posted by chococat at 3:01 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


The lyrics to Free Fallin' are absolutely perfect. That core couplet - "I'm free/free fallin'" - out does practically every other rock song in conveying a story, an emotional arc, and a character in three goddamn words.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 3:01 PM on October 2 [18 favorites]


PSA. It is totally acceptable to be sad about Tom Petty & outraged about mass shootings at the same time.
posted by Fizz at 3:02 PM on October 2 [12 favorites]


Well, dammit to hell.

Saw him in Charlotte in 1995 and in Raleigh in 2006. I still got my faded ticket stubs (the only I’ve ever kept) and I used to keep them in my wallet. I wanted to go see him again, for the third decade in a row, but I suppose it wasn’t meant to be - I figured they’d be like the Stones and just keep going.

I received a copy of Full Moon Fever in 1991 after listening to it on repeat from a boombox because the car we were in didn’t have a functioning tape deck. That particular weekend my uncle took me camping in the Rockies with his friends Jen and Bud-dog and we ate cold fried chicken and some okra. I was 8. Over the next few years, I wore that tape slam out. I have everything up to Lost Highway either on tape or CD or digitally; I always thought Southern Accents was a really underrated album. For the past two years or so, the Greatest Hits album hasn’t left the CD player in my truck.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 3:02 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


PSA. It is totally acceptable to be sad about Tom Petty & outraged about mass shootings at the same time.

Wait. Did someone here suggest otherwise? Because if so, that's some dumb shit.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:04 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


PSA. It is totally acceptable to be sad about Tom Petty & outraged about mass shootings at the same time.
posted by Fizz at 3:02 PM on October 2 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


This. I get so tired of the “b-b-but tragedy!” snark when a beloved musician passes on.
posted by tantrumthecat at 3:04 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Thank you for thousands of the happiest moments of my life, Tom. You belong somewhere you feel free.

.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:04 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


I feel like his lyrics could tip over into the banal and mechanical pretty easily, and yet...there's a lot of his songs in my iTunes library. I remember being immensely taken as an MTV-watching kid with the videos for both "Don't Come Around Here No More" and "You Got Lucky." Looking back, I can appreciate the skill it took to craft a persona that would allow him to sing a song like the latter, especially, and not come off as mean or entitled.

.
posted by praemunire at 3:04 PM on October 2


RIP an American.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:06 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Wait. Did someone here suggest otherwise? Because if so, that's some dumb shit.

Not here, but on various social media I've already seen some comments to that effect. Just a friendly reminder is why I made that comment.
posted by Fizz at 3:07 PM on October 2




One day, I was riding in a car with some punk rock kids that I respected. A Tom Petty song came on the radio and they talked about how great he was.

Petty really was that guy who was 100% unapologetically heartland-y, traditional, mainstream rock yet of such impeccable quality and so thoroughly himself that pretty much everyone in my circle(s) over 40 years genuinely liked and respected his music despite their otherwise freakish and widely diverging tastes.

And not in some bland, beige, meh, "Oh, all right, let's just eat at Ruby Tuesday then because even though nobody likes it, we can all tolerate it" compromise sort of way, either. More like a stalwart veteran character actor who always does a stand-up job in a non-flamboyant way.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:11 PM on October 2 [31 favorites]


.
posted by Kattullus at 3:13 PM on October 2


Reports of his death were premature. As of 6:23 Eastern, everyone's back-tracking. LAPD has apologized for reporting that Petty died. Now say he's “clinging to life.”

NY Times running a Reuters story that's based on TMZ.com. This is how news is reported these days.
posted by stargell at 3:26 PM on October 2 [6 favorites]


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Lenny Kravitz (opening)
Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, NY - Feb 3, 1990


Me too mikelieman! I hope you had better seats than I did. He was awesome then, and then again when I saw him on tour with Bob Dylan in the early aughts.

.
posted by lyssabee at 3:26 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Some time ago a friend was rifling though my industrial rock collection. Though the 30 or 40 so albums I had in that genre was my misplaced "Tom Petty's Greatest Hits". When my friend found it, he held it up with a confused look on his face.

"Shit!" I exclaimed. "I was looking for that."

I grabbed it from his hand, and threw it into my Mazda. I had a long road trip ahead and needed something for the diskman sticky-taped to my dash. My friend followed me out, and smart-ass-edly asked "Why the hell do you have a Tom Petty record?"

"Why DON'T you have a Tom Petty record?" I responded.
posted by The Power Nap at 3:26 PM on October 2 [22 favorites]


Just as an aside, is this the first time (or the first time in a long time) TMZ has gotten a death wrong?
posted by rhizome at 3:27 PM on October 2


Wow. He was my first arena concert back in the '80s and I've been a hardcore fan since.

For those of you who like to read, an old friend of mine, Warren Zanes, wrote Petty: The Biography and I devoured it over the summer. Just fucking amazing human being, that Tom.

The world is a lot darker today.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 3:31 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


TMZ never actually said he died. That was the assumption on their wording but they've been correct the whole time. He's been removed from life support. He has a DNR order. It's not an instantaneous process like they show on tv. I'll repeat it again because obit threads are long and this one is more confusing than usual, but if TMZ is correct about the details, he's not clinging to life, he's completing the process of dying.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 3:32 PM on October 2 [20 favorites]


Reports of his death were premature.

This fucking day. STOP DRAGGING MY HEART AROUND.
posted by The Tensor at 3:35 PM on October 2 [10 favorites]


TMZ never actually said he died.

CBS reported earlier that they had confirmed it. They didn't say with who, but...
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:35 PM on October 2


Now say he's “clinging to life.”

FIGHT
posted by corb at 3:36 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


I spent 2 months this spring on a musical love journey, driving from Vancouver to Florida, stopping at every recording studio, venue and record store that means something to me.

The last stop before turning back towards Vancouver was to sit in front of Tom's childhood home in Gainesville, listening to the first album, feeling the sunshine, then driving out on 441....

I had never seen him live, checked that off the list two weeks ago, he was magical.
posted by Cosine at 3:39 PM on October 2 [8 favorites]


As someone who grew up along and drove 441 more times than I could ever count - Petty's voice and that drawl is straight out of my childhood.

this day sucks.
posted by drewbage1847 at 3:42 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


.

Fuck this shitty fucking year.

[to be clear - my . represents a moment of silence for the guy, whatever his current status might be, and i hope like hell he pulls through so i can see him in concert someday]
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:43 PM on October 2


The day before my 15th birthday, my sister (I think) and my oldest brother took me to see the Rock 'N' Roll Caravan '87 Tour at the Met Center. (I believe my parents covered the tickets: it was the present I had asked for that year, and I knew my parents wouldn't go after my dad went to Bill Joel at Roy Wilkins with me some time before that.) The Del Fuegos and the Georgia Satellites opened for them. I loved it, and had a ball; my sister and brother both had fun, too. I wore the concert t-shirt for years.

Tom Petty is one of my very favorite performers; I read his biograpy about a year ago and it was simply *sad* to see a person so plagued with doubts and drugs.

Thanks for all the memories.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:44 PM on October 2


All reports cite TMZ as the source. And TMZ wasn't too much on the details, and they were pretty sketchy about it; they announced they said he was "brain dead so they pulled the plug." Classy, TMZ. Reeks of BS. No time of death, no death certificate had been signed, nothing.

At this time, CBS has talked to the LAPD who says they have no reports of his death but will investigate. Family reported supposedly upset that he is being reported as dead. CBS has retracted all reports of his death.

The only thing that has been confirmed is that he was taken to the hospital for Cardiac Arrest and was unconscious when paramedics arrived.
posted by peewinkle at 3:45 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Sorry, folks. My niece sent me the Spin article and I considered Spin to be a reputable source - especially since CBS and other sources was also reporting it. I am a bit mortified that I prematurely posted about Tom Petty's apotheosis. Yikes.
posted by Elly Vortex at 3:46 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


To be fair, TMZ reported it and all other sources just picked it up and ran with it.

Bad TMZ, bad.
posted by peewinkle at 3:50 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Oh, this is just shattering. Tom Petty has been part of the soundtrack of my life. "Won't Back Down" and/or "Learn to Fly" have been on pretty much every single "you can do it" motivational mix tape, mix CD, and playlist I've every made myself.

Just for fun, and because I think it's less likely to get linked, here's Zombie Zoo which is a quirky favorite of mine. Plus, when I was in high school and the local classic rock station would do a "classic rock A-Z" countdown, there would always be an argument about whether this song should be included as the final one (I can't remember what they ended with, but it wasn't this).
posted by TwoStride at 3:51 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


The shitty way this has all been reported/not actually confirmed/retracted/whatever is not your fault, Elly Vortex.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:52 PM on October 2 [21 favorites]


So many TP stories. I had a friend who moved to Gainsville Fla in the late 70s. He got me into Tom Petty. Saw him play bars and stadium shows. His music was the song book of many growing up in the late 70s and 80s. About 5 years ago, my son wanted to see a show at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. He was 15 or so and we passed SPAC on the way up to our cabin in the Adirondacks. One weekend in June, it worked out that there was a show on a Friday night on the way. He was really excited because he really wanted to see Tom Petty. We stopped on the way and scalped great seats. Actually, we brought some scalped seats then went to the box office and traded them in for 4th row center. The seats had just been released by the promoter.

Tom Petty put on a fantastic show. Watching him work, play the guitar and sing was really impressive to me. He was not like a lot of older acts mailing it in. I do not think he used any backing prerecorded tracks nor did he use autotune as far as I could tell. He smiled most of the show too. And he BLEW AWAY the opening act which (see below) was actually more famous and once more popular. Wasn't even close and if you asked me before the show who I preferred to see, it was the opening act.

(So the opening act definitely used autotune. They were really good too. My son, about 5 songs into the opening act wanted to know who these old guys harmonizing were. Ahem, Crosby, Stills and Nash I told him. He could not believe it. "They look so old and they are definitely using the autotune thing," he said. "Yes, but they were great once." Without missing a beat, he said, "Shoulda had Neil Young play too.")

Going back to the summer of 1986. Traveled to DC for the 4th of July and to see the Grateful Dead at RFK. It was hot as a fox in a forest fire. Two bands opened for the Dead. Bob Dylan, who, with all due respect to the man, sucked, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. TP was not exactly in the same genre as the Dead, but the fans warmed to him. At least I thought they did. Reading reviews later on, Petty was characterized as ok. I happen to think it was the heat that day. Anyone who played was going to be sluggish. The Dead waited a while to come out.

Anyway, I saw Tom in bars in Gainesville, in Stadium shows with 50-60 thousand and the inbetween shed show. No matter where I saw him, I thought he put on a terrific performance.


I won't Back Down. Johnny Cash cover.
posted by AugustWest at 3:56 PM on October 2 [15 favorites]


I have very little to add to all the excellent remembrances above, but I do feel the need to mention that “American Girl” is, for my money, the best Bo Diddley song that hardly sounds like a Bo Diddley song.
posted by Zonker at 3:57 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Damn it all to hell.

.
posted by mondo dentro at 4:02 PM on October 2


I just realized that, when he recorded "Wildflowers", Tom Petty was about the age I am now.

On a related note, I realized that what have I done with my life anyway.
posted by curiousgene at 4:03 PM on October 2 [12 favorites]


Probably, since i was a teenager, I would tell people that when I wear corduroy, I feel like Tom Petty. Something about ribbed fabric, him and rock n' roll.

Gosh, I remember two instances, one in 1993 and the other later in the '90's, when me and a good friend went on and on about Wildflowers and then Echo. I know his early stuff. Amazing, sure. But those two albums have been on my frequently played list now for, gosh, almost 20 something years. Wildflowers is so perfect to me.

For years, he has been on my Go-See-That-Person-In-Concert-List. Kids, work, Life. I never made it. It's fine. That's how things shake out. But this is the first real HIT I've taken in terms of all these awesome music stars dying. This one hits me. Now, I'm old and the rock n' roll that I listened to in cars on the way to parties is dying too.
posted by danep at 4:04 PM on October 2 [9 favorites]


.
posted by acb at 4:06 PM on October 2


TMZ didn't report it. They would have splashed dead all over the page if that was the info they got. They were crass and terrible, but all they've really said the whole time is that he's been removed from life support. Everyone else started confirming and reporting it, seemingly making up LAPD involvement? TMZ are the assholes, they always are, but it's CBS and the others who were bad at reporting this.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 4:10 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


ok, so maybe someone can find a link for me. In the 1980s some time, on either HBO or MTV, they showed a Tom Petty concert. At one point during the concert he told the story about breaking his hand (in a fight, I think) and the doctor telling him he'd never play guitar again, to which he replied "fuck that." Then he went on to say "and I tried playing it, and it sounded like this..." and then he went into a song.

It was just a story that I remember and I'd like to see it again. I don't remember the song he went into and I don't know his stuff well enough so I'm having trouble finding it.

Anyone know what this might be?


I can't find a link, but you're thinking of the 1985 concert film "Pack Up the Plantation - Live!", and the story you're describing is the lead-in to the song "The Waiting", which is the 5th song in the film.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:13 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Yes, pack up the plantation, live... I wore it out on my tape player.

My favorite line ever by Tom, during "breakdown" the crowd is singing along so loud the Tom says " you're gonna me outta the job". I swear, I say it all the time.

I'm shaken so much at his passing. Never felt this weird before, losing a person I never met, yet was part of me.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 4:28 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


Probably, since i was a teenager, I would tell people that when I wear corduroy, I feel like Tom Petty. Something about ribbed fabric, him and rock n' roll.
I'll be the boy in the corduroy pants
You be the girl at the high school dance
Run with me wherever I go
And just play dumb, whatever you know
posted by Sys Rq at 4:28 PM on October 2 [6 favorites]


"The Apartment Song" made me want to learn to play guitar and smoke enough to sound like Stevie Nicks (I never did accomplish the latter). If you haven't heard the boxset "Playback" do yourself a favor and give it a listen.

.
posted by amelliferae at 4:29 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


1979. I found a copy of their first album in a bargain bin at a local record store, and thought the cover looked cool. Took it home and found my new favorite band.

They were always my favorite band.
posted by bradth27 at 4:39 PM on October 2 [8 favorites]


Oh, and twisting the dagger in my heart even more is that while channel surfing the other day, I caught some random Bob Dylan tribute from several years back and there was Tom Petty, having a ball, and I thought, "wow, I'm so glad he's still with us, I should really see if he's touring." Sob. Sigh.


.
posted by TwoStride at 4:43 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


In the summer of 1998, I made a whole CD out of one the Angel Dream instrumentals on the She's The One soundtrack. Literally, 45 minutes of a repeating, haunting, beautiful instrumental in a youthful summer surrounds by confusing, adolescent love, growing up and working hard.

I went to Tom Petty all the time although never felt like I did. For me, it was like there were two Petty's: the chart single hit maker that was so distant and the late '90s whole album GOD that I yearned to hear more of all the time.
posted by danep at 4:57 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


American Girl is one of my favorite songs. I only saw him play once (Google says it's the 1980 Damn The Torpedos tour at the Forum in L.A) and didn't follow much after the Free Fallin era, but my love has never been ironic or nostalgic. I hope the undignified back and forth in the media about his death ends soon.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:02 PM on October 2 [6 favorites]


Free fallin'




.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:04 PM on October 2


My favorite thing about Tom Petty is the Mudcrutch revival. I just find the idea of him putting the old bar band back together incredibly endearing.
posted by davebush at 5:05 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Is there hope? Is he still on life support?
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:08 PM on October 2


Hi mods, he's not dead, is it possible to edit the post to correct it?
posted by rednikki at 5:11 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


I was dumb and had bad taste in music in the 80's and thought Tom Petty's songs were simple and kinda boring. But wow do they have more to them than I was able to get at the time and wow have they worn so much better than so much other music from back then. He's always been on the radio for as long as I can remember and I can't think of a single song of his that I'm tired of hearing.
posted by straight at 5:12 PM on October 2 [7 favorites]


Except that the link says he's still alive.
posted by Pararrayos at 5:27 PM on October 2


[Hi - we don't normally correct posts in this type of situation; the original reporting being wrong is part of the story and people can read the thread to catch up. If I'm understanding right that he's been removed from life support and is expected to pass away.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:28 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


If he lives, we can just change the body of the post a little, remove all the periods in comments, and it'll just be a TP appreciation thread.
posted by rhizome at 5:29 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


.
posted by grippycat at 5:30 PM on October 2


rhizome: Tom Petty and Garry Shandling were friends

I'm only halfway through, but this is great, thanks.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:37 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Unioncat at 5:41 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Here's hoping for good news. Launched a playlist to mourn and remember and this came up first (21 second mark).
posted by hal9k at 5:51 PM on October 2


So the opening act definitely used autotune. ... Crosby, Stills and Nash

well, good
posted by thelonius at 5:54 PM on October 2


Writing great simple songs is much, much harder than it sounds. Saw him a few years back with Steve Winwood opening and it was a fantastic show. As an aside, Winwood had a couple of band members who were kind of overplaying jazz dudes but when Stevie came out from behind the organ to play lead guitar a bit I was like ... oh shit! He's a way better guitar player than the guitar player.

Mr. Petty, I'll always love listening to your songs.
posted by freecellwizard at 5:54 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


ok, so maybe someone can find a link for me. In the 1980s some time, on either HBO or MTV, they showed a Tom Petty concert. At one point during the concert he told the story about breaking his hand (in a fight, I think) and the doctor telling him he'd never play guitar again, to which he replied "fuck that." Then he went on to say "and I tried playing it, and it sounded like this..." and then he went into a song.

It was just a story that I remember and I'd like to see it again. I don't remember the song he went into and I don't know his stuff well enough so I'm having trouble finding it.

Anyone know what this might be?


Okay, I kept digging on youtube and found the story (and the song that it segues into): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpG09PenZt8
posted by 23skidoo at 6:00 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


I wasn't a huge fan of his, but his work on Johnny Cash's American sessions was simply outstanding.

He will be missed.

.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:13 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


"Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some."

Best lyric ever.
posted by ian1977 at 6:15 PM on October 2 [14 favorites]


He was tuned into all of us.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 6:27 PM on October 2


I just want to take tomorrow off to stay home and listen to Tom Petty.
posted by dilettante at 6:27 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


.

Goddammit.
posted by droplet at 6:39 PM on October 2


My wife and I always said, in respect to music and what to play for a mixed crowd, that nobody doesn't like Tom Petty.
posted by yhbc at 6:45 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Writing great simple songs is much, much harder than it sounds.

It really is. There's nothing too hard about cranking out a forgettable, pretty, formulaic songs by following chord progression rules. To write a simple song you actually have to have a strong idea.
posted by thelonius at 6:46 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Seen on Twitter: "Tom Petty reported dead then not dead, which makes sense because you can stand him up at the gates of hell and he won't back down."
posted by orange swan at 6:48 PM on October 2 [43 favorites]


As of 4 hours ago, his daughter was pretty pissed off at the inaccurate journalism.
posted by XtinaS at 6:51 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


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posted by Emmy Noether at 6:58 PM on October 2


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posted by NoraCharles at 7:03 PM on October 2


GUYS HE ISN'T DEAD YET
posted by murphy slaw at 7:04 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Oh man, I am going to hope beyond hope that he's going to be all right.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:10 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


"Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some."

Best lyric ever.


I was rather ambivalent toward Mr. Petty through much of the early part of his career. Too synonymous with the corporate rock radio that I so desperately loathed as the 1970s stumbled into the 1980s. I guess I really didn't mind his stuff so much as hated the company he was sharing those airwaves with, but either way, I finally just signed off at some point ...

Until he hooked up with Bob Dylan in the mid-80s for what, at the time, was a big deal tour. Dylan himself was hardly at a personal peak and indeed was often the worst part of what was going on, but it was all rendered rather sufferable by how Petty (and his Heartbreakers) were tearing through the songs. But even better was when Dylan took a break, and it was just straight up Petty and band ... with Refugee in particular knocking me over. A song I'd heard ten thousand times but never really listened to. Beautiful and sharp and true ...

Total respect after that. Or as somebody put it over on Facebook, good enough for the Man in Black, good enough for me.

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posted by philip-random at 7:10 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


"Leather And Lace" is pretty and all, but Stop Draggin' My Heart Around just works really well.

Even this year.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:29 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Kinda morbid I know, but I just had the image of Casey Kasem narrating this story.
posted by rhizome at 7:31 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


I think it was maybe around the age of nine that it became pretty clear to me that what music you listened to was an essential component of your public identity, and therefore an important commodity in the market of peer approval. I didn't up grow poor, but definitely cash-constrained enough that (but for birthdays and Christmas) my mom or my uncle or my grandpa buying CDs for me was out of the question. They didn't even really buy CDs for themselves very much at that point, now that I think about it, considering that everything in their collection was at least two years old when I first started digging through it in the hopes of constructing an acceptable personality. It's funny, and probably not at all accidental in the scheme of things, how much this process depends on spending money.

Anyway, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Into the Great Wide Open didn't do me a whole lot of favors in my quest to be cool, or at least enough to not be a target, but I really liked it. I liked it enough to listen to it on the bus instead of something that would actually earn me points (mostly Boyz 2 Men's II at the time, which I did actually like, but which of course was also mixed up in feelings of social inadequacy), which was an investment considering that I'd have to sneak into my uncle's room and memorize the position of his busted old Discman before stealing it for the day to avoid detection later. Listening to it now, I mostly feel the same way I did then. I put it on, and the part of me that really feels music just says, yeah, this is nice. The music feels good, and the words feel good, and it fulfills so perfectly that function of music that is so basic but also so difficult to do well, which is to make everyone in earshot just sort of lean back and smile and say "yeah." I'm really impressed at his level of craft in that regard, considering that that sensation hasn't changed at all for me in the intervening two decades.

It's funny, I was actually thinking about Tom Petty yesterday for the first time in a while while I watched the scene from The Sopranos where "Free Fallin'" is playing in the car when they pick up Big Pussy for a boat ride. There's something really remarkable about a perfect alignment in a person between what they're good at and what they want to do. It seems like Tom Petty has always wanted to write tight, simple and affecting songs, and he is very good at that. I think that's why you see so many positive accounts in this thread from people who you wouldn't maybe guess have an abiding affection for Tom Petty: there's something transcendental about that type of ideal match between ambition and ability, like an oak perfectly situated in a field of high grass.
posted by invitapriore at 7:31 PM on October 2 [13 favorites]


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posted by drnick at 7:37 PM on October 2


When I was in college, I worked at a rock club in New Haven called Toad's Place. It often attracted pretty big stars; it was strategically located halfway between NYC and Boston, Providence and Hartford and had a decent sound board. Anyway, in November, 1979 Tom Petty played and it was my turn to serve the band in what passed for a green room: it was a small, grungy space. Everyone in the band was professional and friendly (unlike many acts). But the point of the story is that about a week later I was home for Thanksgiving and saw Tom Petty in Harvard Square waiting to cross Brattle Street. I looked at him, and he looked at me, smiled, and said "Hey, Carmicha, how ya doing?" And we had a thirty second conversation about why we were both in Cambridge. It blew my mind that he would remember a lowly waitress, out of context and ten days later, address me by name and take some time to be kind to me. So I always assumed he was a wonderful person, as well as one of my favorite musicians. Rest In Peace.
posted by carmicha at 7:41 PM on October 2 [94 favorites]


Florida Man Done Good
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:45 PM on October 2 [12 favorites]


Oh man, I am going to hope beyond hope that he's going to be all right.

I know it doesn't look great, but I hope he wakes up and is like, "Man, what the fuck."
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:46 PM on October 2 [17 favorites]


I saw Tom Petty in July in Boston. He was an ascended master. I love him and his music so fucking much. He's a big reason I'm a rock musician. My band stopped our rehearsal when we got the news today and we worked up "Running down a dream" in tribute on the spot for our next gig.

Please please let Tom be ok.
posted by spitbull at 7:54 PM on October 2 [5 favorites]


Okay, I kept digging on youtube and found the story (and the song that it segues into):

That's it! It's not a super great story or anything, I just had a vague memory of watching it on TV when I was maybe 13 and it's always stuck with me for some reason.
posted by bondcliff at 7:59 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Hey Carmicha I remember Toad's Place and was in Cambridge around the same time as you, I think.


WPLR Rocks Yours in Quad!
posted by spitbull at 8:09 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


but I hope he wakes up and is like, "Man, what the fuck."

and at some point stumbles upon this thread. One can imagine the wry smirk ...
posted by philip-random at 8:19 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


I wish I had gotten to see him live.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:31 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


I've been listening to one of the many Tom Petty playlists on Spotify and having one of those moments when you realize how consistently, steadily, quietly brilliant somebody has been for ages. I grew up with his music as part of my sonic environment and when one of his songs came on it was always "ooh, nice, Tom Petty."

Feeling pretty weepy. His lyrics are so clear and evocative, and although I'm not overall fond of tenor voices, his just goes straight to my heart through the sternum.

It's impossible to choose a favorite lyric. This one! Wait, no, this one. Wait… Oh, and this!
posted by Lexica at 8:46 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


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posted by Samuel Farrow at 8:47 PM on October 2


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posted by Seekerofsplendor at 8:54 PM on October 2


It seems to be official now.

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posted by rewil at 9:09 PM on October 2


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posted by tonycpsu at 9:13 PM on October 2


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posted by Windopaene at 9:17 PM on October 2


Wapo says it's confirmed.

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posted by greermahoney at 9:19 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


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posted by spinifex23 at 9:19 PM on October 2


I didn't think it would feel this different. :(
posted by Room 641-A at 9:20 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


> Going back to the summer of 1986. Traveled to DC for the 4th of July and to see the Grateful Dead at RFK. It was hot as a fox in a forest fire. Two bands opened for the Dead. Bob Dylan, who, with all due respect to the man, sucked, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

I was also at that show! With my sister and her best friend (both in high school -- I was the "adult" who took them.)

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posted by gingerbeer at 9:21 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


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posted by obloquy at 9:24 PM on October 2


Damn.

I'd never seen him and was out of town when they played Red Rocks earlier this year. Suppose I'll always regret that one.

So many great songs.

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posted by brennen at 9:27 PM on October 2


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posted by joedan at 9:29 PM on October 2


I know we've lost some more transcendent stars in recent years but this one is just shredding me.

I found Tom Petty kinda by accident, when Hard Promises came out in my very early teens. I went back, found Damn the Torpedoes and literally wore out the vinyl. I'm getting teary already so I'll bail out by just saying that record helped teenage me figure out life -- no, not figure it out, but let me know that somebody else had been there and understood. Which is more important.

Oh man, that writing. As others have said, too many to choose, so I'll toss in one that now, as a writer, I've come to appreciate more and more. Apologies if my memory is imperfect:

two cars parked on the overpass
rocks hit the water like broken glass
I should have known right then it was too good to last
god it's such a drag when you're living in the past...


One last memory. in college I chanced into having a roomie from Florida, and Petty became our soundtrack. We took a minor road trip with our girlfriends to see him in 1987 in Saratoga. We were out on the lawn and it poured, just absolute torrents of rain, and my denim jacket must have weighed 40 pounds when it was over. Petty was under the covered part of the amphitheater, of course, but he dedicated one of the songs - maybe "Don't Do Me Like That," but it's hazy - to all of us out in the rain. We all danced and laughed and loved it all the more. I've seen ~200 bands but that show makes my all-time top 10.

I tend to play just his pre-1990 stuff, but appreciate how he has kept finding a sound and voice. And a musician friend recently gave me the new-ish Mudcrutch, so I still have something to look forward to.

Thanks to all of you for sharing memories, which are way cooler than mine. (I'm gonna run out of likes tonight!) Again it helps to know someone else out there understands.
posted by martin q blank at 9:33 PM on October 2 [9 favorites]


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posted by wallabear at 9:35 PM on October 2


I've never really been into Tom Petty. He was one of those dudes who just felt like he had always been there and would always be there. Tonight I put on a Spotify playlist of his songs and find myself reminded "Oh that's a great song. Oh man that's a good one. Wow that's another good one." Just one after another after another. I'm sorry he's gone, I wish I had gotten more into his stuff while he was here.

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posted by supercrayon at 9:42 PM on October 2 [7 favorites]


Oh man. I really wasn't expecting this so soon.

A couple of weeks ago on a beautiful autumn day I was walking down a deserted side street in my town. A guy was walking on the other side of the street with, oddly, a CD player in his backpack, and the song emanating from the backpack was "Free Fallin'." I thought about how well it had stood up after all these years.

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posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:45 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


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posted by Silverstone at 9:54 PM on October 2


You know that feeling you get when you know you are in exactly the right place doing exactly what you should be? You get maybe a handful of those moments in your life; sublime in the moment and then they are gone. I had one of those dancing to "Free Fallin'" with a woman whose intoxicating presence filled me with angry joy. We moved in together shortly thereafter. We didn't last long – nothing like that could – but if I had to sum up how I felt toward her when our end came, I couldn't do much better than, "you belong somewhere you feel free."

Into the great wide open he goes, leaving us all here.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:02 PM on October 2 [10 favorites]


Fuck.

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posted by tzikeh at 10:10 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


it was me and my sidekick
he was drunk, i was sick
we were caught up in a barroom fight
till an indian shot out the light

i'm so tired of being tired
sure as night will follow day
most things i worry bout
never happen anyway


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posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 10:16 PM on October 2


shit
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:21 PM on October 2


. .
posted by cookie-k at 10:25 PM on October 2


I had hoped my premature wish for eternal rest would prove unnecessary, but alas.

If you've not seen it I'd like to wholeheartedly recommend the documentary Runnin' Down a Dream [Netflix]. Yes it's four hours long but I after watching it I found I wished it were longer.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:28 PM on October 2


Yup. Shit.

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posted by Sys Rq at 10:39 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


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posted by bryon at 11:11 PM on October 2


I made a sad country version of "Walls" because I couldn't sleep. I loved him so much.

Posted for a limited time.
https://youtu.be/jPY-Pj4Q74k
posted by spitbull at 11:18 PM on October 2 [22 favorites]


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posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:19 PM on October 2


Nice video spitbull.

I always loved Tom Petty, even though I haven't really listened to his music in a long time. In fact I recently was talking to a colleague about him and wondered what he was doing. A quick googling showed that he had been doing a lot, actually. So sad that he didn't get to spend more time with his granddaughter, but I'm sure that when she is older his music will make her happy the way it made so many other people happy.

My Tom Petty experience was August 21, 1995 at the Camden Waterfront (then the Blockbuster Arena if you can believe that!). It rained like crazy, but we were young and he was awesome. Man, this one hit me harder than I would have expected.
posted by Literaryhero at 12:08 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]


And to wax intellectual a bit, because I've gone from shocked sadness to thinking about why I am so sad, I will say that for me personally Tom was perpetually slightly "underrated" even as he was always admired and appreciated, in the most general sense of the term, by critics and fans and even fellow musicians alike, and it will now take his death to make his legacy in the rock canon clear and right up near the pinnacle of his era and genre. For me it hasn't taken Tom's passing to consider him the equal of Springsteen and Dylan, his obvious peer group, at all. Unlike them he stayed close to the bar band rock genre throughout his career, with the Heartbreakers easily as solid and compelling as a unit as The Band or the E Street Band, and an especially strong guitar line with Petty himself being more of a lead guitarist than Dylan or Springsteen (Springsteen has the chops, he just doesn't vary or expand his approach to the Telecaster much and went way deeper into acoustic guitar exploration. Dylan has chops on acoustic, but going electric was a bad idea musically if not culturally for him IMHO.) Petty not only had guitar chops, he had a wide-ranging ear for a wide spectrum of roots/pop music guitar tones and styles, and worked so well with Mike Campbell to make his songs the most guitar-driven of the genre short of blues and southern rock (which is where he grabbed this guitar -forward aesthetic, and likewise from country. Florida played a role in his sound.)

As a songwriter? There isn't as much great work as Springsteen or Dylan, but what there is is fucking good shit, crafted and passionate and original and poetic and perfectly suited to Tom's weedy, snarly voice. You only have to write one or two songs as good and iconic of a generation as his ten best to be a top-level major figure in rock history.

But my view of him goes beyond the stats. I also think he painted a very different American landscape than that painted by Dylan and Springsteen (who in turn differ from each other). Petty's was more alienated despite physical comfort, more dark despite his usual sunny Florida/California mise en scene. His characters were more partial and fragmented. His body of work captured drug culture in particular with unique focus. His love songs were rarely hackneyed or misogynist (Breakdown a bit) and his female characters were really complex for macho rock and roll songs. One could fault the whiteness of his imaginary worlds, but one could also say that of Springsteen before Ghost of Tom Joad, and one could argue there's a certain ethnographic honesty about it that is preferable to the minstrelsy of race and poverty alike in so much rock of that era.

Mostly like many above, and perhaps because I too am a product of white middle class 70s suburbia in which playing a guitar was how I made sense of it all, his songs are personal for me, they evoke specific memories of particular people and places, they draw me into the world he paints. One can ask no more of an artist or any work of art. I find myself more upset about this than any recent death of a musical artist, especially because I had so recently seen him play so vibrantly and joyously.

Sorry for the multiple comments.
posted by spitbull at 12:23 AM on October 3 [32 favorites]


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posted by Faintdreams at 1:37 AM on October 3


Lovely profile here
posted by Mickiann at 1:58 AM on October 3


Breakdown remains one of my favourite songs and I'm sorry it took his death to remind me of it. RIP, Tom.
posted by h00py at 2:03 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


Lovely profile here

Amazing revelation in that article about She's the One:

"Never listened to it. I hated that record – the whole idea of it offended me. I only did it because I didn't have anything else to do. I was single and living on my own, and this idea came up, and I liked Ed and thought he was pretty sharp, so I wrote him a couple of songs. And then it just kept mushrooming into, 'Do the whole thing.' So I took some stuff I hadn't used in Wildflowers, really crummy versions, badly mixed, and put them on there. It was terrible, really. I'm disappointed I did that."

Huh. For me, it's the last great record of his eight-year peak. I've never even seen the movie, but it's one of my favourite soundtracks.
posted by rory at 2:25 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]



posted by Gelatin at 2:27 AM on October 3


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posted by heatvision at 3:08 AM on October 3


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posted by eclectist at 3:08 AM on October 3


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posted by waitingtoderail at 3:14 AM on October 3


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posted by dannyboybell at 3:27 AM on October 3


I can't believe he died twice and Nugent is still with us. Rest easy, man.

🎶
posted by pxe2000 at 3:31 AM on October 3 [19 favorites]


I can't believe he died twice and Nugent is still with us.

Nugent probably quit smoking
posted by thelonius at 3:46 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


Free Fallin' has the best deconstructed rock guitar solo in the history of rock. He took the facemelt guitar solo of the time, worked it back to its essential roots, and presented us with 3 seconds of lilting heartbreak that melts back into the chorus. I've argued with people over the years who say "no, it's a bridge, not a solo" but I'll be damned its where the solo goes and he just up and fucked off the rock wankerism and dropped...what 5 tired notes that just SLAYS YOU...that's not what a bridge does that's a damn solo!

The first time I heard that song and that "here is how you slay with less" solo my music game was changed, and to this day every time I hear the song I respect the master at his work and give my regards for the musical education he gave me.
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:50 AM on October 3 [17 favorites]


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posted by blankspot at 5:14 AM on October 3


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posted by double bubble at 5:31 AM on October 3


When I was a teenager, I thought of Tom Petty as the guy with pretty cool videos, and songs I didn't hate between songs I wanted to hear on MTV. I didn't dislike them, like I did so many other filler ones. As I've gotten older, wiser, and seen all those songs I wanted to listen to age badly, and Mr Petty's didn't, I feel like I really did got lucky.

Learning what an awesome guy he actually was is totally unsurprising for some reason. Godspeed, Mr. Petty. Thanks.

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posted by DigDoug at 5:32 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


I recorded a library CD of the Greatest Hits album to cassette, and took it with me when my family took a trip to California. It was the very best soundtrack for driving through Los Angeles.

My first real concert was Tom Petty, in 1997. I still have the ticket stub. (That concert was also the first time I smelled pot. I was a sheltered kid.)

Wildflowers got me through my first divorce. I love that album.

The last happy memory I have of my ex (of the currently ongoing second divorce) was sitting at home, eating pizza, and listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

You got lucky, babe

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posted by minsies at 5:43 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


My dad was a lifelong Tom Petty fan who made me listen to his albums all the time when I was a kid. For whatever reason, there were some artists i just didn't 'get' when I was young. Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, most jazz. When I was about 14, I started listening to "Mary Jane's Last Dance" a lot. Then the rest of his catalogue. And I finally got it.
posted by rachaelfaith at 5:51 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


APologies if posted upthread, but damn this video w/ Petty & Gary Shandling published last December is....real, fun, sad, and just candid.
posted by yoga at 6:15 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


Aaaaand screw The NY Times for headlining Tom's obituary with "A staple of rock radio."

Yeah, and Beethoven was a composer of popular symphonies too.

Ben Yakas in LAist gets it a lot better.
posted by spitbull at 6:28 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


Not too many major label artists made it through the 80's intact. Much less with a catalog of chestnuts. Credit where due.

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posted by petebest at 6:29 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]


It's one of the biggest cliches of all cliches, but I grew up in a backwater, and I always felt like Tom Petty could've been one of my friends. He heard us. He got us.

Oh, I'm lost in a one story town
Where everything's close to the ground
Yeah the same shit goes down
Nothing turns around
It's a one story town


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posted by virago at 6:32 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


spitbull: I made a sad country version of "Walls" because I couldn't sleep. I loved him so much.

That was really great, man.

I hope everyone in this thread listens to it; it made me feel a little better -- OK, "less bad" -- about this news to know that people will be finding new stuff in these great tracks for a long time to come.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:44 AM on October 3 [9 favorites]


Thank you wenestvedt.
posted by spitbull at 7:03 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]


Damn the Torpedoes owned 1979, and that was just the beginning.

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posted by whuppy at 7:04 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]




> I made a sad country version of "Walls" because I couldn't sleep.

Nailed it.
posted by ardgedee at 7:32 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]




Tom Petty's Los Angeles (LA Weekly, 2008)

It's funny, because when I hear the word 'Florida' my first thought is 'Florida Man' and my second thought is 'Tom Petty' but I think of him as an L.A. musician first.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:57 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


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posted by Empty Planet at 7:59 AM on October 3


*
posted by swlabr at 8:14 AM on October 3


Time To Move On
posted by Chrysostom at 8:21 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


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posted by filtergik at 8:35 AM on October 3


"Damn The Torpedos" was huge when I was a teen, and he really brought something new, yet classic, to the scene. I remember when he was labelled "new wave" when he was basically a classic rock and roller, yet not really roots rock. He appealed to a really wide cross section, and injected fresh blood into a pretty bloated and worn out rock and roll scene. Music needed Tom Petty when he arrived.

Damn the Torpedoes was a brilliant album and I had completely forgotten about this song, Even the Losers
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 8:55 AM on October 3 [5 favorites]


Yeah, "Even the losers get lucky sometimes" was a huge message to my 8th grade self.
posted by whuppy at 8:58 AM on October 3 [5 favorites]


Damn The Torpedoes

Hell yes. In 1979, at the age of fourteen and in the 9th grade, was the first time I got paid for playing guitar in a rock and roll band, which became my identity to this day. The band was called "Sunset," and amongst the Skynyrd and Stones and Bad Company and Zeppelin and Aerosmith songs in our repertoire, one of the very first songs where I ever stepped up to a microphone to sing and not just slash at metal wires and wood for my supper (and discover a lifelong passion for singing) was "Don't Do Me Like That." Its adolescent romantic urgency (those almost stuttered repeated "don'ts") felt so perfect to me at that age. It's not a song that's aged well for me as a personal expression, but it is still timeless.

There was something so taut and lean about that song that presaged the collapse of the southern rock/blues rock/metal configuration. It was rock and roll, but it damn sure wasn't Zeppelin or Skynyrd.

Punk hit my hood that year and by the end of the 9th grade I was playing Ramones and Sex Pistols and Clash songs and beginning to look down my nose at bloated mainstream rock. But one of the songs that made the transition to my next band (the name of which would besmirch this fine thread, ah adolescence) was "Don't Do Me," and it fit in fine.

The next year my family moved from suburban New York to London, and that shifted everything. It would be years before I came back to Tom Petty, playing in bar cover bands and top 40 bands in Texas. And "Don't Do Me" was always welcome in redneck bars then too.

Name one other artist who would be as transposable to punk, classic rock, and country settings and still make a lick of sense? I think the only one I can come up with is Johnny Cash (one of my current bands does nearly punk-metal versions of classic Cash songs, which sounds awesome).

Just fuck this week.
posted by spitbull at 9:17 AM on October 3 [17 favorites]


yeah I feel the same way, especially right now. sometimes we losers need a little encouragement :)
:(
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 9:18 AM on October 3


I remember when he was labelled "new wave"

Yes!
posted by Room 641-A at 9:20 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


ok spitbull now i really gotta know the name of your band!
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 9:24 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


Seamen. (Then "Necrophiliacs," we didn't know it was taken.)

You asked.
posted by spitbull at 9:25 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


nice!
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 9:28 AM on October 3


actually i take it back, Tom Petty was *totally* roots rock. what was i thinking?
he was definitely all about getting away from excess and getting back to basics. I think that's why he could appeal to so many disparate audiences.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 9:31 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]


George Harrison, Tom Petty and Ukuleles...
"Give someone a ukulele." (But banjos are right out.)
posted by jferg at 10:11 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


Name one other artist who would be as transposable to punk, classic rock, and country settings and still make a lick of sense?

Buddy Holly
posted by thelonius at 10:24 AM on October 3 [7 favorites]


Fair point.
posted by spitbull at 10:33 AM on October 3


Also arguably other rockabilly cats, but especially Link Wray, also criminally under-acknowledged. .
posted by spitbull at 10:34 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


pardon repeated posting (seriously, I promise I will shut up after this) , but I just realized that his staggering run of 20 sold out shows (!) in a row was to help save the Fillmore theater from closing in 1997. Those shows also got glowing reviews; it's just incredible that anyone could do 20 freaking shows in a row and kill it every time. And he did it to save a historic rock venue. That's really giving your all to music.

He also did a benefit for college radio. He was definitely about keeping rock alive and breathing when it was endangered.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 10:50 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


eddie fuckin' cochran
posted by entropicamericana at 10:53 AM on October 3


Fuck.

I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Summerfest a dozen or more years ago (with Pearl Jam opening) and Tom was so, so happy. Incredible show.

Highly recommend the Playback box set - got it for Christmas back in high school and there are so many true gems on each disc.
posted by Twicketface at 10:54 AM on October 3


The one upside to Petty's death is finding out how much of a good guy he was. I never paid much attention to him beyond enjoying his songs when they came on the radio, but I'm glad to know he was as good a guy offstage as he was on it.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:04 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


I never saw Petty live but, like so many here, his songs were background to my adolescence. Growing up in the late 70's-early 80's in "Southern" Maryland, his voice echoing from 8-tracks and cassette decks, his early lyrics were written into the deep web of my neurons. I still get goosebumps from "American Girl" and "The Waiting".

I don't think I've heard anything after the Wildflowers album. Guess I need to catch up.

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posted by hanov3r at 11:06 AM on October 3


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posted by theora55 at 11:26 AM on October 3


Name one other artist who would be as transposable to punk, classic rock, and country settings and still make a lick of sense?

John Fogerty
posted by demonic winged headgear at 12:13 PM on October 3 [1 favorite]


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posted by but no cigar at 12:27 PM on October 3


re: free falling guitar solo. mike campbell is a one of a kind producer/guitarist who did that bit. he has an amazing reputation - he has literally never phoned it in. (famous) guitarist i know said, "if i don't know who played a perfectly crafted rift from a 80s 90s tune, it's him. e.g. henley's mtv hit 'boys of summer'. it's worth looking at his collaborations.

augustwest, gingerbeer: sun july 6, 1986 was the searing hot day. same lineup played on the 7th. thank god they turned on the hoses, right? i didn't know tp at all. i thought he *killed*.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:30 PM on October 3 [5 favorites]


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posted by holborne at 12:35 PM on October 3


I was a college DJ in the late 80's and, thus, I was privy to CMJ (the college radio equivalent of Billboard) and their charts. We had back issues of CMJ dating to the 70's. As somebody who had always associated Petty with AOR stations, I was shocked to learn that in '79 he was a college music staple (along with The Ramones, The Clash and all the other bands you'd imagine would be on college radio in 1979).

I dated a goth/punk in the late 90's who loved nothing but Ministry, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Dead Can Dance... and "Free Falling" by Tom Petty.

I have a group of friends who like primarily funk and soul from the 1970's and every now and then you'll hear "Breakdown" or "Don't Do Me Like That" in their mixes.

Speaking of "Don't Do Me Like That," I used to do this comedy bit where I'd explain that Petty only wrote the second half of every line of the verses of that song and would sing is as "Ramalamlama friend of mine/Bamalalama hurt is crying." This brought me greater joy than anyone who heard it. I still love that song so much, though I wish I'd not learned the real lyrics because even though they're great, I loved that they just sounded like noises to me for five years.

I have only ever bought two box sets in my life and one of them was Petty's Playback which I listened to incessantly for most of the late 90's. Its as complete a career retrospective through '94 as you could possibly hope for. So good.

I never got to see Petty perform live, but I thought he did a great job at his Super Bowl Halftime show. In my top five of Super Bowl shows (along with Prince and U2).

I am so sad about losing Petty today - as sad as when we lost Prince or Bowie or Reed. I always liked his music (As I said above, for as long as I can remember liking music) but I never even realized how much I valued his work until yesterday. I think he seemed more immortal than some of my other heroes. No idea why.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:13 PM on October 3 [7 favorites]


I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers a while back at the Greek Theater at UC Berkeley. Just after the show started they lost power to the stage lights and video monitors. So they kept rocking in the dark.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:14 PM on October 3 [1 favorite]


j_curiouser :mind-blown:

THANKYOU
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:04 PM on October 3 [1 favorite]


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posted by Token Meme at 2:48 PM on October 3


It's funny, at the time of "Refugee" and "Breakdown," my 12 year old ears heard him as a male Rickie Lee Jones, who had recently dominated Top 40 radio with "Chuck E's In Love." Their vocal styles segue perfectly, you can't blame me.
posted by rhizome at 4:25 PM on October 3 [5 favorites]


and man we never had the real thing,
but sometimes we used to kiss


Nobody's songs feel as good to sing along to as TP's. A genius who wore it very lightly.

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posted by sallybrown at 5:10 PM on October 3 [1 favorite]


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posted by exlotuseater at 5:42 PM on October 3


[Hey, just a procedural thing - please don't paste entire articles or many-paragraph excerpts where you can just link them. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 5:46 PM on October 3


That "You Got Lucky" video is a watershed in the "Wraith Extras Discover Studio Artifacts" genre...and he got to do it. Not only that, but they came up with the idea themselves.
posted by rhizome at 6:00 PM on October 3 [3 favorites]


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posted by seyirci at 6:34 PM on October 3


Home from dinner, 4 pints in and I’ve just started the (4 hour) Runnin’ Down A Dream doc on Netflix. Feels right.
posted by chococat at 6:47 PM on October 3 [2 favorites]


Great remembrance by Mark Messerly of Wussy (it's on Wussy's Facebook page, so I'll pull out the best part for those who don't do Facebook):

Petty songs are easy to play on acoustic guitar or at the end of a rehearsal, but they are impossible to write. At least impossible for me. Any time I try to write a Petty song it comes out like open mic night at the sad sack cafe. I have to cover up my songwriting inadequacies with any trick or chord change I can come up with, but what I pray for is the simplicity of a great idea brought to its essence. And his ability to break your heart or summarize a life in a few lines is unparalleled.

Lisa and I once went to see Petty play in Indianapolis. This was a rare occurrence as most of the interaction between the five of us takes place between our lawyers and the periodic but necessary restraining orders. I remember Lisa saying that most people think John the Cougar is Indiana’s favorite son but that in reality they loved Tom most of all. It was a stunning show. Generous to a fault but somehow in no way felt like an oldies, or a greatest hits act. It’s been years but we still talk about that show.

And if you could count the number of times we’ve talked about the shaker part in “Refugee” you’d understand the glory and frustration of trying to make a record of something that feels like a forgotten moment 12 people shared in a shitty club on a Tuesday night in any midwestern town, while simultaneously rattling the gates of heaven with everything that says fuck you, eat the rich, that pretty girl or boy thinks you are amazing but everything is awful, and I love you, and I hate you, and I miss you, but in the end, only the losers get lucky.

Or at least I pray they do.

posted by carrienation at 7:05 PM on October 3 [3 favorites]


Lately I have lost some real friends who I assumed I would precede in that final exit, because they were seemingly immortal, one I lost we talked that we expected him to die, from falling off a tractor, in his nineties. Not at all as it turned out to be, in his earliest seventies. The music people, some have been the soundtrack of my life, and Petty is one of them, I always thought of him as how Bob Dylan might have sounded if he had just a little better voice and focused on using it as an instrument. Petty's songs were so clean, so bright, and just perfectly honed. His performances were full of life, and full of a sort of coy spirit. The lights are definitely going down on my time, but not the illumination, not the spirit. This is the first generation where everything was recorded, and can be located, and played, as performance. They have become immortalized, digitized, and always were forever becoming, and we will not let them go...
posted by Oyéah at 7:15 PM on October 3 [7 favorites]


4 pints in

That's a lot of Ben & Jerrys
posted by thelonius at 7:16 PM on October 3 [10 favorites]


Peppermint Petty's?
posted by petebest at 7:48 PM on October 3 [2 favorites]


I only saw Tom Petty live once, way back in 1986, and he was the opening act. For Bob Dylan. I hadn't thought much about Petty up to that point besides liking a couple of singles, and he blew me away. I was thinking "Holy crap, is this guy going to blow Bob F*ing Dylan off the stage?"

No, he was not. But he pushed Dylan to an even more amazing performance. (Here's Dylan doing "It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding" from a different show in the same tour. )

Petty was great in so many ways, for his humility as much as his talent and perception. (My favorite sly tune of his is Spike, here at Farm Aid that same year.) That song, and Refugee, took on a deeper layer for me last night when I found out that Petty grew up in redneck Florida with an alcoholic abusive dad who beat him and his brother and mom regularly.

Petty was humble enough to open for Dylan, talented enough to push him to his limit and awesome enough to join him on stage for amazing encores. RIP
posted by msalt at 1:04 AM on October 4 [5 favorites]


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You know how there are certain artists that you just feel like they're always going to be around, making music? Tom Petty was one of those for me. Full Moon Fever was basically the soundtrack to my junior year of high school - I played that and Damn the Torpedoes so often, I wore out the cassettes!

My boyfriend and I discovered "Tom Petty's Buried Treasure," his Sirius XM radio show, a few years ago. We loved it - Tom Petty had excellent, eclectic taste in music. (Not like that should be a surprise.)

Such a big loss. : (
posted by SisterHavana at 6:08 AM on October 4 [6 favorites]


A few years ago, the blog Noblemania ran a series profiling actresses from music videos. Wish Cohen from "Don't Come Around Here No More" and Devon Kidd from "Free Fallin'" were among those interviewed.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:12 AM on October 4


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posted by luckynerd at 7:43 AM on October 4


Tom Petty song Wildflowers lives on in Cree language (CBC):

Rock musician Tom Petty died suddenly this week, but his music will live on in at least one Indigenous language.

Art Napoleon, a Cree singer and songwriter, paid tribute to Petty by covering Wildflowers in the Cree language.

"[It is a] good opportunity for people to learn a little bit about the language, but also I wanted to pay tribute to the kind of music that influenced me as a younger man. Petty definitely did. I think he wrote a wide variety of styles and hit on a lot of subject areas. I think he just moved a lot of people including myself," he said. "He had a unique voice, I wouldn't exactly call his voice mainstream sound, but yet he found a mainstream audience. And I think it had a real rock and roll spirit to it - There was a folk sentimentality too....Wildflowers is a very moving song. It's nicely arranged and it's a beautiful love song. Kind of just brought goosebumps to me when I first heard it. I thought I would do my best to do it some justice."

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:50 PM on October 4 [6 favorites]


Breakdown was one of the big Soundtrack Of My Youth songs, & it still gets me. So concise, yet I find powerful imagery in it. A lot of his songs were like that. He was a master of less is more, as were his band mates, all under-rated masters at their craft. HUGE respect, and a deep sadness at his leaving us. He wasn’t even on the watch list! This caught me very much by surprise.

As a “cover artist” who made a modicum of my living back when playing hits of the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s, and later 90’s, for your dining and dancing pleasure, I developed a pretty huge repertoire of radio rock, some of which I liked (Zeppelin) more than others (Oasis), & a high point of my evening was always American Girl. I did the response back-up vocal (“Make it last all night!”) which always made me giggle with glee no matter how many times we played it, and it had a groove a mile deep that you could sink into like the bench seat of a 60’s Chevy. It was a very pleasant place to be for 3 & a half minutes every Saturday night.

Thanks, Tom. A Petty song, a packed dance floor, a bass in my hands, and life couldn’t really ever get any better than that. I’ll miss you forever.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:42 PM on October 4 [5 favorites]




Berke Breathed's tribute to Tom (FB link, sorry) was nice.
posted by jferg at 7:00 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]


On a late spring morning in 1992, my friend Mike met me in front of my apartment in Guelph to load up for our several-days-long drive to Silicon Valley, where I had a summer internship at Tandem Computers. I didn't know it then, but that summer would change my life; I'd meet new friends, explore what it meant to be a young adult in a new culture, in a new country. I'd encounter the optimism of tech before the web. I'd hang out at coffee shops, go to concerts, explore Stanford campus, the ocean, San Francisco, and a lot more. Ultimately, I'd return after that summer to make my career and my life in the Bay Area.

As Mike and I got in the car and drove away from the Wyndham Street apartment, the song on the radio is "Runnin' Down A Dream"...

It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin'
Trees flew by, me and Del were singin' little Runaway
I was flyin'

Yeah runnin' down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads
Runnin' down a dream

posted by stevil at 8:42 PM on October 4 [4 favorites]


(spitbull, that was beautiful. I hope you'll consider putting the audio up on Music.)
posted by Lexica at 9:20 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


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posted by hap_hazard at 1:27 AM on October 5


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posted by Ilira at 1:51 AM on October 5


Thanks Lexica. I tend to prefer archives I fully control for my own music (as in I don't think I can take something down from mefi music if I decide to without having to ask permission). Enough have asked that I will make an MP3 version available for download soon and post it here so y'all can grab it. I've gotten some really nice feedback by memail for that cut and owe some responses. It sort of went a bit viral in my Facebook network this week too. For something I sat down and banged out at 2am because I couldn't sleep that's pretty good, huh? Really appreciating all the kind comments here and elsewhere a lot. I guess you can tell when a song has feeling behind it.

Funny side secret fact: I had injured my right hand index finger playing electric earlier in the day (don't ask) and it was so sore I couldn't use it to fingerpick. So if you watch close you can see I'm either strumming (which isn't usually my thing) on the verses or fingerpicking a "loping" hemiola figure on the choruses that has the swing it does because I am only using thumb, ring, and middle fingers while my index finger hangs limp.

Somehow it produced a rhythmic transformation on the song that seems like it really works. I'm gonna cut a better version soon.
posted by spitbull at 9:54 AM on October 5 [4 favorites]


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posted by dbiedny at 11:16 PM on October 5


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