Workin’ on a mystery …

13 Oct

To start my first blog post ever, I want to talk to you about Tom Petty. I hope you want to, too. I need some company.

Before 2008, I knew who Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were. I could pick him out of a line up; I recognized his songs on the radio; I couldn’t think of Alice in Wonderland without seeing an image of a screeching blonde in a blue and white dress-shaped cake with Tom and the boys cutting into her and splattering crumbs everywhere. He was part of the memory landscape of high school but that was it.

Then, we did a video at work that used “Runnin’ Down a Dream” as the theme music. I had to listen carefully to the lyrics to make sure they fit the piece, and suddenly I realized what I had missed all those years.

The optimism; the language; the forward motion; the musicianship: all that had been out there for decades and I had never paid attention before. I had some catching up to do.

Getting to know that song led me to find out that Tom Petty is EVERYWHERE you look. He’s been on a bazillion charity discs and tribute albums; he and the Heartbreakers backed up Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan; he was a Wilbury. He keeps rock, rhythm and blues alive as a DJ on his “Buried Treasure” show on XM. And the 2008 Bogdonovich film and the 2009 live anthology showed that he’s got to be one of the best documented performers who ever lived.

Discovering Tom Petty 35 years into his career led me to the pleasure of discovering rock and roll music of all kinds, from roots to alternative. As I find more music to love, I learn more about myself. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had that experience.

How did your love of rock music begin? Let me know.

See you on the flip side.

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