We lost a musical great last night. Tom Petty leaves a legacy of music and influence for generations. Between his solo work, all of his hits with the Heartbreakers and his Grammy Award winning stint with the Traveling Wilbury’s he should always be regarded as one of the greats of rock ‘n’ roll.
Tom Petty does not appear in my “top 40,” but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t have an impact on me. I remember being blown away when I saw the video to Don’t Come Around Here No More. I’ve remained a casual fan from then on. I absolutely loved the Wildflowers album. I even liked his little walk-on cameo in The Postman.
Though never huge in my musical rotation, I always respected the place that he held in rock music. He was creative, yet spoke to something primal in all of us. His music was like an edgy Norman Rockwell painting. It spoke of home and of America, but it never shied away from the darker bits.
So I say thanks. Thank you, Tom Petty, for being you, and for letting us bask in your musical genius for a while. Many people will listen to your songs for years to come, because that’s the kind of staying power they had. And many people will cite you as an influence for generation upon generation of rock ‘n’ rollers, because that’s the kind of staying power you had.