Thought I’d share a bit from my journal this morning:
The death of Tom Petty hits me like a reckoning. One that invisibly throws me into a deep review of my own life.
Walking back through the years, I skip from Petty song to Petty song until finally I’m 8 years old watching him and Mike Campbell emerge from their dystopian dune buggy in the 1981 MTV video for “You got Lucky Babe” (video below).
As I do this, I realize that Petty has been there, with us, singing into our ears the entire time. His lyrics and music are so ingrained in our musical makeup that it’s sometimes hard to tell if he’s playing on the radio or just a voice in our head.
Some years Petty was in the background of my life, while other years he played center stage of whatever life drama was unfolding at the time. He’s like an old friend I’ve known from childhood – comforting and familiar. And even if I was out of touch for a while, with Petty, you could always pick right back up where you left off.
When times were bad, he always knew what to say (“Straight into Darkness”, “Stop Dragging My Heart Around”, “You Got Lucky Babe”, “You Don’t know How It Feels”, etc.) and when times were good, his music was the first thing some of us reached for (“American Girl”, “Refugee”, “Running Down A Dream”).
Now that he’s gone, I search his songs and lyrics for messages that I have forgotten or overlooked, and give thanks to the man that shaped so much of the soundtrack of my life.