I knew who Tom Petty was growing up. My parents played his music a lot, because he had some great songs: “Breakdown,” “American Girl,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Refugee,” “The Waiting,” “You Got Lucky”… The list goes on and on.
In the 80s, I was an MTV kid, fixated on music videos and the “biggest hits.” I vividly remember the video for “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” It creeped me out and excited me. The “Alice in Wonderland” theme was like nothing I had ever seen before, and it stuck in my brain for years to come.
It wasn’t until 1993 that I really paid attention to Tom. I was really coming into my own individuality in music, and in a sea of rap, R&B and hip hop, Tom broke through with this crazy video that really made me appreciate his entire catalog of music: “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” The video was haunting, like nothing I had ever seen before, and I wanted more. To this day, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” is my favorite, and will continue to be.
The other thing that really made me love Tom was the soundtrack to one of my favorite movies “She’s The One” with Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz and the dreamy Ed Burns. My second favorite Tom Petty song comes from the soundtrack, and every time I hear it I think of the movie and I feel moved.
Side note: If you’ve never seen it, I recommend it. The soundtrack is typical Tom Petty (greatness) and the young cast of huge stars is brilliant.
Back to Petty…
When you sit back and think about his expansive music career, as a solo artist, with The Heartbreakers and The Traveling Wilburys, there has to be at least one song that you love. I think he was one of those artists. You couldn’t hate him, even though you’ve heard “Free Fallin'” a MILLION and a half times (another one of my favorite music videos). His music inspired so many, his lyrics relatable, and his style can never be duplicated. You were one of my favorites Tom. Rest easy.