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RIP Tom Petty (10/20/50 – 10/2/17): Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks.

October 3, 2017

Tom Petty Oct. 11, 2014 at the LA Forum photo by Art Predator (off the big screen with my iPhone)

Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017)
by guest blogger Ron Wells
“Some days are diamonds
 Some days are rocks..” —Tom Petty

Today is a rock. One that doesn’t roll no more except in the hearts of those of us that find it difficult to take yet another heartbreak. 

  • Tom Petty of Mudcrutch.
  • Tom Petty of the Heartbreakers.
  • Tom Petty of The Traveling Wilburys.
  • Tom Petty has passed away.

I had heard “American Girl” early on, but it was “Listen to Her Heart” that really grabbed me. I saw him many, many times in concert beginning in 1978, and certainly with Bob Dylan when the Heartbreakers were Bob’s backing band many years later. He spoke to me like every other great rock and roll musician that touched my soul.

It was those catchy opening lines that always intrigued me:

“She was an American girl, raised on promises…”

“She’s a good girl, loves her mama, 
Loves Jesus, and America too”

Tom Petty Oct. 11, 2014 at the LA Forum photo by Art Predator

Or maybe it was the truthful choruses:

“Baby even the losers, get lucky sometimes”

“Here comes my girl, here comes my girl, 
Yeah, she looks so right, she’s all I need tonight”
“The waiting is the hardest part”
Or maybe it was the lyrics of hope:
“And then she looks me in the eye, says, “We gonna last forever
And man, you know I can’t begin to doubt it”
Maybe it was all of the above and the music too. Just so many wonderful songs. Until today, when all I hear is:

“Some things are over
Some things go on
Part of me you carry
Part of of me is gone”

In his own words:
“You and I will meet again, When we’re least expecting it, One day in some far off place, I will recognize your face, I won’t say goodbye my friend, For you and I will meet again.”
“There used to be this real sense of community integrity in rock. It has really eroded. Everyone seems to be on their own now”
“When I met Elvis, we didn’t really have a conversation. I was introduced by my uncle, and he sort of grunted my way. What stays with me is the whole scene. I had never seen a real mob scene before. I was really young and impressionable. Elvis really did look – he looked sort of not real, as if he were glowing.”
“Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.”
“You get into your late fifties, people start falling like flies all around you. I don’t take life for granted any more. I’m really glad to be here.”
“I developed a problem with authority. Any time that authority was what I interpreted as being unjust, I stood up to it, and that became my personality”
“I tend to write on an acoustic guitar or the piano. I have kind of a rule: if I can’t sit down and play this and get the song over, I don’t take it to the band, because most any good song, you can sit down and deliver it with a piano or a guitar.”
“I would never put my songs in a commercial.”
“I don’t treat the band like I’m above them or that they’re a hired hand for me. We’ve never worked that way. So I’m a team player. I would be very uncomfortable having to do this alone.”
“Do something you really like, and hopefully it pays the rent. As far as I’m concerned, that’s success.”
“The first time I tried to write was when I was 14, after I got an electric guitar. I put a song together, and it wasn’t that bad! The writing came natural to me.”
“Go after what you really love and find a way to make that work for you, and then you’ll be a happy person.” 
“I have turned down a lot of money for things that would have made me feel cheesy.”
“The great thing about the Wilburys was that none of us had to take the heat by ourselves. I was just a member of the band. Nobody felt like he was above anybody else. We had such a good time.”

Tom Petty Oct. 11, 2014 at the LA Forum photo by Art Predator (off the big screen with my iPhone)

To a man who created music that was pure, that healed, that was real, and that was magic,

Rest in Peace, Tom Petty.

Text and quotes curated by Ron Wells. Videos curated by me; (Photos also by me from this Tom Petty Concert; I thought I’d published a write-up on it by Ron but didn’t find it so here’s another one.)

According to Wikipedia, American musician, singer, songwriter, multi instrumentalist and record producer Thomas Earl Petty “suffered cardiac arrest early in the morning of October 2, 2017, and died later that night at a hospital in Santa Monica, California.[4]  Best known as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, he co-founded the Grammy winning late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilbur’s, and  sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.[3] In 2002, Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 3, 2017 11:29 am

    Excellent tribute to a world class artist.

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