I was a fan. I'm not the fan that can tell you song 3 on album 4, or its length. But a fan nonetheless. I was a big fan of his music, and of who he was. He was just a guy with his crew that simply recorded good music. When he hit in the 70's everything was simpler, and musically it was a very good time especially for rock music. The music was where the sole emphasis was. Straight out of the garage, to the bars, and to hopefully better days ahead. He went up against the big boys on the charts and did very well. Somehow we didn't view him as one of the big boys then. But now we know he was one of the big boys, and so do those who are still around, at long last.
I feel Tom Petty maybe the most underrated rock star of all time. We just thought he'd be here forever. He never became dated, or a caricature of himself. It never became hard to watch him on stage, as it has many others. He aged well, never trying to be something he wasn't, and never left his musical roots so far behind we didn't recognize who he was. I respected that. He remembered he was Tom Petty.
If Tom Petty came out today, he probably would not be a star. He was not a heartthrob. His shows were good, but there were no dance routines, no super fluff, nothing that distracted you totally from the music. They were playing music, and not relying on ancillary diversions making you think the music, the stars, and the expericence were better than they really were.
I had a lot of favs, but this is near the top of my list.
Petty's music stayed relevant till the end. For every reason there is, when his music was introduced to new and younger audiences, they loved it. Jerry Maguire gave Free Fallin' a huge resurgence. As did a terrific Superbowl Halftime show. I'm not sure anyone got more out of, or appreciated an appearance there more than Petty. By the iconic picture of he and his Heartbreakers at shows end, they understood the moment clearly, and climbed a mountain they never thought they would. The word was they were not the first choice that year by a long shot. They knew it, and they didn't care. They played with incredible confidence and joy.
Jason Aldean covered this over the weekend on SNL
Petty was a heavy influence as well on many of today's Country Stars clearly. Although Petty's recorded music and vocals are more aggressive than even the most rockin' country stars, the beat and the Petty idea of many songs is apparent. Petty even wrote a top 20 country hit years ago recorded by group Southern Pacific called, Thing About You, that featured Emmylou Harris. Cool song. Being from Gainesville, Florida, Petty understood Country, and in the end, had the Southern Rock feel to much of his music, that is clear in much of today's Country.
I will miss the music, and the kind of guy we knew. Where he was out front of his band, where the music he made was the star - and it - was out in front - of him. Guys like him in music just don't really exist anymore.
I will miss Tom Petty.