Posted on January 29, 2019
by Steve Janowick
Like the old saying goes…
Sometimes you don’t know what you got ‘till it’s gone. So true. In October of 2017 a piece of Americana left us all. The arbiter of youth and summer days and freedom and better times. Every man over 40 grew up with him. His music was the soundtrack of our lives. He was there when we got the girl. He was there when we lost the girl. He was there when we got our first car. And he was coming through the speakers when we turned it loose on the open road.
Tom Petty was in the periphery of every young, red-blooded, American boy’s life in the 80’s.
And as we grew into men, he came along on the journey with us. He wasn’t the biggest or best-selling artist during this time (the height of his output). His songs weren’t particularly artistic or complex (in a snobby music critic sense). He wasn’t an angry provocateur or a “save the world” type who went off on political rants. And he certainly wasn’t the most dynamic or electrifying act to see live. But no one, and I mean no one, could write and perform a catchier tune than Tom and his Heartbreakers. No one conveyed a better brand of American sensibilities through his lyrics. Simple and beautiful, he was the everyman’s poet.
And now that he’s been gone for almost a year and a half, I realize how much he gave to me and how much I miss him. Sure, we still have some great American classic-rock storytellers with us (Bob Seger and Steve Miller to name a couple) but none have that all-encompassing, crossover appeal that Petty had-and still has. His music speaks to grizzled grandfathers, high-school hipsters and everyone in between.
So, I implore every man reading this to take a few hours and revisit his youth, hit play and take Tom Petty along for the ride. I’m certain you’ll shed a few tears and break off a few reminiscing smiles along the way. I recently did so myself. And I couldn’t help but think about my 17-year old daughter when my favorite song of his began to play.
“Well, she was an American Girl…raised on promises…”
Does it get any better than that?
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