Tom Petty felt like my friend.
He seemed so positive and upbeat. His music was easily listenable and fun. I’ve been a fan since the early 1990s and his was one of the first concerts I attended as a teenager without my parents. In fact, the first time I saw his show was in Denver at Fidler’s Green in 1995. I recall going with my wonderful camp friend and it rained. We were soaked and happy at the end. That first show solidified my fandom and my love for live music.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers got me through many a breakup, celebration and even basic days. His concert videos always put a smile on my face and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the DVD, “Live at the Fillmore.” More than I can count. When I’m not listening to talk radio, my go-to is Tom Petty. When I’m down, my first choice is Tom Petty. When I drive, run, walk or have background music, you know what I select. Friends often get tired of my choice, but I haven’t shaken this love affair for over two decades.
I loved his shows and have gone to at least eight, most recently in late September at the Hollywood Bowl. Fortunate to have seen him one last time, I never expected that show to be among his last. His songs were relatable and down-to-earth.
It was especially difficult to hear of his death on Monday after the shooting in Las Vegas. These lyrics are from the song “American Dream Plan B,” I like these lines, which are apropos for this time of sadness, confusion and polarity in America:
“I’m gonna make my way through this world someday
I don’t care what nobody say
American dream, political scheme
I’m gonna find out for myself someday
My success is anybody’s guess
But like a fool, I’m bettin’ on happiness”
And in the midst of an American crisis and anxiety in the air, I keep listening to Tom Petty’s music. “Something Good Coming,” in particular, is meaningful and special to me. It reminds me of difficulty we all face, yet there’s always hope just around the corner. It’s currently on a loop on my playlist.
“And I know that look that’s on your face
There’s somethin’ lucky about this place
There’s somethin’ good comin’
For you and me
Somethin’ good comin’
There has to be.”
The most important aspect of Tom Petty (for me) is his optimism in his songs. I appreciate how he’s realistic of pain or heartbreak, but still manages to look on the bright side and maintain a sense of hope. His many catchy songs have a connection to love — my favorite thing. I’ve stood behind his philosophy that there may be difficult times we face, but love and hope remain.
So, here’s a small token of my appreciation for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. I don’t have more words, just deep feelings for him. I will miss this musical friend incredibly.
“You got a heart so big
It could crush this town
And I can’t hold out forever
Even walls fall down.”
Check out last week’s blog post on anxiety. To learn more about me, please visit my coaching page.