Monday, October 9, 2017

Musical Monday - Learning to Fly by Tom Petty

Petty was an amazing performer who always seemed older and wiser than his years. When he died, one of my coworkers said that she was surprised he was only 66 years old - she had always thought he was much older than that. Part of this misapprehension may have been because his friends were mostly older then he - Petty was the youngest Traveling Wilbury for example. But I think the real reason for this was that his music so frequently had a weatherbeaten, almost weary feel to it.

Born in 1950, Petty was still a Baby Boomer, but only just barely. He was born at the tail end of that generation, and didn't rise to prominence until the mid-1970s, with the meat of his career coming during the 1980s and 1990s, after the burst of youthful Boomer exuberance of the 1960s and early 1970s had passed. He was never really a Boomer icon, but rather a figure that loomed large for people my age - who came of age in Reagan's America and were disillusioned from the get-go. His music hit the country when it was tired and worn down, and often, his lyrics speak to that part of us that feels overwhelmed but still refuses to stop fighting.

Now he's gone, and far too soon. There was more music left in him, and we won't ever have it now. But we can be grateful for what we do have, and remember.

Go and fly Tom. You'll never have to come down again.

Previous Musical Monday: The Rainbow Connection by Kermit the Frog
Subsequent Musical Monday: Southern Accents by Tom Petty

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