Once upon a time in the summer of 2001, I walked into a Best Buy and walked out with the compilation album Greatest Hits by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I didn’t know much about Tom Petty at that point. I knew a couple of his songs like “Free Fallin'” and “The Waiting” and that was enough to justify buying it. I popped the CD into my car stereo on the drive home and my life was changed forever. His music spoke to me. It awakened something in my soul. I felt like Tom Petty was singing to me directly. He became my favorite artist instantly.
He was a rock star, a real rock star. He had hit singles and critically acclaimed albums and put on one hell of a live show. No road trip was complete without listening to a little Petty. In an era of illegal downloads, I made it a point to buy his albums, all of them. Even his stuff with Mudcrutch, the Traveling Wilburys, and Johnny Cash. I wanted him to have my money. I was lucky enough to see him live five times. Once at the Hollywood Bowl, twice at Outside Lands, once at the Oakland Coliseum, and the last one at BottleRock in what became his final tour. Watching Tom Petty live was better than listening to his albums. Everybody would sing along to every song, spark joints during “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and just enjoy experiencing a legend do what he did best.
I hate that I have to speak about Tom Petty in the past tense now. He was a big part of my life. He always will be. You are the soundtrack to my life, Tom. Thank you.
Critically Rated at 17/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young