Tag Archives: rock star

Tom Petty

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

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Runnin’ Down a Dream (documentary)

If you like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and have 4 hours to kill, you should check out Peter Bogdanovich’s documentary about the band. Tom Petty is the shit. He’s one of the last real rock stars. You know his songs even if you aren’t too familiar with him. He’s on more movie soundtracks than John Williams, he’s played the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and he’s been selling out shows with his band for more than thirty years.

The documentary starts at the beginning with a young Thomas Earl Petty growing up in Gainesville, Florida with an abusive father, a loving mother, and a passion for Rock n’ Roll. Petty grows up and hones his talent, finding his future bandmates Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench on the way. You learn about his first band Mudcrutch and hear testimony about how driven he was to succeed. Mudcrutch dissolved and Petty formed a new band: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The documentary goes through the members, albums, songs, tours, anecdotes, tragedies and triumphs of the band and the man.

They use a lot of rare footage and personal videos from the band to tell their history. When they are talking about the drive to California and the car breaking down, they show the car broken on the side of the road. They talk Ron Blair eating a bunch of hash before a TV appearance and point out how glazed his eyes are.

If you’re a fan of Tom Petty’s music than you’ll love this film. His hits are constantly playing in the background, they show lots of concerts, and you get to know the man behind it all and see what drives him. He’s a poet, he’s a storyteller, and his music is timeless. Don’t let the four hour long running time intimidate you. It’s hard to cram thirty+ years of history into a few hours.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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