Monday night after the news of Tom Petty’s death became official, I made a little post and mentioned where I feel I first encountered his music and that was the movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, with “American Girl” blaring on the first day of school. It’s kinda fitting that “American Girl” was the last song he ever played in front of crowd.
As I was going to bed that night I found “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” on HBO/Showtime, one of the “on-demand” channels and gave it another watch.
The image shown above is mixture of that scene where “American Girl” was playing and a screen grab from YouTube from him playing “American Girl” on 9/25.
For 232 of the past 233 days(not counting today10/4), I’ve been tracking the first song I’ve heard each day. For about 225-228 those have been purely random sent to me through Pandora, or Spotify. There were a couple of days that I cheated and wanted to hear a specific song on a certain day, mainly after a friend died. So for October 3rd, I again cheated and the first song was “American Girl”.
I’m not going to say I’m never going to track the music again, but I’m sure as hell taking a sabbatical from it, because I’m not feeling it and not sure when I will. I’ll dig into the Marc Maron podcasts, or other audio-books since sports-talk tv/radio is too God Damn political and too full of shit and garbage to listen to.
Over those 232 days, there were 70 different performers. I don’t know how many different songs, because there were some that came to me multiple times.
My top 10/20 is pretty much spot on. That’s mostly the music I grew up on, and the newest additions to that would be Robert Earl Keen and the Turnpike Troubadours and both of those were mostly discovered within in the past 5-10 years.
Warren Zevon on high on the list, and while I remember a few of his songs, I can’t say that I fully appreciated him while he was alive, so he’s another fairly new discovery.
This littlle project started on 2/14 with the live version of “Learning to Fly”, from the Live Anthology.
On 30/232 days Tom Petty was apart of the first song I heard whether it was a solo song, him with the Heartbreakers, the Wilburys, part of his work with Johnny Cash, or him and Bo Diddley jamming out to “Mona”. That’s really no surprise. It just goes to show that the Pandora Thumb Print station and the “Daily Mix” on Spotify are intelligent concepts that really do pick up on habits.
Maybe this cat & mouse game of the media, jumping the gun on this has softened the blow. Maybe it hasn’t hit yet. In a post about being on vacation with my family as a kid when Elvis died, and how it hit my mom and aunt (they adored him). I touched on how I wasn’t sure how I would handle losing an icon that I cherished in one way or another, whether it was music, sports, an actor, or actress. I said:
Yes, it’s slap in the face, punch in the gut and a kick in the balls all at once.
I think I can pinpoint the first time I ever heard Thomas Earl Petty and his Heartbreakers, and that was watching “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” on VHS when “American Girl” Belted out on the first day of school. It jumped out at me. That was somewhere around ‘82 or ‘83 and from that point on I was hooked.
I only got to see him once but you can’get better seats than the front row.
That was a memorable concert.
When I was first processing the potential news which eventually proved to be true, my thoughts drifted to the show “Californication” where Hank Moody (David Duchovny) was either talking to his father or about his father or reading a letter from his father, but his dad in the show was happy that one of Hank’s books was being made into a movie, because it was “permanent”, Hank was dumbfounded a bit, that a movie was better than a book or more permanent, but the in the letter his dad wrote him he was proud of the books, and I started to think of all the music,(Heartbreakers, Solo, Wilburys) the videos, or even the cameo Petty had “The Postman” with Kevin Costner, his time with Mike Judge and Hank Hill on “The King of the Hil”, books, documentaries. . He left a lot of “permanent” fixtures.
Don Mclean wrote about the day the music died in his song “American Pie”, signing about Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and the others that died in that plane crash.
I think for me that day is October 2nd, 2017. I’ll always have the CD’s maybe a tape or two left, a couple of DVD’s Blu-rays, a hard drive full of his music, but it will never be exactly the same.
He will be missed. I’m sure he’s already riding the river with Johnny Cash.
Will look at this again in the morning.. Maybe.. I’ll have to see if it makes sense.
For those interested, if you scroll and scroll, there are some unique audio performances that I uploaded that might be on you tube, but were left over from napster days.
Monday morning brought out a little twang with likely my favorite Waylon Jennings song, “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way”.
Lord, I’ve seen the world, with a five-piece band Looking at the back side of me Singing my songs, and one of his now and then But I don’t think Hank done ‘em this way, no I don’t think Hank done ’em this way