Aplscruf's Music Blog

Diary of a Married Groupie

Ode to Tom

 
Tom Petty

Tom Petty at the Troubadour May 2, 2008

O, Tom. Why do I love him so? So many reasons. Tom was my first. My first album I ever purchased. Damn the Torpedoes. The record’s label was misspelled: Torpedos. I would secretly sneak the record onto my sister’s brand new Technics hi-fi stereo when she was at work. Even the Losers Get Lucky Sometimes. I felt like a teenage loser. Flat-chested, too skinny, gap-toothed, awkward, shy. Tom spoke to me, to my teenage angst. I wanted to be the one he sang about in Here Comes My Girl, the one he watched walk…Uh! I wanted to be a Complex Kid, a Refugee, and feel the Louisiana Rain running down my face. I was in love with his music, his voice, his lyrics, his messages of love and love lost, his songs for the open road. Never dirty, no cuss words, just honest, straightforward, soul-touching storytelling.

Mom called him a Punk. She hated him. What did I see in that punk? He smokes (although I read he is now finally trying to quit), has long hair, not so pretty to look at. I remember a woman telling me, after borrowing my binoculars to view him at the Tacoma Dome show a few years back: “He is an ugly man!” My immediate response was: “But he has a beautiful soul.” His voice, while many find it not very appealing, I find it to be so unique. And his range, at one time, could span two, maybe three octaves. He can sing in a lower register and hit me straight in the soul. Other times, he can scream out rockin’ lyrics way up high in the scale, and I want to scream along, but can‘t hit the notes.
 
His band, The Heartbreakers, such a perfect accompaniment to his words. And that guitar. So unique, now so recognizable of the Great Mike Campbell. Mike also helped write some of the songs. And Benmont Tench on keys. Not many bands in the late 70’s were tickling the keys, especially the way Benmont could play. Stan Lynch on drums…no longer with the band, but check out Here Comes My Girl for a great intro in typical Lynch style. Ron Blair, original bass, later replaced with the late Howie Epstein. Now Ron’s back again, keeping the Heartbeat going.
 
It was hard for the Seattle radio stations to know what to do with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, so they stuck ‘em on the New Wave station. Hard to categorize, hard to fit into a radio-friendly genre. Some of the songs did play on the rock stations: American Girl, Breakdown. Were Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers rock? Mostly. Were they southern rock? Sure. Were they new? Different? Talented? Unusual? Better than anything out there in the latter half of the seventies? Definitely.
 
Eight days to go…
 
[The following link is an excerpt from Damn the Torpedoes DVD]
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTp1YNhAxSw&feature=player_embedded
 
 
 
 
 

 

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June 4, 2010 - Posted by | Concert Season 2010, Music, Tom Petty | , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Well I have been written about here a lot so it it is my turn to respond. L and I have been together for a long time and in many ways she still is the girl she describes here. No she is not gapped toothed and flat chested, but she does still have an innocent soul that craves to be fed by words and music.
    I can sum up the pure joy she gets from music in one moment, I was lucky enough to be there. It was when we saw Tom with Mudcutch at the Troubadour in LA. We were about 10 feet from Tom for the whole show, but in one brief moment she made eye contact with Tom and he smiled directly at her, almost as if he was drawn to provide that one moment for her. Her response was priceless, pure joy with a few expletives thrown in. I love seeing her joy and seeing her fulfilled.
    So here’s to more experiences babe…

    Cheers

    Comment by P | June 5, 2010 | Reply

    • I’m a very lucky woman to have you in my life, P. Thanks for the enduring love and friendship. It’s been quite a ride!

      Comment by aplscruf | June 5, 2010 | Reply

  2. Can’t wait to hear about the concert!

    Comment by Tracy Perkins | June 10, 2010 | Reply


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