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The rock star, age 66, has suffered a severe heart attack.

Petty has always been a favorite of mine. He was never quite a genius (the word “ditty” about his melody-writing tendency is hard to shake), but was a full fan service all-around rock star for a long time. Highlights of his career have included “American Girl” in 1976 and “Free Falling” in 1989, which is a long time to be near one’s peak in the rock business.

I believe I’ve seen him five times, in Santa Monica in 1978, perhaps twice in Houston over the next couple of years, headlining Steve Wozniak’s US festival in 1982 (the only less than exhilarating performance), and with Bob Dylan in 1986. That tour grew out of their collaboration in the Traveling Wilburys supergroup with George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne of ELO. It seemed like a good idea at the time for Petty and his excellent Heartbreakers band to both open for Dylan and then back him as his own band. But Dylan was an awkward performer while Petty’s natural rock star appeal tended to upstage the legend.

I suspect that the success of Petty’s career grew out of his combination of amiability and orneriness.

Most everybody liked Petty. For example, he showed up a lot as an actor in sitcoms by brilliant comedy writers like Garry Shandling and Mike Judge, either playing himself or a character based on himself.

Beavis: [watching a Tom Petty video] Hey Butt-head, how come Tom Petty is famous?
Butt-Head: Because he’s on TV, dumbass.
Beavis: Yeah, but like… but how did he get on TV?
Butt-Head: Uh… because he’s famous.
Beavis: Yeah, but, I mean, like, how did he get famous?
Butt-Head: He got famous because he’s on TV.
Beavis: YEAH, YEAH, BUT HOW DID HE GET ON TV?
Butt-Head: Because he’s famous, Beavis! Now shut up before I smack the bejesus out of you!

Cameron Crowe wrote both “American Girl” and “Free Falling” into his movies.

To be a female pop star, you have to be good looking or a good singer or both. But to be a male rock star, you can look like the Mad Hatter in Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and sing like, well, I don’t know what Petty sang like.

But much as everybody liked Tom, Tom didn’t necessarily like everybody else all the time.

Petty’s career included feuds with his usually superlative band (thus some albums are by “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” and others by “Tom Petty”) and legal struggles with his record companies, such as the ordeal that preceded his breakthrough 1979 third album “Damn the Torpedoes,” with its sensational production work by Jimmy Iovine:

(“Damn the Torpedoes” was, in my recollection, a big step forward in recording drums. Iovine and his engineer spent huge chunks of time carrying out science experiments with where to put microphones to make Stan Lynch’s drums sound like they did live.)

In recent years, Petty and Lynne amused themselves suing young stars for plagiarism.

Petty was an artsy redneck. Here’s his 1985 video “Don’t You Come Around Here No More” combining an ominous Scots-Irish warning with Petty’s Mad Hatter resemblance:

If you are too polite, you get pushed around like Elvis did. An 11-year-old Petty got to shake Elvis’s hand in 1961 and was set on being a rock star ever after. But Tom didn’t make Elvis’s mistake of being too nice for his own good.

A life well lived.

 
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  1. EriK says:

    I confess I was never a huge Tom Petty fan until I saw the documentary Running Down a Dream. It was great. Amazing he was creating such good music right under my nose for so many years and I hardly noticed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Neoconned
    Not a big fan.

    But hes 1 of those guys they play all the time in fast food places over the satellite radio feed.

    Not my cup of tea but to each their own.....
    , @The Only Catholic Unionist
    If that's the same documentary I'm thinking of, to me, he did come off as a bit of dick (if it had been a more independent documentary, I wonder just how much more so), although you are correct, he is a seemingly endless font of creativity.

    On reflection, it occurred to me that he is that jerk musician that seemingly everyone has known at one time or another, but in his case he has the talent to make it stand up. Love the music, not sure I'd want to hang around with him..

    I'm actually sort of surprised that Mr Sailer didn't immediately zero in on his landmark (at least in the annals of entertainment law) case where he was able to get out of an extremely bad contract by pre-emptively declaring bankruptcy.
    , @AnotherDad

    I confess I was never a huge Tom Petty fan until ...
     
    Still not.

    It's interesting what appeals to various folks. I had a reasonable guess Sailer would be a fan, given his previous musical posts.

    Refugee and Free Falling got enough airplay and were distinctive enough I remember those. I figured i'd give it a shot, and pulled up "American Girl" video yesterday. I was dead bored and quit half way through. Repetitive--continuous, no change, no hook--musical line and whatever he's saying about girl barely registers through the noise. Overall, just a few minutes of musical noise. Then tried Free Falling--made it through, the swoopy "free falling" part is at least a break in continuous noise and adds interest--but ho-hum. Tried something else--forget now. Boring. Tried the Alice in wonderland video above. Lyrically vapid. Endless "Don't come around here anymore". Why? Is she too clingy? Crappy in bed? Just a big headache? Ok, I don't really need to know, but it's just sort of the reverse of the most banal love song. And goes on and on and on, again without any hook or melodic interest.

    I think whatever it is in terms of both melodic interest and lyrical impact that makes say Mancini/Mercer's "Moon River" appealing to folks, Petty lacks.

    But apparently Petty's style of continuous--not very melodically interesting--stream of music appeals to some folks.

    For me,
    --> same era -- much prefer say Bob Seger,
    -- more interesting melodic work, with buildups and breaks
    -- can understand his stories\lyrics, what they are about and why they might be interesting
    -- better, more interesting raspy voice

    --> from same neck of the woods -- Zac Brown (my son has Pandora list/channel that we listen to when we're shooting pool, I did a little research last winter and found several of the tunes I liked on it were from this Zac Brown guy, from Georgia)
    -- again way more interesting melodies
    -- more interesting stories/emotions being conveyed lyrically and I can understand them
    -- or just more fun

    My favorite musical experience of recent years is when i'm sitting up here--usually on the computer--and my daughter gets on the piano downstairs and plays this "Moonlight Sonata" thing. The notes wafting up from below. Wow. Dude who wrote that had some serious talent.
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  2. My favorite Tom Petty quote is what he said about Rock and Roll:

    “It’s not supposed to be really good.”

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    • Replies: @Dieter Kief

    My favorite Tom Petty quote is what he said about Rock and Roll:

    “It’s not supposed to be really good.”
     

    I

    I do sit through operas and I visit rock concerts.

    One of the best performances ever was by Jackson Browne with his fabulous band (7 members, if I remember right. He played 2015 here in Konstanz)

    What rock musicians achieve is, that they realize freedom, so to speak, and the interaction on the stage can grow, grow, grow, just because Rock Music "is not supposed to be really good". Result can be some sort of dionysian trance - deep and impressive stuff - cf. Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

    II

    Whereas with operas: The performance consists in large parts in the effort, to try to fullfil the since ages established pretty high standards. That leaves very little room for the shere pelasure and at times abundant joy of the musicians and the dionysian part is almost invisible - it's consumed, almost, by the technical difficulty of opera-singing and asks for lots and lots of discipline, subordination and the like from the singers especially.

    I like baroque singer Simone Kermes a lot, she at times comes very close to the realm of the rock-freedom.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYzqCz7J-W0 - here's Kermes singing in my birth town near Heidelberg. Sigh.


    III

    Jazz as a genre seems to be a very good compromise between discipline and freedom. If played perfectly well, it might be beyond our human cpacities - cf. Keith Jarrett's - destiny.

    Sub Jarrett but extremely impressive both as artists who are technically brilliant (=disciplined) and emotionally "free" - Branford Marsalis' Quartett. Wayne Shorter Quartett - up until 2008, ca.

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  3. eah says:

    First song I remember noticing from him/them was ‘I Need to Know’ — biggest celebrity death shock for me in a good while — came out of nowhere — sad.

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    • Agree: E. Rekshun
    • Replies: @Anon
    Makes me mad you rarely hear this great song when the radio plays a Petty.
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  4. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Cocaine abuse.

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    • Replies: @Bard of Bumperstickers
    Cigarettes.
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  5. Always loved “You got lucky”. Haven’t seen the Running Down a Dream doc, but he’s in the Jimmy Iovine/Dr. Dre doc that aired recently on HBO, and he’s in Dave Grohl’s Sound City about the LA recording studio.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Always loved “You got lucky”.

    Yes, love that one too. Big part of youth. Petty songs bring back so many memories.
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  6. Bubba says:

    I never would have guessed that Bob Dylan, Stephen Tyler and Keith Richards would outlive Tom Petty. Saw Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers twice, great shows. He also had an interesting video with “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” RIP TP.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    “Don’t Come Around Here No More"

    Petty looked just like the Mad Hatter in Tenniel's original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, which I presume was the inspiration for the weird redneck sitar single.

    , @Steve Sailer
    “Don’t Come Around Here No More"

    Petty looked just like the Mad Hatter in Tenniel's original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, which I presume was the inspiration for the weird redneck sitar single.

    , @Hodag
    Shane McGowan outlived Tom Petty.

    Back when I had ears I saw Tom Petty a bunch of times. I remember the opening acts, 'til Tuesday one time (amazing), another time The Replacements (yes, they were drunk).

    Another time Steve Earle.

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  7. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Byrds have been a fav of mine, and Petty carried on that tradition and recorded some great songs.

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-chris-hillman-bidin-my-time-tom-petty-20170810-story.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Who was the other guy from the early 1960s who was a big influence on Petty? Del Shannon?
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  8. @Bubba
    I never would have guessed that Bob Dylan, Stephen Tyler and Keith Richards would outlive Tom Petty. Saw Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers twice, great shows. He also had an interesting video with "Don't Come Around Here No More." RIP TP.

    “Don’t Come Around Here No More”

    Petty looked just like the Mad Hatter in Tenniel’s original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, which I presume was the inspiration for the weird redneck sitar single.

    Read More
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  9. guest says:

    Like with a lot classic rockers who remained popular through my childhood–I have no memory of popular culture before 1987 or so–my experience of Petty is chronologically upside down. Early is late and late is early. I was familiar with the hits off of Full Moon Fever and Wildflower as a kid. Mary Jane’s Last Dance, along with its spooky music video, especially stands out in memory.

    Wasn’t until college that I got into the early Heartbreakers stuff. Though obviously I heard the older hits on the radio and in movies. I listened to the first four albums, self-titled through Hard Promises, but the sophomore effort, You’re Gonna Get It!, was my favorite.

    That happens to rock critics and hipsters too often, I think. The less popular stuff feels more like it belongs to them so they appreciate it more. I don’t generally feel that way. But there’s something about You’re Gonna Get It! It even has that rougher, punkier (a modifier I only use because it’s the right timeframe) sound that I don’t usually care for. My listening heart is fickle.

    I only wish Petty didn’t have that nasal, Dylanesque delivery.

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    • Agree: Thomas
    • Replies: @StillCARealist
    Petty's voice was awful in a way only a Dylan fan could appreciate. Not sure which was worse. Steven Tyler carries a tune nicely but he sounds like a hyena in labor. Mick Jagger also has a terrible voice.

    Ah, rock music. It's why I always will have a soft spot in my heart for punk. They didn't even try to pretend to be good singers or musicians.
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  10. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Jean Ralphio
    Always loved "You got lucky". Haven't seen the Running Down a Dream doc, but he's in the Jimmy Iovine/Dr. Dre doc that aired recently on HBO, and he's in Dave Grohl's Sound City about the LA recording studio.

    Always loved “You got lucky”.

    Yes, love that one too. Big part of youth. Petty songs bring back so many memories.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    The video that made MTV. Before it unmade itself.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtLpZWNyM0I

    Best video/artist in the original rotation.
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  11. @Bubba
    I never would have guessed that Bob Dylan, Stephen Tyler and Keith Richards would outlive Tom Petty. Saw Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers twice, great shows. He also had an interesting video with "Don't Come Around Here No More." RIP TP.

    “Don’t Come Around Here No More”

    Petty looked just like the Mad Hatter in Tenniel’s original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, which I presume was the inspiration for the weird redneck sitar single.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glaivester
    There's a recent movie "Barman and Harley Quinn" or some such (I haven't seen it, but have seen some reviews of it). There's a scene where Harley does a karaoke rendition of "Hanging on the Telephone" (which is apparently by a band called the Nerves, although I have only heard the Blondie version). I can't help but thinking that if they did a movie with Jervis Tetch (The Mad Hatter, inspired by the obvious source), that they could have him do "Don't Come Around Here No More."

    Also, Star Trek: The Next Generation had an episode "Phantasms" that featured a dream where Councilor Troi was a cake, just like Alice in that music video.
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  12. @Anon
    Byrds have been a fav of mine, and Petty carried on that tradition and recorded some great songs.

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-chris-hillman-bidin-my-time-tom-petty-20170810-story.html

    Who was the other guy from the early 1960s who was a big influence on Petty? Del Shannon?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Yes. Petty produced his comeback album if I recall. Then he committed suicide.
    , @guest
    There was Petty's fellow Travelling Wilburies bandmate, Bob Dylan, of course.

    Jeff Lyne from Electric Light Orchestra was also in the group, and he was massively influenced by Del Shannon. It's possible Petty could've followed Lyne's example some, because ELO came out a few years before the Heartbreakers.
    , @Anon
    I always thought Petty was the Keith Carradine of pop music.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6y47KcuI4Y
    , @Achmed E. Newman
    From Runnin' Down a Dream:

    "It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
    I had the radio on, I was drivin'
    Trees flew by, me and Del were singin' little Runaway
    I was flyin'.
    , @poolside
    Who was the other guy from the early 1960s who was a big influence on Petty? Del Shannon?

    Petty often cited Paul Revere and the Raiders as an early influence. There is a popular clip of him on YouTube covering "Steppin' Stone" in concert.
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  13. guest says:

    Another thing that stands out about Petty from early memory is how they dubbed over the “roll another joint” lyric from You Don’t Know How It Feels on the radio and in the video for being naughty. It sounded like they ran “joint” backwards to make “noij.”

    So let’s get–to the point
    Let’s roooll another nooooij

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  14. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Steve Sailer
    Who was the other guy from the early 1960s who was a big influence on Petty? Del Shannon?

    Yes. Petty produced his comeback album if I recall. Then he committed suicide.

    Read More
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  15. Hodag says:
    @Bubba
    I never would have guessed that Bob Dylan, Stephen Tyler and Keith Richards would outlive Tom Petty. Saw Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers twice, great shows. He also had an interesting video with "Don't Come Around Here No More." RIP TP.

    Shane McGowan outlived Tom Petty.

    Back when I had ears I saw Tom Petty a bunch of times. I remember the opening acts, ’til Tuesday one time (amazing), another time The Replacements (yes, they were drunk).

    Another time Steve Earle.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Gary in Gramercy
    Since this afternoon, a friend and I have been trading lists of rockers who, improbably, are still alive and kicking (well, in many cases, alive but not quite kicking) while younger or presumably less sybaritic rockers have gone to their eternal rest.

    The last version of my list had Shane MacGowan, Sly Stone and the four original members of Black Sabbath. I saw the Pogues in Boston, just after the Poguetry in Motion EP, maybe early 1986, and yes, Shane was drunk. Between that and his imperfect diction (what, no modern dentistry in Ireland by the 1980's?), you would have needed subtitles to decipher his lyrics. Great show, though.

    I used to have Keef at the top of the list, although by now, he's likely to outlive us all. Truly a Nietzsche devotee, whatever didn't kill him actually did make him stronger. Based on the oral history Please Kill Me, Iggy Pop should never have made it out of the '70's, yet he looks amazing, and by all accounts, has the energy of a man half, or even one-third, his age. Alice Cooper is said to stay healthy by playing incredible amounts of golf in Arizona.

    The Replacements would also make sense, except that Bob Stinson passed away decades ago. I saw them in 1985, right after Tim, at The Ritz (NYC; later Webster Hall), and yes, they were drunk. I think they played several shlocky '70's covers to start off their set (Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough," Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Taking Care Of Business," and if that wasn't bad enough, The DeFranco Family's chestnut, "Heartbeat, It's A Lovebeat") before getting down to their own material. Paul Westerberg must have cleaned up considerably since then; otherwise, well...

    Sorry to hear about Tom Petty; not my favorite, but a fine singer/songwriter with an ear for great riffs (the first thing I ever heard from him was "American Girl," back in 1976; like another terrific single released that year -- "Don't Fear The Reaper" -- I thought the Byrds had gotten back together before I found out the actual artist). Oh, that reminds me: David Crosby is still alive; who would have believed it?
    , @Bugg
    Shane McGowan is pickled in alcohol. He and Keith Richards are blessed with excellent genes and great chemistry.
    , @ken
    Lenny Kravitz opened for him in 90 or 91. Not a lenny fan, but it was an amazing show.

    Replacements opening for Petty: I passed out before the Mats took the stage.
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  16. guest says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Who was the other guy from the early 1960s who was a big influence on Petty? Del Shannon?

    There was Petty’s fellow Travelling Wilburies bandmate, Bob Dylan, of course.

    Jeff Lyne from Electric Light Orchestra was also in the group, and he was massively influenced by Del Shannon. It’s possible Petty could’ve followed Lyne’s example some, because ELO came out a few years before the Heartbreakers.

    Read More
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  17. Mr. Anon says:

    Wire services are reporting that Tom Petty has died.

    R.I.P. He was a good musician. I especially liked Running Down a Dream and Rescue Me. He always seemed like an un-pretentious guy – a professional musician who thought that what he had to offer you was his music, not his opinions.

    The story I read of his death said that he had “abused heroin in the 90s”. (Don’t they mean “used heroin”? How does one abuse something that has no legitimate or beneficial use?). Rock musicians might make an interesting study in the effects of illicit drug use on overall heath.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I don't know whether median rock stars die young or not. I used to assume so, but Chuck Berry made it to 90 and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis are still alive in their 80s. It could be that there are two factors: rock stars tend to be naturally vigorous and, on the other hand, all the drugs.
    , @guest
    When I hear the phrase "drug abuse," I think of it as abusing yourself with drugs. Saying "he abused heroin" could be a corruption of the sloppy "drug abuse" (i.e. self abuse with drugs) phrase, obviously intended to mean he abused himself with heroin.
    , @Jim Bob Lassiter
    " Rock musicians might make an interesting study in the effects of illicit drug use on overall heath."

    Indeed. Imagine being a med. school student in a group forensic (first knife) autopsy of Keith Richards.




    Image result for keith richard or keith richards





    Image result for keith richard or keith richards






    Image result for keith richard or keith richards






    Image result for keith richard or keith richards
    , @Tracy

    How does one abuse something that has no legitimate or beneficial use?
     
    Heroin does have "legitimate" and beneficial use, and is used medically in the UK under the name diamorphine. It's what pain patients sometimes turn to in the U.S. when their doctors passively allow the DEA to practice medicine, and in fear for their medical licenses, cut those patients off from legal pain relief.
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  18. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Steve Sailer
    Who was the other guy from the early 1960s who was a big influence on Petty? Del Shannon?

    I always thought Petty was the Keith Carradine of pop music.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    He's off-tune here and there. Strange.
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  19. @Mr. Anon
    Wire services are reporting that Tom Petty has died.

    R.I.P. He was a good musician. I especially liked Running Down a Dream and Rescue Me. He always seemed like an un-pretentious guy - a professional musician who thought that what he had to offer you was his music, not his opinions.

    The story I read of his death said that he had "abused heroin in the 90s". (Don't they mean "used heroin"? How does one abuse something that has no legitimate or beneficial use?). Rock musicians might make an interesting study in the effects of illicit drug use on overall heath.

    I don’t know whether median rock stars die young or not. I used to assume so, but Chuck Berry made it to 90 and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis are still alive in their 80s. It could be that there are two factors: rock stars tend to be naturally vigorous and, on the other hand, all the drugs.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bugg
    Mike Judge of "Idiocracy", "King of the Hill" (on which Petty had a recurring role) and "Beavis and Butthead" right now has a quasi-cartoon show on Cinemax now about country music stars called "Tales from the Tour Bus". First episodes were about Johnny Paycheck and Jerry Lee Lewis. Only a half hour long, not terribly heavy, pretty funny.
    , @anonymous
    Great way to die though. Massive cardiac event and never wake up.
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  20. guest says:
    @Mr. Anon
    Wire services are reporting that Tom Petty has died.

    R.I.P. He was a good musician. I especially liked Running Down a Dream and Rescue Me. He always seemed like an un-pretentious guy - a professional musician who thought that what he had to offer you was his music, not his opinions.

    The story I read of his death said that he had "abused heroin in the 90s". (Don't they mean "used heroin"? How does one abuse something that has no legitimate or beneficial use?). Rock musicians might make an interesting study in the effects of illicit drug use on overall heath.

    When I hear the phrase “drug abuse,” I think of it as abusing yourself with drugs. Saying “he abused heroin” could be a corruption of the sloppy “drug abuse” (i.e. self abuse with drugs) phrase, obviously intended to mean he abused himself with heroin.

    Read More
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  21. Of the five Wilbury members, only two are left. But heart attacks and cancer killed them, best I can tell. I’d heard Petty kicked his late-developing drug habit.

    I became fully aware of Petty in the early 90s–I pretty much missed all of the 80s music the first time around, and was overseas in the 70s. I knew the name, and probably heard some of his music, but don’t think I was completely conscious of who he was until 1991. And even then, it was another decade before I knew that “the song in Silence of the Lambs” was Petty. Ironically, American Girl is my favorite of his songs.

    I don’t think he broke up with his band. Many of them played on his solo albums.

    He had a 20 year run of producing new music, from American Girl to You Don’t Know How it Feels, and he died only a few days after finishing a 40th anniversary tour, at home with his family. Not bad. Sad, though.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    With Petty, it's not like he didn't fulfill his potential, like say Buddy Holly dying at 23. It's sad he didn't live another 20 years, but he did an excellent job of making use of his gifts for a long time.

    A life well lived.
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  22. This explains why the restaurant/bar I was in this evening was playing Tom Petty nonstop, and the best stuff too. I didn’t know until I just read your post, Steve.

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are special to me, because they and Pat Beaneater came on the radio to PUT AN END TO DISCO. It’s probably just me, but hearing that actual rock-and-roll after 2 – 3 years (a long time were you are very young) of disco was such a relief. We thought the disco was going to go on forever, but then Don’t Want to Live Like a Refugee came on the radio! It was the same time Pat Benetar’s Heartbreaker came on too (not that she is a like talent, hence my friend’s moniker for her later on).

    My favorites are Louisiana Rain, Free Falling, Learning to Fly (I think the latter of those last 2, BTW is about skydiving also – real flying), and Southern Accents for the ballads, then my favorite rockers would be Listen to her Heart (with that great bass line), The Waiting, Rebels, Running Down a Dream, and American Girl. I guess Jammin Me would be my favorite for lyrics.

    Take back Vanessa Redgrave
    Take back Joe Piscopo
    Take back Eddie Murphy
    Give ‘em all some place to go

    BTW, when I listen to that disco now, I think that, no it’s no rock and roll but not so bad. Man, what the kids have had to put up with for 2 DECADES now with the hip/hop crap makes the disco era a walk in the park in comparison.

    Read More
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  23. @Anon
    I always thought Petty was the Keith Carradine of pop music.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6y47KcuI4Y

    He’s off-tune here and there. Strange.

    Read More
    • Replies: @bomag

    ...off-tune here and there
     
    Looks like the director asked for a romantically nervous, amateur performance. I think it adds to the scene.
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  24. Instead of the arguing back and forth, I’m glad for a break. Most of the iSteve people seem to have good taste in music, and it’s something that brings people together.

    I saw a great Tom Petty Halloween show one year in a small-enough venue – not one of those stadium shows where you barely see they guy or band. Anyway, he had a big old fake Live Oak tree on the stage and other props for Halloween – what a great show! RIP Tom Petty.

    Hey, hey, hey (hey, hey, hey)
    I was born a rebel.
    Down in Dixie on a Sunday morning.
    Yeah with one foot in the grave
    and one foot on the pedal,
    I was born a rebel.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sam Haysom
    To me it was Rebel that best captured the mixture of orneriness and amiability that Steve's identifies up above. Kind of like Huck Finn to be honest.
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  25. @Steve Sailer
    Who was the other guy from the early 1960s who was a big influence on Petty? Del Shannon?

    From Runnin’ Down a Dream:

    “It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
    I had the radio on, I was drivin’
    Trees flew by, me and Del were singin’ little Runaway
    I was flyin’.

    Read More
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  26. @Achmed E. Newman
    Instead of the arguing back and forth, I'm glad for a break. Most of the iSteve people seem to have good taste in music, and it's something that brings people together.

    I saw a great Tom Petty Halloween show one year in a small-enough venue - not one of those stadium shows where you barely see they guy or band. Anyway, he had a big old fake Live Oak tree on the stage and other props for Halloween - what a great show! RIP Tom Petty.

    "Hey, hey, hey (hey, hey, hey)
    I was born a rebel.
    Down in Dixie on a Sunday morning.
    Yeah with one foot in the grave
    and one foot on the pedal,
    I was born a rebel.
    "

    To me it was Rebel that best captured the mixture of orneriness and amiability that Steve’s identifies up above. Kind of like Huck Finn to be honest.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Matra
    To me it was Rebel that best captured the mixture of orneriness and amiability that Steve’s identifies up above.

    Didn't he recently express regret about the Confederate Battle Flag in the video for that song? It suddenly became difficult to find the Rebels video right after the Charleston killings.

    The last time I heard him was on some radio show. I was flipping through the stations in a car which came with a free preview of XM Sirius when I heard Petty discussing and playing rare tracks that he liked. Before one of them he said something like "I don't know about you but this week I've been feeling down". Since it was the end of the week that Trump was elected I took it as a virtue-signal to fashionable opinion.

    Anyway, I liked everything through Southern Accents. The first single, “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, was a weird, even brave - given how important first singles were then - choice for a guy who'd been away for a long time and with his particular fanbase. It worked though because it grew on most listeners, with the innovative video - his first of the new MTV age (post-83) - helping in that respect.

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  27. RIP. He first came to my attention with the video with Kim Basinger for Last Dance With Mary Jane. Lots of good tunes. My two favourites were The Waiting and Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, the duet with Stevie Nicks.

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  28. “Chuck Berry made it to 90 and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis are still alive in their 80s.”

    Dylan is 76, as is Charlie Watts. Jagger and Richard are 74. McCartney’s 74, Clapton is 72. CSN&Y are all from 72-76. Diana Ross 73, Smokey Robinson, 77. Henley and Santana both turned 70. Basically, all the big names from the 60s are in their 70s, all the big 70s bands are approaching 70.

    Every second of Keith Richard’s last 50 years is borrowed. But apart from that, I don’t see any reason why these guys shouldn’t live another ten years, barring a sudden heart attack like Petty. Most of them have done quite a bit of drug abuse and boozing, too.

    Heart attacks kill a lot of musicians who make it past overdoses. George Harrison and Levon Helm died of cancer, but I don’t remember a lot of others. But Robert Palmer, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Jerry Garcia, Rick Danko, John Phillips, etc.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hodag
    Brian Wilson is 75 and tours worldwide constantly.
    , @Autochthon
    Robert Palmer was a racist! He famously relocated from the Bahamas to Switzerland in 1993, supposedly to escape crime and violence, but we all know it was really to be near white people and avoid Negroes, and race has absolutely no correlation with behaviour.

    There, now we’ve a human biodiversity angle.
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  29. @Buzz Mohawk
    My favorite Tom Petty quote is what he said about Rock and Roll:

    "It's not supposed to be really good."

    My favorite Tom Petty quote is what he said about Rock and Roll:

    “It’s not supposed to be really good.”

    I

    I do sit through operas and I visit rock concerts.

    One of the best performances ever was by Jackson Browne with his fabulous band (7 members, if I remember right. He played 2015 here in Konstanz)

    What rock musicians achieve is, that they realize freedom, so to speak, and the interaction on the stage can grow, grow, grow, just because Rock Music “is not supposed to be really good”. Result can be some sort of dionysian trance – deep and impressive stuff – cf. Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

    II

    Whereas with operas: The performance consists in large parts in the effort, to try to fullfil the since ages established pretty high standards. That leaves very little room for the shere pelasure and at times abundant joy of the musicians and the dionysian part is almost invisible – it’s consumed, almost, by the technical difficulty of opera-singing and asks for lots and lots of discipline, subordination and the like from the singers especially.

    I like baroque singer Simone Kermes a lot, she at times comes very close to the realm of the rock-freedom.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYzqCz7J-W0 – here’s Kermes singing in my birth town near Heidelberg. Sigh.

    III

    Jazz as a genre seems to be a very good compromise between discipline and freedom. If played perfectly well, it might be beyond our human cpacities – cf. Keith Jarrett’s – destiny.

    Sub Jarrett but extremely impressive both as artists who are technically brilliant (=disciplined) and emotionally “free” – Branford Marsalis’ Quartett. Wayne Shorter Quartett – up until 2008, ca.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    Nice writeup. I think you've got it right.

    What makes good rock good is a rough groove, without too much polish. (It's supposed to be blue suede, not patent leather.) I think that's what Petty meant. He did it best.

    Overproduction is a problem in popular music, while inability to translate the record into performance is typical. Petty never had this problem.
    , @guest
    Jazz and rock (which share roots, of course) are performer's arts. (In the hands of a Spector, Wilson, Martin, or Jones, rocks is a producer's art, as well. I suppose that may be true of jazz music, but I'm not familiar with their recordings past a certain time.) Classical music is a composer's art. That's roughly speaking.

    Jazz and rock musicians alike aren't trying to get across a precise musical idea. It can be and ideally is different with every performance. (I don't care for rockstars to try and replicate their albums on stage. Unless the album's have a live feel to them.)

    As far as opera goes, like all classical music it has evolved to be played very precisely, note for note, mark for mark, Italian direction for Italian direction. When you get to up to like 40 or 50 bodies in the orchestra, or however it is with the late romantics and proto-moderns--who suffered from gigantism--with God knows how many instruments, you absolutely require a conductor to pull it together. I daresay talented, professional singers and instrumentalists could pull off Mozart on their own. But Wagner, for instance, no. You can't do without a guiding hand.

    Which is probably why as classical music got more and more diverse in harmony and timbre in the romantic era, great composers went from typically being virtuosic players of instruments--Bach: organ, Mozart and Beethoven: piano, etc.--to being virtuosic conductors. That's true of Berlioz, Wagner, and Mahler. My point is, look to the conductor to find freedom in opera.

    He'll be guiding the performances in the pit, certainly, and though singers have a bit more liberty, them, too. Conductors have some leeway to make it their own, in rehearsal and on the big nights.
    , @Yak-15
    Jazz is great until they ad lib into a squeaky riffs and random upticks as though someone stepped on a cat.
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  30. el topo says:

    Petty was from northern Florida, the “Southern” part of Florida, and that was a big part of his identity and music.

    He paid tribute to his Southern heritage in the fine “Southern Accents” album, which featured the song ‘Rebels’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKmF4CkroJQ

    “Even before my father’s father
    They called us all rebels
    As they burned our corn fields
    And left our cities levelled…”

    Here is the full-length version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jBi8XfKzk0

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    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    Here's an awesome live version of Rebels at MTV Live Aid, 07/13/85

    https://youtu.be/6RN7lv9Xn2I?t=4
    , @Olorin
    After two decades of unfettered leftist attacks on the Second Amendment, Florida became the first state to implement shall-issue concealed carry, in 1987.

    This (published '89 IIRC) became an anthem of this RKBA movement:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1II7B7rjhMw

    Or:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8i5NLyXZdc

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  31. Hey Steve, I know you can’t have 100 video clips on here, but this is something different that I’d almost forgotten about, and you are a movie buff. Tom Petty has a “cameo” part in a move called “Made in Heaven” from about 30 years ago. It’d be probably called a chick flick, but it’s a cool movie about reincarnation.

    His big line is “I wonder what her childhood was like.”

    Tom Petty, as Stanky, with the skank Lucille (?) and Timothy Hutton as Elmo, the co-star of the movie with Kellie McGillis.

    BTW, Rick Ocasek of The Cars plays a short part as a car mechanic and Neil Young is an OTR trucker who picks up the hitchhiking Timothy Hutton.

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    • Replies: @el topo
    Thanks for the clip. I had completely forgotten about that movie - if I ever knew it existed - and I like Alan Rudolph a lot.
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  32. @education realist
    Of the five Wilbury members, only two are left. But heart attacks and cancer killed them, best I can tell. I'd heard Petty kicked his late-developing drug habit.

    I became fully aware of Petty in the early 90s--I pretty much missed all of the 80s music the first time around, and was overseas in the 70s. I knew the name, and probably heard some of his music, but don't think I was completely conscious of who he was until 1991. And even then, it was another decade before I knew that "the song in Silence of the Lambs" was Petty. Ironically, American Girl is my favorite of his songs.

    I don't think he broke up with his band. Many of them played on his solo albums.

    He had a 20 year run of producing new music, from American Girl to You Don't Know How it Feels, and he died only a few days after finishing a 40th anniversary tour, at home with his family. Not bad. Sad, though.

    With Petty, it’s not like he didn’t fulfill his potential, like say Buddy Holly dying at 23. It’s sad he didn’t live another 20 years, but he did an excellent job of making use of his gifts for a long time.

    A life well lived.

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    • Agree: Buzz Mohawk, Desiderius
    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    One thing I liked about Petty, apart from the superb songwriting and music (and Scots-Irish heritage) was that, whenever I paid attention to him, he was blessedly apolitical, at least when facing the public. I've no doubt in private he was likely a garden variety entertainment industry lib (how could one not be when exposed/marinated in that environment continuously). And certainly some posters here can find a quote or two where he let it slip. But he knew that to be a successful entertainer, you keep your politics mostly quiet (or simple and inoffensive when queried) to appeal to the widest fan base possible.
    , @NorthOfTheOneOhOne
    Petty never had a Thriller or Sgt Pepper's that pushed him over the top. Every album he put out from 1976 until 1994 had at least one track that got significant airplay. That's unusually consistent for a rock act.
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  33. I saw Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers three times in the ’80s all at the old Boston Garden. I still listen to their music every day.

    The live version of Refugee is my favorite

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  34. @Hodag
    Shane McGowan outlived Tom Petty.

    Back when I had ears I saw Tom Petty a bunch of times. I remember the opening acts, 'til Tuesday one time (amazing), another time The Replacements (yes, they were drunk).

    Another time Steve Earle.

    Since this afternoon, a friend and I have been trading lists of rockers who, improbably, are still alive and kicking (well, in many cases, alive but not quite kicking) while younger or presumably less sybaritic rockers have gone to their eternal rest.

    The last version of my list had Shane MacGowan, Sly Stone and the four original members of Black Sabbath. I saw the Pogues in Boston, just after the Poguetry in Motion EP, maybe early 1986, and yes, Shane was drunk. Between that and his imperfect diction (what, no modern dentistry in Ireland by the 1980′s?), you would have needed subtitles to decipher his lyrics. Great show, though.

    I used to have Keef at the top of the list, although by now, he’s likely to outlive us all. Truly a Nietzsche devotee, whatever didn’t kill him actually did make him stronger. Based on the oral history Please Kill Me, Iggy Pop should never have made it out of the ’70′s, yet he looks amazing, and by all accounts, has the energy of a man half, or even one-third, his age. Alice Cooper is said to stay healthy by playing incredible amounts of golf in Arizona.

    The Replacements would also make sense, except that Bob Stinson passed away decades ago. I saw them in 1985, right after Tim, at The Ritz (NYC; later Webster Hall), and yes, they were drunk. I think they played several shlocky ’70′s covers to start off their set (Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Enough,” Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care Of Business,” and if that wasn’t bad enough, The DeFranco Family’s chestnut, “Heartbeat, It’s A Lovebeat”) before getting down to their own material. Paul Westerberg must have cleaned up considerably since then; otherwise, well…

    Sorry to hear about Tom Petty; not my favorite, but a fine singer/songwriter with an ear for great riffs (the first thing I ever heard from him was “American Girl,” back in 1976; like another terrific single released that year — “Don’t Fear The Reaper” — I thought the Byrds had gotten back together before I found out the actual artist). Oh, that reminds me: David Crosby is still alive; who would have believed it?

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    • Replies: @JMcG
    I can vouch for no modern dentistry in Ireland by the 1980’s, though Shane MacGowan was mostly reared in England.
    The young women in Ireland were not spectacular in the 80’s. Something happened in the 90’s that turned the whole place around. Well, Charlie McCreevey and the Celtic Tiger happened I suppose.
    Anyway, I’ve never seen Shane McGowan finish a Pogues concert. He demolished a 5th of Jack Daniels when I saw him during the If I Should Fall From Grace With God your. I’m gobsmacked he’s still drawing breath.
    I play some guitar, and Petty songs are fun to play and easy to carry off around a campfire.
    American Girl and Rebels are tops for me. I was returning from Florida after helping to restore power down there a couple weeks ago and we happened to do a couple of miles on 441, like waves crashing on a beach. RIP Tom Petty
    , @slumber_j

    I saw them in 1985, right after Tim, at The Ritz (NYC; later Webster Hall), and yes, they were drunk. I think they played several shlocky ’70′s covers to start off their set (Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Enough,” Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care Of Business,” and if that wasn’t bad enough, The DeFranco Family’s chestnut, “Heartbeat, It’s A Lovebeat”)
     
    I have pretty good reason to believe that I was forced to get on stage with The Replacements to sing lead vocals on Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" at The Channel in Boston in the summer of 1986. But I don't think I remember doing it.
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  35. Neoconned says:
    @EriK
    I confess I was never a huge Tom Petty fan until I saw the documentary Running Down a Dream. It was great. Amazing he was creating such good music right under my nose for so many years and I hardly noticed.

    Not a big fan.

    But hes 1 of those guys they play all the time in fast food places over the satellite radio feed.

    Not my cup of tea but to each their own…..

    Read More
    • Replies: @NoWeltschmerz
    As in: "This guy...this is not my kinda guy?"
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  36. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Pretty sure the US festival headliner was Van Halen.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    3 nights.
    , @It's All Ball Bearings
    It wasn't Oingo Boingo?
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  37. I had never heard of Tom Petty till a patient said that she could cope with plane flights only by listening to Tom Petty full blast on headphones. I nodded sagely, and then looked him up. Wildflowers was the first album I went through, and it accompanied me on trips round Europe, so his voice got into my head, with the sun going down over Barajas airport: a strange way to hear a singer.
    No cheating: if I look back at my list of starred tracks I find: Jammin’ Me; Learning to Fly; Green Onions;To Find a Friend. That was a few years ago. In recent months: I Won’t Back Down.
    Most of those, by the way, in their Live versions. The best songs are the ones the audience sing themselves after the first opening chords are heard.
    RIP and thanks for the music.

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    • Replies: @Jake
    My favorite Tom Petty songs: The Waiting (the live version on Pack up the Plantation is especially good); American Girl; Southern Accents; Rebels; Insider (again, the live version is superb); Free Falling; Listen to Her Heart; I Won't BackDown; You Wreck Me; King's Highway. The Last DJ is a fine album about the music business ruining the music.
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  38. @Dieter Kief

    My favorite Tom Petty quote is what he said about Rock and Roll:

    “It’s not supposed to be really good.”
     

    I

    I do sit through operas and I visit rock concerts.

    One of the best performances ever was by Jackson Browne with his fabulous band (7 members, if I remember right. He played 2015 here in Konstanz)

    What rock musicians achieve is, that they realize freedom, so to speak, and the interaction on the stage can grow, grow, grow, just because Rock Music "is not supposed to be really good". Result can be some sort of dionysian trance - deep and impressive stuff - cf. Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

    II

    Whereas with operas: The performance consists in large parts in the effort, to try to fullfil the since ages established pretty high standards. That leaves very little room for the shere pelasure and at times abundant joy of the musicians and the dionysian part is almost invisible - it's consumed, almost, by the technical difficulty of opera-singing and asks for lots and lots of discipline, subordination and the like from the singers especially.

    I like baroque singer Simone Kermes a lot, she at times comes very close to the realm of the rock-freedom.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYzqCz7J-W0 - here's Kermes singing in my birth town near Heidelberg. Sigh.


    III

    Jazz as a genre seems to be a very good compromise between discipline and freedom. If played perfectly well, it might be beyond our human cpacities - cf. Keith Jarrett's - destiny.

    Sub Jarrett but extremely impressive both as artists who are technically brilliant (=disciplined) and emotionally "free" - Branford Marsalis' Quartett. Wayne Shorter Quartett - up until 2008, ca.

    Nice writeup. I think you’ve got it right.

    What makes good rock good is a rough groove, without too much polish. (It’s supposed to be blue suede, not patent leather.) I think that’s what Petty meant. He did it best.

    Overproduction is a problem in popular music, while inability to translate the record into performance is typical. Petty never had this problem.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    "Popular music" as we use the term means, I think, commercial music. Which isn't always distinct from folk music, that being music that typically doesn't have a known author and is handed down by regular people from generation to generation. (It also has the autochthonous meaning, but I'm not going to bother with that.) If pop music survives long enough to become traditional, it's basically folk. And folk status should be desired by all writers and musicians of popular music, I think, even if they're out to make a buck.

    Stephen Foster, for instance, wrote for profit. Publishers mass produced sheet music, and minstrel shows toured on it. 170 or whatever years later, how many millions of people have sung and played Oh! Susanna or Camptown Races without paying for it or knowing/caring who wrote it?

    At some point pop songs stopped being written to be passed on orally. At the beginning of rock, it was mostly enjoyed--meaning sung and danced to--in the moment, or consumed passively. Now it's almost entirely consumed passively. So people won't be passing much on.

    The "concept album" or art album, which Petty didn't go for, wasn't transferable to the stage in many cases because it was made to be consumed as an album. Petty was firmly in the Old Rock camp, which was about enjoying rock in the moment, and his live performances reflect that.

    , @E. Rekshun
    What makes good rock good is a rough groove, without too much polish.

    And no auto-tune like today's rappers and music performers.
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  39. guest says:
    @Dieter Kief

    My favorite Tom Petty quote is what he said about Rock and Roll:

    “It’s not supposed to be really good.”
     

    I

    I do sit through operas and I visit rock concerts.

    One of the best performances ever was by Jackson Browne with his fabulous band (7 members, if I remember right. He played 2015 here in Konstanz)

    What rock musicians achieve is, that they realize freedom, so to speak, and the interaction on the stage can grow, grow, grow, just because Rock Music "is not supposed to be really good". Result can be some sort of dionysian trance - deep and impressive stuff - cf. Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

    II

    Whereas with operas: The performance consists in large parts in the effort, to try to fullfil the since ages established pretty high standards. That leaves very little room for the shere pelasure and at times abundant joy of the musicians and the dionysian part is almost invisible - it's consumed, almost, by the technical difficulty of opera-singing and asks for lots and lots of discipline, subordination and the like from the singers especially.

    I like baroque singer Simone Kermes a lot, she at times comes very close to the realm of the rock-freedom.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYzqCz7J-W0 - here's Kermes singing in my birth town near Heidelberg. Sigh.


    III

    Jazz as a genre seems to be a very good compromise between discipline and freedom. If played perfectly well, it might be beyond our human cpacities - cf. Keith Jarrett's - destiny.

    Sub Jarrett but extremely impressive both as artists who are technically brilliant (=disciplined) and emotionally "free" - Branford Marsalis' Quartett. Wayne Shorter Quartett - up until 2008, ca.

    Jazz and rock (which share roots, of course) are performer’s arts. (In the hands of a Spector, Wilson, Martin, or Jones, rocks is a producer’s art, as well. I suppose that may be true of jazz music, but I’m not familiar with their recordings past a certain time.) Classical music is a composer’s art. That’s roughly speaking.

    Jazz and rock musicians alike aren’t trying to get across a precise musical idea. It can be and ideally is different with every performance. (I don’t care for rockstars to try and replicate their albums on stage. Unless the album’s have a live feel to them.)

    As far as opera goes, like all classical music it has evolved to be played very precisely, note for note, mark for mark, Italian direction for Italian direction. When you get to up to like 40 or 50 bodies in the orchestra, or however it is with the late romantics and proto-moderns–who suffered from gigantism–with God knows how many instruments, you absolutely require a conductor to pull it together. I daresay talented, professional singers and instrumentalists could pull off Mozart on their own. But Wagner, for instance, no. You can’t do without a guiding hand.

    Which is probably why as classical music got more and more diverse in harmony and timbre in the romantic era, great composers went from typically being virtuosic players of instruments–Bach: organ, Mozart and Beethoven: piano, etc.–to being virtuosic conductors. That’s true of Berlioz, Wagner, and Mahler. My point is, look to the conductor to find freedom in opera.

    He’ll be guiding the performances in the pit, certainly, and though singers have a bit more liberty, them, too. Conductors have some leeway to make it their own, in rehearsal and on the big nights.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dieter Kief

    to being virtuosic conductors. That’s true of Berlioz, Wagner, and Mahler. My point is, look to the conductor to find freedom in opera.
     
    Yeah right - it's top down, which has it's merits.

    Rock is bottom up - and that has it's merits, too.

    (We might agree that freedom can work both ways - as a consequence of insight/discipline (classical music, rather top down) and as a consequence of playfulness/spontaneity (Rock band, rather bottom up)).

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  40. guest says:
    @Buzz Mohawk
    Nice writeup. I think you've got it right.

    What makes good rock good is a rough groove, without too much polish. (It's supposed to be blue suede, not patent leather.) I think that's what Petty meant. He did it best.

    Overproduction is a problem in popular music, while inability to translate the record into performance is typical. Petty never had this problem.

    “Popular music” as we use the term means, I think, commercial music. Which isn’t always distinct from folk music, that being music that typically doesn’t have a known author and is handed down by regular people from generation to generation. (It also has the autochthonous meaning, but I’m not going to bother with that.) If pop music survives long enough to become traditional, it’s basically folk. And folk status should be desired by all writers and musicians of popular music, I think, even if they’re out to make a buck.

    Stephen Foster, for instance, wrote for profit. Publishers mass produced sheet music, and minstrel shows toured on it. 170 or whatever years later, how many millions of people have sung and played Oh! Susanna or Camptown Races without paying for it or knowing/caring who wrote it?

    At some point pop songs stopped being written to be passed on orally. At the beginning of rock, it was mostly enjoyed–meaning sung and danced to–in the moment, or consumed passively. Now it’s almost entirely consumed passively. So people won’t be passing much on.

    The “concept album” or art album, which Petty didn’t go for, wasn’t transferable to the stage in many cases because it was made to be consumed as an album. Petty was firmly in the Old Rock camp, which was about enjoying rock in the moment, and his live performances reflect that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    There are exceptions, obviously. The Beatles stopped touring (for technical reasons, however, not because they weren't writing playable music) and made art albums. The kind you stereotypically listened to in beanbag chairs with headphones on. But their music will be passed on.
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  41. @Anon
    Pretty sure the US festival headliner was Van Halen.

    3 nights.

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  42. guest says:
    @guest
    "Popular music" as we use the term means, I think, commercial music. Which isn't always distinct from folk music, that being music that typically doesn't have a known author and is handed down by regular people from generation to generation. (It also has the autochthonous meaning, but I'm not going to bother with that.) If pop music survives long enough to become traditional, it's basically folk. And folk status should be desired by all writers and musicians of popular music, I think, even if they're out to make a buck.

    Stephen Foster, for instance, wrote for profit. Publishers mass produced sheet music, and minstrel shows toured on it. 170 or whatever years later, how many millions of people have sung and played Oh! Susanna or Camptown Races without paying for it or knowing/caring who wrote it?

    At some point pop songs stopped being written to be passed on orally. At the beginning of rock, it was mostly enjoyed--meaning sung and danced to--in the moment, or consumed passively. Now it's almost entirely consumed passively. So people won't be passing much on.

    The "concept album" or art album, which Petty didn't go for, wasn't transferable to the stage in many cases because it was made to be consumed as an album. Petty was firmly in the Old Rock camp, which was about enjoying rock in the moment, and his live performances reflect that.

    There are exceptions, obviously. The Beatles stopped touring (for technical reasons, however, not because they weren’t writing playable music) and made art albums. The kind you stereotypically listened to in beanbag chairs with headphones on. But their music will be passed on.

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    • Replies: @Bitfu
    I enjoyed your comments here. Thank you for the insight.
    , @Autochthon
    Great points. The business about so-called concept albums or art music, though, is bit more nuanced. The over-produced stuff (i.e., that which incorporates artifice to create a work which exceeds the musician’s actual abilities) indeed suffers and becomes unable to be meaningfully performed live. This is, generally, the over-produced claptrap by hacks, not genuinely sophisticated work; ironically, the claptrap could indeed easily enough be performed by musicians with chops.

    Thus, Yes, Genesis, Rush, Dream Theater, Marillion, and Pink Floyd – all composed of musical geniuses – very handily perform(ed) sophisticated, lengthy pieces live night after night. To be sure, a debt is owed to enabling technology, particularly synthesisers (which become an orchestra in the hands of folks like Jordan Rudess, Rick Wakeman, Mark Kelly, and Tony Banks...) and pedals and MIDI (watch Geddy Lee perform songs like “Mission” or “Grand Designs”: he alternates from his bass to his keyboards seamlessly, all the while triggering sounds with his feet).

    Add to the technology the social acceptance and financing now available for rock ‘n’ roll which enables actual orchestras – performing with the likes of Kiss, the Pet Shop Boys, Steve Vai, and many of the folks already mentioned – and reproducing sophsiticated or lenghty stuff live is possible and indeed common in a way it admittedly was not in days of yore.

    Now, some would argue about whether such work is “true” or “proper” rock ‘n’ roll, a question reasonable persons can disagree on but which my point does not address and which I reckon is uninteresting and semantic anyhow.

    Now, think of so called musicians like Kesha, Madonna, most current rappers, and so on: their overproduced stuff: autotuned all to Hell, full of weird effects that cannot even be reproduced in real time with a synthesiser but must essentilly be played as backing tracks, etc. That stuff is bad live, in many cases, because no actual instruments were used to create the music in the first instance and, in many cases, the vocalist has a great rack but cannot find middel C on a piano or sing to save her life. In the hands of talented musicians, though, the stuff would be easy enough to perform (though still a bad composition; think of having Olivier perform in a film by Jerry Bruckheimer...).

    The example that is screaming at me as inapposite to my entire theory right now is the Beatles: talented musicians whose later work was over-ambitious and predated the synthesisers, pedals, and availability of orchestras, and who also may have lacked the virtuosic, multi-instrumentalist coordination of a Michael Rutherford, Mike Keneally, or Derek Sherinian (let’s be honest, Ringo Starr is no Mike Mangini, and Paul McCartney no Chris Squire...). What’s more, most of that sophisticated stuff wasthe work of collaborators like Phil Spector as much or more so than of the Beatles themselves. (Trevor Rabin writes scores for orchestra when he is not shreddding with an electric guitar; John Lennon was less inclined toward that kind og thing). Hence, no touring for the Fab Four’s later, symphonically driven works. (I also think increasing conflict among the members and divergent interests contributed to their not wanting to tour together – much easier to record an album with someone who’s annoying you than to share a stage with him...).

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  43. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
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  44. cd says:

    This might not be popular, but I’ll say this now.

    I think Petty might have been committed a little bit of unconscious plagiarism. I never had the guts to say it in mixed company, because it was off Juice Newton.

    I’ll let ya’ll guess the Petty hit song that may have borrowed off poor Juice…

    But hey, maybe I’m wrong!!

    I just don’t think I am. Again, I’ve never made an issue of it because it’s like telling people your uncle copped a feel. If he doesn’t do it again, maybe it never happened…

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    • Replies: @Anon
    I think it's standard practice. I have a book of old English poetry - one of the poems contains most of the lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Hard Rain".
    , @MEH 0910
    Pass any credit due back to Dave Edmunds.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_of_Hearts_(Hank_DeVito_song)

    Queen of Hearts is a country-pop song written by Hank DeVito, the pedal steel guitarist in Emmylou Harris' backing group The Hot Band, and was first recorded by Dave Edmunds on his 1979 album Repeat When Necessary.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeat_When_Necessary#Content

    and the Hank DeVito-penned "Queen of Hearts" are among the highlights of this album. Juice Newton would cover "Queen of Hearts" in an arrangement virtually identical to Edmunds' on Juice, her 1981 breakthrough album.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPXVuysk5s8
    , @anon
    Which one was it? I'm stumped.

    ..........And thanks for posting that Juice Newton song. I hadn't heard that in decades. That's a killer song. Kinda gots that rockabilly beat going with some good sustained singing over top. Hard to beat. The chorus might be a little too sing-song-y. But all in all, a true classic from the era that is now totally forgotten. I wonder how many other songs that were pretty awesome and were big hits get kinda lost in the shuffle like that.
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  45. @Anon
    Always loved “You got lucky”.

    Yes, love that one too. Big part of youth. Petty songs bring back so many memories.

    The video that made MTV. Before it unmade itself.

    Best video/artist in the original rotation.

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  46. bomag says:
    @Dieter Kief
    He's off-tune here and there. Strange.

    …off-tune here and there

    Looks like the director asked for a romantically nervous, amateur performance. I think it adds to the scene.

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    • Replies: @Dieter Kief

    Looks like the director asked for a romantically nervous, amateur performance. I think it adds to the scene.
     
    Oh, thank you - now I dig what he's doing here eheh - i. o. w. - that then makes for a great performance!
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  47. @Steve Sailer
    With Petty, it's not like he didn't fulfill his potential, like say Buddy Holly dying at 23. It's sad he didn't live another 20 years, but he did an excellent job of making use of his gifts for a long time.

    A life well lived.

    One thing I liked about Petty, apart from the superb songwriting and music (and Scots-Irish heritage) was that, whenever I paid attention to him, he was blessedly apolitical, at least when facing the public. I’ve no doubt in private he was likely a garden variety entertainment industry lib (how could one not be when exposed/marinated in that environment continuously). And certainly some posters here can find a quote or two where he let it slip. But he knew that to be a successful entertainer, you keep your politics mostly quiet (or simple and inoffensive when queried) to appeal to the widest fan base possible.

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  48. @EriK
    I confess I was never a huge Tom Petty fan until I saw the documentary Running Down a Dream. It was great. Amazing he was creating such good music right under my nose for so many years and I hardly noticed.

    If that’s the same documentary I’m thinking of, to me, he did come off as a bit of dick (if it had been a more independent documentary, I wonder just how much more so), although you are correct, he is a seemingly endless font of creativity.

    On reflection, it occurred to me that he is that jerk musician that seemingly everyone has known at one time or another, but in his case he has the talent to make it stand up. Love the music, not sure I’d want to hang around with him..

    I’m actually sort of surprised that Mr Sailer didn’t immediately zero in on his landmark (at least in the annals of entertainment law) case where he was able to get out of an extremely bad contract by pre-emptively declaring bankruptcy.

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    • Replies: @Dnought
    In his early career at least, he was defiantly apolitical. I remember an interview with Petty I read in the late seventies or early eighties where he stated as much, and expressed a rather contemptuous attitude toward leftish political activists, and he did so with a sort of punkish bravado. At the time my apolitical self thought that was very cool. He may have changed over time though.
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  49. @bomag

    ...off-tune here and there
     
    Looks like the director asked for a romantically nervous, amateur performance. I think it adds to the scene.

    Looks like the director asked for a romantically nervous, amateur performance. I think it adds to the scene.

    Oh, thank you – now I dig what he’s doing here eheh – i. o. w. – that then makes for a great performance!

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  50. Sad occasion. But I want to add this anyway: I know of no other place on earth, where I could find as many interesting thoughts about Tom Petty (and the USA) – beginning with Steve Sailer’s post, of course.
    This blog is quite something.

    Most important sentence about Tom Petty:

    “A life well lived.”

    (Steve Sailer)

    RIP

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  51. Saw the same tour with Dylan and agree that Petty was much more entertaining.
    Bought Damn the Torpedoes a year or two after it came out, one of my first records.
    Refugee and Here Comes My Girl were and are his best songs, I think.
    RIP

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    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    Bought Damn the Torpedoes a year or two after it came out, one of my first records.

    It was one of my first 8-tracks. Played it nearly non-stop cruising in my '69 Camaro.
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  52. MEH 0910 says:

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  53. The first time I heard Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” I recognized Petty’s “Don’t Back Down.” I played it for my kids to point out the similarities. They all like Petty’s song better. I was angry for Petty, but he was already in the fight.

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    • Replies: @Bugg
    He settled with Smith in exchange for a writing credit on the song and an undisclosed sum of money.

    Saw him over the summer at Forest Hills stadium; put on a great show, as good as the time I saw him in the 1990s and a few years back. In years back, he would say to the audience "Thank you very much" after each song in a tone that bordered on sarcastic. Was a running joke that the audience knew about and laughed at. This summer, the banter seemed genuine, like he had an idea this might have been his last shot at a big scale tour and he wanted to enjoy it and take it all in. RIP

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  54. But Dylan was an awkward performer

    Yeah, very true. I saw Bob with GE Smith’s band at the Toledo Masonic Hall in ’88 (or thereabout). The stage had a mini runway at the center and Bob would saunter over there occasionally and then leave his mike stand at base of the runway. GE would slide past the mike stand and go top runway during solos then slide back knocking the stand into Bob. After it happened like 3 or 4 times Bob had enough. GE slides onto runway for solo, slides out, knocks mike stand, Bob shoves mike stand at GE- GE makes a kick save that bounced back at Bob at which point Bob forcefully threw the stand at GE.

    Saw Tom Petty quite a few times, never a huge fan (FM classic rock over-play certainly contributed…) but he was surely capable and worthy of being called a craftsman. Ann Heutsche I miss you.

    R.I.P.

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  55. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @cd
    This might not be popular, but I'll say this now.

    I think Petty might have been committed a little bit of unconscious plagiarism. I never had the guts to say it in mixed company, because it was off Juice Newton.

    I'll let ya'll guess the Petty hit song that may have borrowed off poor Juice...

    But hey, maybe I'm wrong!!

    I just don't think I am. Again, I've never made an issue of it because it's like telling people your uncle copped a feel. If he doesn't do it again, maybe it never happened...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-pswfTBt78

    I think it’s standard practice. I have a book of old English poetry – one of the poems contains most of the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Hard Rain”.

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    • Replies: @daniel le mouche
    So don't keep it from us, which English poem became 'Hard Rain'?
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  56. @Anon
    Pretty sure the US festival headliner was Van Halen.

    It wasn’t Oingo Boingo?

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    • Replies: @slumber_j
    My wife and I both lived in LA at different times in the late 80s / early 90s and grew similarly fascinated by the primacy of Oingo Boingo in the culture there back in the day. Apparently for a while it was all Oingo Boingo on K-ROQ all the time, while the rest of the world went on utterly unaware.
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  57. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @eah
    First song I remember noticing from him/them was 'I Need to Know' -- biggest celebrity death shock for me in a good while -- came out of nowhere -- sad.

    Makes me mad you rarely hear this great song when the radio plays a Petty.

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  58. Danindc says:

    Seemed like a good guy – he was willing to voice a caricature redneck of himself on King of the Hill (he slipped on pee-pee at the Walmart and got a big settlement).

    The Waiting was my favorite song of his by far.

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  59. black sea says:

    One thing to admire about Tom Petty, particularly in the current cultural climate:

    In “Jammin’ Me,” a song Petty co-wrote with Bob Dylan, there appear the following lines:

    Take back Vanessa Redgrave
    Take back Joe Piscopo
    Take back Eddie Murphy
    Give ‘em all some place to go

    The song is fairly random list of things to be “taken back,” including “your insurance,” “your acid rain,” “your angry slander,” and “your pension plan.” In context, there’s no particular reason to suspect that Petty has anything more against Vanessa Redgrave or Eddie Murphy than any other contemporary celebrity. Their names seem to have been plucked from the media atmosphere of the moment.

    Nevertheless, Murhpy took umbrage at the song and kicked up a ruckus about it, feeling that he’d been dissed or microaggressed or something. Petty, however, refused to take Murphy’s tantrum seriously, and more or less said, in that flat, nasal, Florida monotone, “Oh, sorry Eddie, didn’t mean to bring you down.”

    It was everything that would have sent Ta-Nehisi Coates scrambling for his MacBook Pro.

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    • Replies: @Matra
    In context, there’s no particular reason to suspect that Petty has anything more against Vanessa Redgrave or Eddie Murphy than any other contemporary celebrity

    Redgrave's anti-Israel politics would've rubbed Dylan the wrong way. At the time the song came out I only knew Murphy for his anti-homosexual routine so I assumed then, and still do, that that was the reason for including Murphy.

    , @Clyde
    I liked the Tom Petty-Eddie Murphy story. I liked Tom Petty's tunes but his downfall/early death must have been related to cigarettes. In his heyday his photos usually sh0wed him with a ciggie. And his cocaine use harmed the heart.

    His tunes were grounded, 100% American, were contemporary and spoke to people his age. He was not off on some kind off outer space trip. I have read so many comments in the vein of, "Tom Petty was all me and my friends listened to in high school and got me through high school"

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  60. slumber_j says:

    Most everybody liked Petty.

    But Tom didn’t necessarily like everybody else all the time.

    Petty was an artsy redneck. Here’s his 1985 video “Don’t You Come Around Here No More” combining an ominous Scots-Irish warning with the fact that Petty looked just like the Mad Hatter in Tenniel’s illustrations for the original Alice in Wonderland.

    All of which brings to mind a favorite Tom Petty lyric–N.B. the “sometimes”:

    I’ve been over to your house
    And you’ve been over sometimes to my house
    I’ve slept in your tree house
    My middle name is Earl

    Pointlessly I must add that I really, really liked Tom Petty’s music.

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  61. slumber_j says:
    @It's All Ball Bearings
    It wasn't Oingo Boingo?

    My wife and I both lived in LA at different times in the late 80s / early 90s and grew similarly fascinated by the primacy of Oingo Boingo in the culture there back in the day. Apparently for a while it was all Oingo Boingo on K-ROQ all the time, while the rest of the world went on utterly unaware.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I vaguely recall hearing Oingo-Boingo play outdoors at UCLA in the early 1980s.

    My impression is they were more of an orchestra than a rock group. Danny Elfman went on to a successful career as a movie and TV score composer (e.g., The Simpson's theme song).

    , @Ron Mexico
    grew up in Orange County, they were very popular at the time. a cover band Dead Man's Party played the OC Fair quite a few times.
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  62. @slumber_j
    My wife and I both lived in LA at different times in the late 80s / early 90s and grew similarly fascinated by the primacy of Oingo Boingo in the culture there back in the day. Apparently for a while it was all Oingo Boingo on K-ROQ all the time, while the rest of the world went on utterly unaware.

    I vaguely recall hearing Oingo-Boingo play outdoors at UCLA in the early 1980s.

    My impression is they were more of an orchestra than a rock group. Danny Elfman went on to a successful career as a movie and TV score composer (e.g., The Simpson’s theme song).

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    • Replies: @Jim Christian

    I vaguely recall hearing Oingo-Boingo play outdoors at UCLA in the early 1980s.
     
    Mostly I remember them from the end of Fast Times At Ridgemont High's end "Good Bye, Good Bye. Snappy tune:

    https://youtu.be/cxK1MUK8AlM
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  63. MEH 0910 says:
    @cd
    This might not be popular, but I'll say this now.

    I think Petty might have been committed a little bit of unconscious plagiarism. I never had the guts to say it in mixed company, because it was off Juice Newton.

    I'll let ya'll guess the Petty hit song that may have borrowed off poor Juice...

    But hey, maybe I'm wrong!!

    I just don't think I am. Again, I've never made an issue of it because it's like telling people your uncle copped a feel. If he doesn't do it again, maybe it never happened...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-pswfTBt78

    Pass any credit due back to Dave Edmunds.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_of_Hearts_(Hank_DeVito_song)

    Queen of Hearts is a country-pop song written by Hank DeVito, the pedal steel guitarist in Emmylou Harris’ backing group The Hot Band, and was first recorded by Dave Edmunds on his 1979 album Repeat When Necessary.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeat_When_Necessary#Content

    and the Hank DeVito-penned “Queen of Hearts” are among the highlights of this album. Juice Newton would cover “Queen of Hearts” in an arrangement virtually identical to Edmunds’ on Juice, her 1981 breakthrough album.

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  64. JMcG says:
    @Gary in Gramercy
    Since this afternoon, a friend and I have been trading lists of rockers who, improbably, are still alive and kicking (well, in many cases, alive but not quite kicking) while younger or presumably less sybaritic rockers have gone to their eternal rest.

    The last version of my list had Shane MacGowan, Sly Stone and the four original members of Black Sabbath. I saw the Pogues in Boston, just after the Poguetry in Motion EP, maybe early 1986, and yes, Shane was drunk. Between that and his imperfect diction (what, no modern dentistry in Ireland by the 1980's?), you would have needed subtitles to decipher his lyrics. Great show, though.

    I used to have Keef at the top of the list, although by now, he's likely to outlive us all. Truly a Nietzsche devotee, whatever didn't kill him actually did make him stronger. Based on the oral history Please Kill Me, Iggy Pop should never have made it out of the '70's, yet he looks amazing, and by all accounts, has the energy of a man half, or even one-third, his age. Alice Cooper is said to stay healthy by playing incredible amounts of golf in Arizona.

    The Replacements would also make sense, except that Bob Stinson passed away decades ago. I saw them in 1985, right after Tim, at The Ritz (NYC; later Webster Hall), and yes, they were drunk. I think they played several shlocky '70's covers to start off their set (Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough," Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Taking Care Of Business," and if that wasn't bad enough, The DeFranco Family's chestnut, "Heartbeat, It's A Lovebeat") before getting down to their own material. Paul Westerberg must have cleaned up considerably since then; otherwise, well...

    Sorry to hear about Tom Petty; not my favorite, but a fine singer/songwriter with an ear for great riffs (the first thing I ever heard from him was "American Girl," back in 1976; like another terrific single released that year -- "Don't Fear The Reaper" -- I thought the Byrds had gotten back together before I found out the actual artist). Oh, that reminds me: David Crosby is still alive; who would have believed it?

    I can vouch for no modern dentistry in Ireland by the 1980’s, though Shane MacGowan was mostly reared in England.
    The young women in Ireland were not spectacular in the 80’s. Something happened in the 90’s that turned the whole place around. Well, Charlie McCreevey and the Celtic Tiger happened I suppose.
    Anyway, I’ve never seen Shane McGowan finish a Pogues concert. He demolished a 5th of Jack Daniels when I saw him during the If I Should Fall From Grace With God your. I’m gobsmacked he’s still drawing breath.
    I play some guitar, and Petty songs are fun to play and easy to carry off around a campfire.
    American Girl and Rebels are tops for me. I was returning from Florida after helping to restore power down there a couple weeks ago and we happened to do a couple of miles on 441, like waves crashing on a beach. RIP Tom Petty

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  65. @Anon
    I think it's standard practice. I have a book of old English poetry - one of the poems contains most of the lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Hard Rain".

    So don’t keep it from us, which English poem became ‘Hard Rain’?

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    • Replies: @whoever
    Probably Lord Randall
    ‘O where ha’ you been, Lord Randal, my son?
    And where ha’ you been, my handsome young man?’
    ‘I ha’ been at the greenwood; mother, mak my bed soon,
    For I’m wearied wi’ hunting, and fain wad lie down.
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  66. My favorite track from “Full Moon Fever” by far is Petty’s cover of Johnny Cash’s “I wont back down”

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  67. Bitfu says:
    @guest
    There are exceptions, obviously. The Beatles stopped touring (for technical reasons, however, not because they weren't writing playable music) and made art albums. The kind you stereotypically listened to in beanbag chairs with headphones on. But their music will be passed on.

    I enjoyed your comments here. Thank you for the insight.

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  68. Yak-15 says:
    @Dieter Kief

    My favorite Tom Petty quote is what he said about Rock and Roll:

    “It’s not supposed to be really good.”
     

    I

    I do sit through operas and I visit rock concerts.

    One of the best performances ever was by Jackson Browne with his fabulous band (7 members, if I remember right. He played 2015 here in Konstanz)

    What rock musicians achieve is, that they realize freedom, so to speak, and the interaction on the stage can grow, grow, grow, just because Rock Music "is not supposed to be really good". Result can be some sort of dionysian trance - deep and impressive stuff - cf. Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

    II

    Whereas with operas: The performance consists in large parts in the effort, to try to fullfil the since ages established pretty high standards. That leaves very little room for the shere pelasure and at times abundant joy of the musicians and the dionysian part is almost invisible - it's consumed, almost, by the technical difficulty of opera-singing and asks for lots and lots of discipline, subordination and the like from the singers especially.

    I like baroque singer Simone Kermes a lot, she at times comes very close to the realm of the rock-freedom.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYzqCz7J-W0 - here's Kermes singing in my birth town near Heidelberg. Sigh.


    III

    Jazz as a genre seems to be a very good compromise between discipline and freedom. If played perfectly well, it might be beyond our human cpacities - cf. Keith Jarrett's - destiny.

    Sub Jarrett but extremely impressive both as artists who are technically brilliant (=disciplined) and emotionally "free" - Branford Marsalis' Quartett. Wayne Shorter Quartett - up until 2008, ca.

    Jazz is great until they ad lib into a squeaky riffs and random upticks as though someone stepped on a cat.

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  69. slumber_j says:
    @Gary in Gramercy
    Since this afternoon, a friend and I have been trading lists of rockers who, improbably, are still alive and kicking (well, in many cases, alive but not quite kicking) while younger or presumably less sybaritic rockers have gone to their eternal rest.

    The last version of my list had Shane MacGowan, Sly Stone and the four original members of Black Sabbath. I saw the Pogues in Boston, just after the Poguetry in Motion EP, maybe early 1986, and yes, Shane was drunk. Between that and his imperfect diction (what, no modern dentistry in Ireland by the 1980's?), you would have needed subtitles to decipher his lyrics. Great show, though.

    I used to have Keef at the top of the list, although by now, he's likely to outlive us all. Truly a Nietzsche devotee, whatever didn't kill him actually did make him stronger. Based on the oral history Please Kill Me, Iggy Pop should never have made it out of the '70's, yet he looks amazing, and by all accounts, has the energy of a man half, or even one-third, his age. Alice Cooper is said to stay healthy by playing incredible amounts of golf in Arizona.

    The Replacements would also make sense, except that Bob Stinson passed away decades ago. I saw them in 1985, right after Tim, at The Ritz (NYC; later Webster Hall), and yes, they were drunk. I think they played several shlocky '70's covers to start off their set (Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough," Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Taking Care Of Business," and if that wasn't bad enough, The DeFranco Family's chestnut, "Heartbeat, It's A Lovebeat") before getting down to their own material. Paul Westerberg must have cleaned up considerably since then; otherwise, well...

    Sorry to hear about Tom Petty; not my favorite, but a fine singer/songwriter with an ear for great riffs (the first thing I ever heard from him was "American Girl," back in 1976; like another terrific single released that year -- "Don't Fear The Reaper" -- I thought the Byrds had gotten back together before I found out the actual artist). Oh, that reminds me: David Crosby is still alive; who would have believed it?

    I saw them in 1985, right after Tim, at The Ritz (NYC; later Webster Hall), and yes, they were drunk. I think they played several shlocky ’70′s covers to start off their set (Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Enough,” Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care Of Business,” and if that wasn’t bad enough, The DeFranco Family’s chestnut, “Heartbeat, It’s A Lovebeat”)

    I have pretty good reason to believe that I was forced to get on stage with The Replacements to sing lead vocals on Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” at The Channel in Boston in the summer of 1986. But I don’t think I remember doing it.

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    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    I have pretty good reason to believe that I was forced to get on stage with The Replacements to sing lead vocals on Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” at The Channel in Boston in the summer of 1986. But I don’t think I remember doing it.

    LOL!

    Spent a few Saturday nights there myself in the '80s. And at Celebration in Kenmore Square because our slightly underage girlfriends could get in and drink off our beverages.

    , @Gary in Gramercy
    That's o.k., I'm sure Westerberg, Stinson and Mars don't remember it, either. As the kiddies say, "pics or it didn't happen."
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  70. Hodag says:
    @education realist
    "Chuck Berry made it to 90 and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis are still alive in their 80s."

    Dylan is 76, as is Charlie Watts. Jagger and Richard are 74. McCartney's 74, Clapton is 72. CSN&Y are all from 72-76. Diana Ross 73, Smokey Robinson, 77. Henley and Santana both turned 70. Basically, all the big names from the 60s are in their 70s, all the big 70s bands are approaching 70.

    Every second of Keith Richard's last 50 years is borrowed. But apart from that, I don't see any reason why these guys shouldn't live another ten years, barring a sudden heart attack like Petty. Most of them have done quite a bit of drug abuse and boozing, too.

    Heart attacks kill a lot of musicians who make it past overdoses. George Harrison and Levon Helm died of cancer, but I don't remember a lot of others. But Robert Palmer, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Jerry Garcia, Rick Danko, John Phillips, etc.

    Brian Wilson is 75 and tours worldwide constantly.

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    • Replies: @Clyde
    Roger Water/age 74 tours half the year so it seems. He is out on a new one.
    Matter of fact Tom Petty had just wrapped up a tour he called his last big one. He played yhree nights at the hollywood Bowl to conclude it SEptember 23rd. It must have been too much strain with his passing seven days later
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  71. poolside says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Who was the other guy from the early 1960s who was a big influence on Petty? Del Shannon?

    Who was the other guy from the early 1960s who was a big influence on Petty? Del Shannon?

    Petty often cited Paul Revere and the Raiders as an early influence. There is a popular clip of him on YouTube covering “Steppin’ Stone” in concert.

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  72. Pat Casey says:

    If you are too polite, you get pushed around like Elvis did. An 11-year-old Petty got to shake Elvis’s hand in 1961 and was set on being a rock star ever after. But Tom didn’t make Elvis’s mistake of being too nice for his own good.

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  73. Wade says:

    A life well lived.

    Indeed. His two most spirited songs are also my favorites:

    Runnin Down a Dream

    I Won’t Back Down:

    I’m very saddened by his passing. I never got to see him live. I wish I had.

    RIP Tom Petty.

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  74. Bugg says:
    @william munny
    The first time I heard Sam Smith's "Stay With Me," I recognized Petty's "Don't Back Down." I played it for my kids to point out the similarities. They all like Petty's song better. I was angry for Petty, but he was already in the fight.

    He settled with Smith in exchange for a writing credit on the song and an undisclosed sum of money.

    Saw him over the summer at Forest Hills stadium; put on a great show, as good as the time I saw him in the 1990s and a few years back. In years back, he would say to the audience “Thank you very much” after each song in a tone that bordered on sarcastic. Was a running joke that the audience knew about and laughed at. This summer, the banter seemed genuine, like he had an idea this might have been his last shot at a big scale tour and he wanted to enjoy it and take it all in. RIP

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  75. Bugg says:
    @Hodag
    Shane McGowan outlived Tom Petty.

    Back when I had ears I saw Tom Petty a bunch of times. I remember the opening acts, 'til Tuesday one time (amazing), another time The Replacements (yes, they were drunk).

    Another time Steve Earle.

    Shane McGowan is pickled in alcohol. He and Keith Richards are blessed with excellent genes and great chemistry.

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  76. Bugg says:
    @Steve Sailer
    I don't know whether median rock stars die young or not. I used to assume so, but Chuck Berry made it to 90 and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis are still alive in their 80s. It could be that there are two factors: rock stars tend to be naturally vigorous and, on the other hand, all the drugs.

    Mike Judge of “Idiocracy”, “King of the Hill” (on which Petty had a recurring role) and “Beavis and Butthead” right now has a quasi-cartoon show on Cinemax now about country music stars called “Tales from the Tour Bus”. First episodes were about Johnny Paycheck and Jerry Lee Lewis. Only a half hour long, not terribly heavy, pretty funny.

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  77. Tom Petty was huge in my town and still is . Always thought he was a connection between a rural and suburban vibe . Of course his music is catchy too the way a lot of rock isn’t . And who could forget the skater chick from the Free Fallin’ video. Thanks for the tunes Tom . You won’t be forgotten ……

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    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
    He did surprisingly good videos. Into the Great Wide Open with Johnny Depp. Check out Learning to Fly. He has an actual topless dancer in it. She has body paint, but you can watch the twins flopping.
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  78. One of my favorite musicians, for a lot of reasons. Some random thoughts:

    1. Damn the Torpedoes is his best, and that’s saying something. I wore out a CD, yes, wore it out, playing that in college.

    2. The Traveling Wilburys combined three favorites: Orbison, Petty and Harrison, and it was all seemingly a lark. Effortless music.

    3. I thought Petty’s voice was iconic, yet I cannot bear to listen to Dylan. I’ve never understood how people think they have the same tone.

    4. Everyone I know that criticized Petty would say things like “oh, that’s just guitar rock (whatever that is)” or “his melodies are so plain/simple, anyone can do that”. Then why hasn’t anyone?

    5. Ornery is the right adjective for him. Even in interviews, there were times when he would just seem completely annoyed, but almost in a humorous way.

    “It’s just the normal noises in here….”

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    • Replies: @guest
    "I've never understood how people think they have the same tone"

    I'm going to assume you mean timbre, and no, it isn't the same. Dylan's is far more annoying.

    They sing in very similar styles, is the thing. Though of course Dylan put on a great many styles, most of them annoying, and Petty always sounded like Petty.
    , @Autochthon
    Remember that time Petty translated for Dylan when the latter accepted a Grammy? It may be how come people reckon they have similar voices.
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  79. Loved him since “Breakdown” which was a big hit in my high school. He stood out from the southern rock we all listened to then. Saw him a few times, the last at the old Shoreline Amphitheater in SF. (Big Gray Top)Hats Off to Tom.

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    • Replies: @Ripple Earthdevil
    Shoreline Amphitheater is in Mountain View, home of Google, a good 35 miles south of San Francisco and a whole different world. It opened in 1986 so it's not that old.
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  80. Never cared much for Petty. Found his brand of rock to be very mainstream and bland. Whenever I hear his name oddly enough I think of the film “Silence of the Lambs.” The senator’s unlucky chubby daughter is seen driving around listening to “American Girl” on the radio. After she’s kidnapped and thrown in the hole, the serial killer starts blaring “Goodbye Horses” on his stereo, showing that despite his madness and cruelty, he has better taste in music. I sided with Buffalo Bill.

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    Haha... I sided with Hannibal Lector... last I heard he was down in the islands to have a friend for dinner.
    , @MarcB.
    That scene in Silence of the Lambs came off as an opportunity for a cheap laugh at the expense of Americans outside of Jonathan Demme's orbit, the kind who would not have sufficiently appreciated the Talking Heads during their early appearances at CBGB's or any era of the Suburban Lawns. Tom Petty became huge during the time I was just getting into music, so even though I wasn't a fan, his music was the backdrop of my youth. He seemed to be the most normal American guy to become a famous rock and roller.
    , @guest
    Like a lot of alt-rock, Goodbye Horses is not bland but also, despite having a danceable groove, indistinct and an example of the rock version of what I call music soup. I prefer relatively bland songs that are well-structured and aim to please to that. You know, if I had to choose.

    Not to say I don't like some soupy music.
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  81. Thank heaven we still have Steve Miller with us, another fine purveyor of good time music.

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    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
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  82. This is as real as it is cliché. Tom Petty was the soundtrack to my life since first hearing Damn the Torpedoes, specifically Refugee, on my friend Mickey G’s bedroom turntable in 9th grade circa 1979 and a few months before my dad died.

    My first drunk driving arrest was by a Highway Patrolman named Tom Petty circa 1981.

    An incredible live performance of Breakdown in the middle of the week in the middle of Oklahoma in the middle of the Hard Promises tour circa 1981 again with Mickey G.

    Again in 1983.

    Tripping on magic ‘shrooms with my best friend J.A. to Full Moon Fever after having just passed the CPA exam circa 1989.

    Having Here Comes My Girl played at my wedding right up to the line “Watch her walk” which is when the wife entered to walk down the aisle circa 1996.

    Seeing him perform for the last time circa 2014.

    The above is just the tip of the Tom Petty timeline in one man’s life.

    God I thought he would live forever.

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    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    Tom Petty was the soundtrack to my life../i>

    That's pretty cool!
    , @ken
    Nice, but my favorite line of yours, "My first drunk driving arrest".
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  83. ken says:
    @Hodag
    Shane McGowan outlived Tom Petty.

    Back when I had ears I saw Tom Petty a bunch of times. I remember the opening acts, 'til Tuesday one time (amazing), another time The Replacements (yes, they were drunk).

    Another time Steve Earle.

    Lenny Kravitz opened for him in 90 or 91. Not a lenny fan, but it was an amazing show.

    Replacements opening for Petty: I passed out before the Mats took the stage.

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    • Replies: @Gary in Gramercy
    And they passed out shortly after taking the stage.
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  84. Dnought says:
    @The Only Catholic Unionist
    If that's the same documentary I'm thinking of, to me, he did come off as a bit of dick (if it had been a more independent documentary, I wonder just how much more so), although you are correct, he is a seemingly endless font of creativity.

    On reflection, it occurred to me that he is that jerk musician that seemingly everyone has known at one time or another, but in his case he has the talent to make it stand up. Love the music, not sure I'd want to hang around with him..

    I'm actually sort of surprised that Mr Sailer didn't immediately zero in on his landmark (at least in the annals of entertainment law) case where he was able to get out of an extremely bad contract by pre-emptively declaring bankruptcy.

    In his early career at least, he was defiantly apolitical. I remember an interview with Petty I read in the late seventies or early eighties where he stated as much, and expressed a rather contemptuous attitude toward leftish political activists, and he did so with a sort of punkish bravado. At the time my apolitical self thought that was very cool. He may have changed over time though.

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  85. Matra says:
    @Sam Haysom
    To me it was Rebel that best captured the mixture of orneriness and amiability that Steve's identifies up above. Kind of like Huck Finn to be honest.

    To me it was Rebel that best captured the mixture of orneriness and amiability that Steve’s identifies up above.

    Didn’t he recently express regret about the Confederate Battle Flag in the video for that song? It suddenly became difficult to find the Rebels video right after the Charleston killings.

    The last time I heard him was on some radio show. I was flipping through the stations in a car which came with a free preview of XM Sirius when I heard Petty discussing and playing rare tracks that he liked. Before one of them he said something like “I don’t know about you but this week I’ve been feeling down”. Since it was the end of the week that Trump was elected I took it as a virtue-signal to fashionable opinion.

    Anyway, I liked everything through Southern Accents. The first single, “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, was a weird, even brave – given how important first singles were then – choice for a guy who’d been away for a long time and with his particular fanbase. It worked though because it grew on most listeners, with the innovative video – his first of the new MTV age (post-83) – helping in that respect.

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  86. @guest
    Like with a lot classic rockers who remained popular through my childhood--I have no memory of popular culture before 1987 or so--my experience of Petty is chronologically upside down. Early is late and late is early. I was familiar with the hits off of Full Moon Fever and Wildflower as a kid. Mary Jane's Last Dance, along with its spooky music video, especially stands out in memory.

    Wasn't until college that I got into the early Heartbreakers stuff. Though obviously I heard the older hits on the radio and in movies. I listened to the first four albums, self-titled through Hard Promises, but the sophomore effort, You're Gonna Get It!, was my favorite.

    That happens to rock critics and hipsters too often, I think. The less popular stuff feels more like it belongs to them so they appreciate it more. I don't generally feel that way. But there's something about You're Gonna Get It! It even has that rougher, punkier (a modifier I only use because it's the right timeframe) sound that I don't usually care for. My listening heart is fickle.

    I only wish Petty didn't have that nasal, Dylanesque delivery.

    Petty’s voice was awful in a way only a Dylan fan could appreciate. Not sure which was worse. Steven Tyler carries a tune nicely but he sounds like a hyena in labor. Mick Jagger also has a terrible voice.

    Ah, rock music. It’s why I always will have a soft spot in my heart for punk. They didn’t even try to pretend to be good singers or musicians.

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  87. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Steve Sailer
    I don't know whether median rock stars die young or not. I used to assume so, but Chuck Berry made it to 90 and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis are still alive in their 80s. It could be that there are two factors: rock stars tend to be naturally vigorous and, on the other hand, all the drugs.

    Great way to die though. Massive cardiac event and never wake up.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Kind of solves the Hope I die before I get old problem for a senior citizen rock star.
    , @black sea
    I remember, in my 20s, eating lunch at a Chinese restaurant, seated next to a table of grey-haired guys in track suits and leisure wear, clearly retired as it was a weekday.

    They talked about whatever retired guys talk about, and then the subject turned to Ol' Charlie, or whoever, who had just recently passed on. Some of the guys seemed shocked by the news, and one asked the invitable question: how'd it happen?

    Charlie had dropped dead of a heart attack, completely unexpected. They shared their sorrow for Charlie and his widow, and then one of them said, "But my God, boom! What a great way to go."

    I realized then that 70-year-old guys had a different perspective on a lot of things from my own.
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  88. Matra says:
    @black sea
    One thing to admire about Tom Petty, particularly in the current cultural climate:

    In "Jammin' Me," a song Petty co-wrote with Bob Dylan, there appear the following lines:

    Take back Vanessa Redgrave
    Take back Joe Piscopo
    Take back Eddie Murphy
    Give 'em all some place to go

    The song is fairly random list of things to be "taken back," including "your insurance," "your acid rain," "your angry slander," and "your pension plan." In context, there's no particular reason to suspect that Petty has anything more against Vanessa Redgrave or Eddie Murphy than any other contemporary celebrity. Their names seem to have been plucked from the media atmosphere of the moment.

    Nevertheless, Murhpy took umbrage at the song and kicked up a ruckus about it, feeling that he'd been dissed or microaggressed or something. Petty, however, refused to take Murphy's tantrum seriously, and more or less said, in that flat, nasal, Florida monotone, "Oh, sorry Eddie, didn't mean to bring you down."

    It was everything that would have sent Ta-Nehisi Coates scrambling for his MacBook Pro.

    In context, there’s no particular reason to suspect that Petty has anything more against Vanessa Redgrave or Eddie Murphy than any other contemporary celebrity

    Redgrave’s anti-Israel politics would’ve rubbed Dylan the wrong way. At the time the song came out I only knew Murphy for his anti-homosexual routine so I assumed then, and still do, that that was the reason for including Murphy.

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  89. @anonymous
    Great way to die though. Massive cardiac event and never wake up.

    Kind of solves the Hope I die before I get old problem for a senior citizen rock star.

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    • LOL: Bubba
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  90. @Bragadocious
    Never cared much for Petty. Found his brand of rock to be very mainstream and bland. Whenever I hear his name oddly enough I think of the film "Silence of the Lambs." The senator's unlucky chubby daughter is seen driving around listening to "American Girl" on the radio. After she's kidnapped and thrown in the hole, the serial killer starts blaring "Goodbye Horses" on his stereo, showing that despite his madness and cruelty, he has better taste in music. I sided with Buffalo Bill.

    Haha… I sided with Hannibal Lector… last I heard he was down in the islands to have a friend for dinner.

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  91. Jake says:
    @James Thompson
    I had never heard of Tom Petty till a patient said that she could cope with plane flights only by listening to Tom Petty full blast on headphones. I nodded sagely, and then looked him up. Wildflowers was the first album I went through, and it accompanied me on trips round Europe, so his voice got into my head, with the sun going down over Barajas airport: a strange way to hear a singer.
    No cheating: if I look back at my list of starred tracks I find: Jammin' Me; Learning to Fly; Green Onions;To Find a Friend. That was a few years ago. In recent months: I Won't Back Down.
    Most of those, by the way, in their Live versions. The best songs are the ones the audience sing themselves after the first opening chords are heard.
    RIP and thanks for the music.

    My favorite Tom Petty songs: The Waiting (the live version on Pack up the Plantation is especially good); American Girl; Southern Accents; Rebels; Insider (again, the live version is superb); Free Falling; Listen to Her Heart; I Won’t BackDown; You Wreck Me; King’s Highway. The Last DJ is a fine album about the music business ruining the music.

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  92. @Neoconned
    Not a big fan.

    But hes 1 of those guys they play all the time in fast food places over the satellite radio feed.

    Not my cup of tea but to each their own.....

    As in: “This guy…this is not my kinda guy?”

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  93. black sea says:
    @anonymous
    Great way to die though. Massive cardiac event and never wake up.

    I remember, in my 20s, eating lunch at a Chinese restaurant, seated next to a table of grey-haired guys in track suits and leisure wear, clearly retired as it was a weekday.

    They talked about whatever retired guys talk about, and then the subject turned to Ol’ Charlie, or whoever, who had just recently passed on. Some of the guys seemed shocked by the news, and one asked the invitable question: how’d it happen?

    Charlie had dropped dead of a heart attack, completely unexpected. They shared their sorrow for Charlie and his widow, and then one of them said, “But my God, boom! What a great way to go.”

    I realized then that 70-year-old guys had a different perspective on a lot of things from my own.

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  94. @slumber_j
    My wife and I both lived in LA at different times in the late 80s / early 90s and grew similarly fascinated by the primacy of Oingo Boingo in the culture there back in the day. Apparently for a while it was all Oingo Boingo on K-ROQ all the time, while the rest of the world went on utterly unaware.

    grew up in Orange County, they were very popular at the time. a cover band Dead Man’s Party played the OC Fair quite a few times.

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  95. Fun facts:

    Tom Petty’s first guitar teacher was fellow Gainesville, FL resident Don Felder, who joined the Eagles in ’74 as the “fifth Eagle.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Petty

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagles_(band)

    Tom Petty’s first cousin is long-time Alachua, FL County Sheriff, Sadie Darnell:

    https://www.flsheriffs.org/sheriffs/bio/alachua-county

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  96. Clyde says:
    @black sea
    One thing to admire about Tom Petty, particularly in the current cultural climate:

    In "Jammin' Me," a song Petty co-wrote with Bob Dylan, there appear the following lines:

    Take back Vanessa Redgrave
    Take back Joe Piscopo
    Take back Eddie Murphy
    Give 'em all some place to go

    The song is fairly random list of things to be "taken back," including "your insurance," "your acid rain," "your angry slander," and "your pension plan." In context, there's no particular reason to suspect that Petty has anything more against Vanessa Redgrave or Eddie Murphy than any other contemporary celebrity. Their names seem to have been plucked from the media atmosphere of the moment.

    Nevertheless, Murhpy took umbrage at the song and kicked up a ruckus about it, feeling that he'd been dissed or microaggressed or something. Petty, however, refused to take Murphy's tantrum seriously, and more or less said, in that flat, nasal, Florida monotone, "Oh, sorry Eddie, didn't mean to bring you down."

    It was everything that would have sent Ta-Nehisi Coates scrambling for his MacBook Pro.

    I liked the Tom Petty-Eddie Murphy story. I liked Tom Petty’s tunes but his downfall/early death must have been related to cigarettes. In his heyday his photos usually sh0wed him with a ciggie. And his cocaine use harmed the heart.

    His tunes were grounded, 100% American, were contemporary and spoke to people his age. He was not off on some kind off outer space trip. I have read so many comments in the vein of, “Tom Petty was all me and my friends listened to in high school and got me through high school”

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  97. @el topo
    Petty was from northern Florida, the "Southern" part of Florida, and that was a big part of his identity and music.

    He paid tribute to his Southern heritage in the fine "Southern Accents" album, which featured the song 'Rebels': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKmF4CkroJQ

    "Even before my father's father
    They called us all rebels
    As they burned our corn fields
    And left our cities levelled..."

    Here is the full-length version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jBi8XfKzk0

    Here’s an awesome live version of Rebels at MTV Live Aid, 07/13/85

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  98. @Waylon 347
    Tom Petty was huge in my town and still is . Always thought he was a connection between a rural and suburban vibe . Of course his music is catchy too the way a lot of rock isn't . And who could forget the skater chick from the Free Fallin' video. Thanks for the tunes Tom . You won't be forgotten ......

    He did surprisingly good videos. Into the Great Wide Open with Johnny Depp. Check out Learning to Fly. He has an actual topless dancer in it. She has body paint, but you can watch the twins flopping.

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  99. @Buzz Mohawk
    Nice writeup. I think you've got it right.

    What makes good rock good is a rough groove, without too much polish. (It's supposed to be blue suede, not patent leather.) I think that's what Petty meant. He did it best.

    Overproduction is a problem in popular music, while inability to translate the record into performance is typical. Petty never had this problem.

    What makes good rock good is a rough groove, without too much polish.

    And no auto-tune like today’s rappers and music performers.

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  100. @daniel le mouche
    Saw the same tour with Dylan and agree that Petty was much more entertaining.
    Bought Damn the Torpedoes a year or two after it came out, one of my first records.
    Refugee and Here Comes My Girl were and are his best songs, I think.
    RIP

    Bought Damn the Torpedoes a year or two after it came out, one of my first records.

    It was one of my first 8-tracks. Played it nearly non-stop cruising in my ’69 Camaro.

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  101. @slumber_j

    I saw them in 1985, right after Tim, at The Ritz (NYC; later Webster Hall), and yes, they were drunk. I think they played several shlocky ’70′s covers to start off their set (Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Enough,” Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care Of Business,” and if that wasn’t bad enough, The DeFranco Family’s chestnut, “Heartbeat, It’s A Lovebeat”)
     
    I have pretty good reason to believe that I was forced to get on stage with The Replacements to sing lead vocals on Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" at The Channel in Boston in the summer of 1986. But I don't think I remember doing it.

    I have pretty good reason to believe that I was forced to get on stage with The Replacements to sing lead vocals on Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” at The Channel in Boston in the summer of 1986. But I don’t think I remember doing it.

    LOL!

    Spent a few Saturday nights there myself in the ’80s. And at Celebration in Kenmore Square because our slightly underage girlfriends could get in and drink off our beverages.

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  102. @The preferred nomenclature is...
    This is as real as it is cliché. Tom Petty was the soundtrack to my life since first hearing Damn the Torpedoes, specifically Refugee, on my friend Mickey G's bedroom turntable in 9th grade circa 1979 and a few months before my dad died.

    My first drunk driving arrest was by a Highway Patrolman named Tom Petty circa 1981.

    An incredible live performance of Breakdown in the middle of the week in the middle of Oklahoma in the middle of the Hard Promises tour circa 1981 again with Mickey G.

    Again in 1983.

    Tripping on magic 'shrooms with my best friend J.A. to Full Moon Fever after having just passed the CPA exam circa 1989.

    Having Here Comes My Girl played at my wedding right up to the line "Watch her walk" which is when the wife entered to walk down the aisle circa 1996.

    Seeing him perform for the last time circa 2014.

    The above is just the tip of the Tom Petty timeline in one man's life.

    God I thought he would live forever.

    Tom Petty was the soundtrack to my life../i>

    That’s pretty cool!

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  103. Anonym says:

    Tom Petty’s greatest contribution to humanity was laying down the musical backing to “Bad Goyim”.

    It’s breddy gud.

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  104. The film Elvis was working on in FL when Petty met him sounds like “Follow That Dream.” And a very appropriate sentiment. A true one of a kind musician who will be missed.

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  105. @slumber_j

    I saw them in 1985, right after Tim, at The Ritz (NYC; later Webster Hall), and yes, they were drunk. I think they played several shlocky ’70′s covers to start off their set (Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Enough,” Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care Of Business,” and if that wasn’t bad enough, The DeFranco Family’s chestnut, “Heartbeat, It’s A Lovebeat”)
     
    I have pretty good reason to believe that I was forced to get on stage with The Replacements to sing lead vocals on Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" at The Channel in Boston in the summer of 1986. But I don't think I remember doing it.

    That’s o.k., I’m sure Westerberg, Stinson and Mars don’t remember it, either. As the kiddies say, “pics or it didn’t happen.”

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    • Replies: @slumber_j
    There's a recording of it out there on a Replacements live bootleg website, and it sounds like me--as people I used to sing with in bands have confirmed. And in the comments there, a guy says that Paul Westerberg made the guy who was yelling "Bon Jovi" get up and sing it.

    http://replacementslivearchive.blogspot.com/2013/12/june-18-1986-channel-boston-ma.html

    For really stupid reasons having to do with some people from the Scranton PA area, that guy really can't have been anyone but me. So if they're right that that's the guy they made sing "Iron Man," it's me.

    But no pics: it was a different time then, you understand.
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  106. @ken
    Lenny Kravitz opened for him in 90 or 91. Not a lenny fan, but it was an amazing show.

    Replacements opening for Petty: I passed out before the Mats took the stage.

    And they passed out shortly after taking the stage.

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  107. @Cwhatfuture
    Loved him since "Breakdown" which was a big hit in my high school. He stood out from the southern rock we all listened to then. Saw him a few times, the last at the old Shoreline Amphitheater in SF. (Big Gray Top)Hats Off to Tom.

    Shoreline Amphitheater is in Mountain View, home of Google, a good 35 miles south of San Francisco and a whole different world. It opened in 1986 so it’s not that old.

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    • Replies: @cwhatfuture
    Good lord. Yes. It was the SF metro area. Yes. I called it old because I hadn't been there in 30 years or lived in CA since then, and I wasn't even sure if it still was there. It may be have been new in 89 but the bathrooms were disgusting.
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  108. ken says:
    @The preferred nomenclature is...
    This is as real as it is cliché. Tom Petty was the soundtrack to my life since first hearing Damn the Torpedoes, specifically Refugee, on my friend Mickey G's bedroom turntable in 9th grade circa 1979 and a few months before my dad died.

    My first drunk driving arrest was by a Highway Patrolman named Tom Petty circa 1981.

    An incredible live performance of Breakdown in the middle of the week in the middle of Oklahoma in the middle of the Hard Promises tour circa 1981 again with Mickey G.

    Again in 1983.

    Tripping on magic 'shrooms with my best friend J.A. to Full Moon Fever after having just passed the CPA exam circa 1989.

    Having Here Comes My Girl played at my wedding right up to the line "Watch her walk" which is when the wife entered to walk down the aisle circa 1996.

    Seeing him perform for the last time circa 2014.

    The above is just the tip of the Tom Petty timeline in one man's life.

    God I thought he would live forever.

    Nice, but my favorite line of yours, “My first drunk driving arrest”.

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    • Replies: @The preferred nomenclature is...
    Another one was jamming to Mary Jane's Last Dance early in my sobriety with my sponsor singing his own very lewd lyrics (remember how hot Bassinger was then!). That is when I knew I could still have fun sans the blackouts, circa 1994.
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  109. Me and a pretty girl from my office used to go out and sing karaoke together sometimes. We would usually open the night with a duet, Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around. She could do a perfect Stevie Nicks and I had the Tom Petty part down cold.

    I’m pretty good at vocal mimicry, especially of the sung variety. I can sing seamless versions of many classic rock standards by diverse artists from The Beatles to the Eagles to Elton John. Tom Petty’s voice was extremely difficult to pin down.

    Just another anecdote on a day of mourning.

    RIP, Tom.

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  110. @ken
    Nice, but my favorite line of yours, "My first drunk driving arrest".

    Another one was jamming to Mary Jane’s Last Dance early in my sobriety with my sponsor singing his own very lewd lyrics (remember how hot Bassinger was then!). That is when I knew I could still have fun sans the blackouts, circa 1994.

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    • Replies: @Autochthon
    “Another” one rather than “the” other one? Is recklessly endangering others’ lives just a hobby for you, like model railroads and stamp-collecting is for other people?

    As an amiable but ornery Southerner myself, I’m as anti-authoritarian as anyone, and I despise the likes of M.A.D.D., but you really ought to rethink your priorities if you haven’t already.
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  111. Clyde says:
    @Hodag
    Brian Wilson is 75 and tours worldwide constantly.

    Roger Water/age 74 tours half the year so it seems. He is out on a new one.
    Matter of fact Tom Petty had just wrapped up a tour he called his last big one. He played yhree nights at the hollywood Bowl to conclude it SEptember 23rd. It must have been too much strain with his passing seven days later

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  112. MarcB. says:
    @Bragadocious
    Never cared much for Petty. Found his brand of rock to be very mainstream and bland. Whenever I hear his name oddly enough I think of the film "Silence of the Lambs." The senator's unlucky chubby daughter is seen driving around listening to "American Girl" on the radio. After she's kidnapped and thrown in the hole, the serial killer starts blaring "Goodbye Horses" on his stereo, showing that despite his madness and cruelty, he has better taste in music. I sided with Buffalo Bill.

    That scene in Silence of the Lambs came off as an opportunity for a cheap laugh at the expense of Americans outside of Jonathan Demme’s orbit, the kind who would not have sufficiently appreciated the Talking Heads during their early appearances at CBGB’s or any era of the Suburban Lawns. Tom Petty became huge during the time I was just getting into music, so even though I wasn’t a fan, his music was the backdrop of my youth. He seemed to be the most normal American guy to become a famous rock and roller.

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    • Replies: @guest
    Who's laughing at whom? You might get the idea that those too hip to appreciate American Girl have pits in their basement and are working on skin-suit patterns.

    I don't know if any cheap laughs were intended. The point was a little too on-the-nose, actually. The kidnapping victim was a regular "American girl"--albeit one with "family connections"--and the bad guy was creepy because kinda strange music was playing when you saw him.
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  113. slumber_j says:
    @Gary in Gramercy
    That's o.k., I'm sure Westerberg, Stinson and Mars don't remember it, either. As the kiddies say, "pics or it didn't happen."

    There’s a recording of it out there on a Replacements live bootleg website, and it sounds like me–as people I used to sing with in bands have confirmed. And in the comments there, a guy says that Paul Westerberg made the guy who was yelling “Bon Jovi” get up and sing it.

    http://replacementslivearchive.blogspot.com/2013/12/june-18-1986-channel-boston-ma.html

    For really stupid reasons having to do with some people from the Scranton PA area, that guy really can’t have been anyone but me. So if they’re right that that’s the guy they made sing “Iron Man,” it’s me.

    But no pics: it was a different time then, you understand.

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  114. @Ripple Earthdevil
    Shoreline Amphitheater is in Mountain View, home of Google, a good 35 miles south of San Francisco and a whole different world. It opened in 1986 so it's not that old.

    Good lord. Yes. It was the SF metro area. Yes. I called it old because I hadn’t been there in 30 years or lived in CA since then, and I wasn’t even sure if it still was there. It may be have been new in 89 but the bathrooms were disgusting.

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    • Replies: @Autochthon
    There is much wisdom in this approach. Composing music, like writing, is about editing: knowing what to remove is as importing as knowing what to add (“writing is revising”).

    Asked whether it would be challenging to arrange their energetic, bombastic music for their now legendary performance on Unplugged, an unworried Paul Stanley explained they had always had the philosophy that if you couldn’t play a song on just an acoustic guitar and have it still be interesting, then it is not a good song.

    And, yes, “Refugee” is epic.
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  115. whoever says: • Website
    @daniel le mouche
    So don't keep it from us, which English poem became 'Hard Rain'?

    Probably Lord Randall
    ‘O where ha’ you been, Lord Randal, my son?
    And where ha’ you been, my handsome young man?’
    ‘I ha’ been at the greenwood; mother, mak my bed soon,
    For I’m wearied wi’ hunting, and fain wad lie down.

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    • Replies: @Olorin
    Lord Randal likely has even deeper roots in northern Britain and its Scandinavian forecultures:

    https://allpoetry.com/Edward,-Edward

    I was taught that it was part of an ancient song tradition about what happens to men who let women drive them to parricide or fratricide for their own reasons. Including--especially--mothers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCkcYYQv3so

    , @Autochthon
    My English teacher in high school actually made that comparison; after explaining to us what in the Hell “eels boiled in broo” were. She was keen on getting us to realise that in many ways modern, popular musical lyricists were the inheritors of earlier years’ poets: which is sad, given how vapid most such lyrics are....

    I remember she also pointed out “Kiling an Arab” was an allusion to Camus’ The Stanger when we read that book; we all listened to the song on a cassette. Nowadays she’s be fired for insensitivity, since even the Cure themselves have retconned the song into “Killing Another.”

    , @Anon
    Arguably a Scots poem, though. "Edward" certainly is.
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  116. Olorin says:
    @el topo
    Petty was from northern Florida, the "Southern" part of Florida, and that was a big part of his identity and music.

    He paid tribute to his Southern heritage in the fine "Southern Accents" album, which featured the song 'Rebels': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKmF4CkroJQ

    "Even before my father's father
    They called us all rebels
    As they burned our corn fields
    And left our cities levelled..."

    Here is the full-length version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jBi8XfKzk0

    After two decades of unfettered leftist attacks on the Second Amendment, Florida became the first state to implement shall-issue concealed carry, in 1987.

    This (published ’89 IIRC) became an anthem of this RKBA movement:

    Or:

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  117. Olorin says:
    @whoever
    Probably Lord Randall
    ‘O where ha’ you been, Lord Randal, my son?
    And where ha’ you been, my handsome young man?’
    ‘I ha’ been at the greenwood; mother, mak my bed soon,
    For I’m wearied wi’ hunting, and fain wad lie down.

    Lord Randal likely has even deeper roots in northern Britain and its Scandinavian forecultures:

    https://allpoetry.com/Edward,-Edward

    I was taught that it was part of an ancient song tradition about what happens to men who let women drive them to parricide or fratricide for their own reasons. Including–especially–mothers.

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    • Replies: @Olorin
    While we're on the topic of cruel intrafamily HBD:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jktzyLCQRuQ
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  118. Olorin says:
    @Olorin
    Lord Randal likely has even deeper roots in northern Britain and its Scandinavian forecultures:

    https://allpoetry.com/Edward,-Edward

    I was taught that it was part of an ancient song tradition about what happens to men who let women drive them to parricide or fratricide for their own reasons. Including--especially--mothers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCkcYYQv3so

    While we’re on the topic of cruel intrafamily HBD:

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  119. @Steve Sailer
    With Petty, it's not like he didn't fulfill his potential, like say Buddy Holly dying at 23. It's sad he didn't live another 20 years, but he did an excellent job of making use of his gifts for a long time.

    A life well lived.

    Petty never had a Thriller or Sgt Pepper’s that pushed him over the top. Every album he put out from 1976 until 1994 had at least one track that got significant airplay. That’s unusually consistent for a rock act.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yes, that's a really long time to have new stuff on the radio.

    On the other hand, he was more of a highly competent, even distinguished rock star (in the sense you'd call somebody who had written many well-reviewed, good-selling novels distinguished) rather than a transcendent one.

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  120. Tarrou says:

    I’ve often said that any old professional musician can make music that’s complicated and hard to play. It’s difficult to make something layered, textured yet simple. Petty was a king of simplicity. But listen to the triple-guitar work on “Refugee”. Everything in its right place, no notes wasted, no showing off. Everything serves the song.

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  121. Finspapa says:

    I think “Even the Losers” is one of the top-3 rock ‘n’ roll songs ever. Incorporates all of the elements of the genre quite well. While I don’t believe it is even close to being one of Petty’s or the Heartbreakers best, for a pure rock ‘n’ roll song, I give it very high marks.

    I’ll miss Tom. I was fortunate enough to see him live (back to the wall at the arena, but awesome just the same). Finished the Zanes biography earlier this year—if you like Petty at all, read it.

    Let us not forget his turn in the Kevin Costner vehicle, “The Postman.” He was the mayor and didn’t allow guns (a bit ironic).
    “I know you…you’re famous.”
    “I was once…sorta, kinda, not anymore.”

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  122. I suspect that the success of Petty’s career grew out of his combination of amiability and orneriness.

    How very Southern. And no state was more “Deep South” in his youth than was Florida.

    The worst decision he ever made (musically) was to move to LA. Whether it was overproduction or just losing his edge, he didn’t sound the same afterward.

    Didn’t seem to affect that other Floridian, Jim Morrison.

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  123. guest says:
    @Steve from Detroit
    One of my favorite musicians, for a lot of reasons. Some random thoughts:

    1. Damn the Torpedoes is his best, and that's saying something. I wore out a CD, yes, wore it out, playing that in college.

    2. The Traveling Wilburys combined three favorites: Orbison, Petty and Harrison, and it was all seemingly a lark. Effortless music.

    3. I thought Petty's voice was iconic, yet I cannot bear to listen to Dylan. I've never understood how people think they have the same tone.

    4. Everyone I know that criticized Petty would say things like "oh, that's just guitar rock (whatever that is)" or "his melodies are so plain/simple, anyone can do that". Then why hasn't anyone?

    5. Ornery is the right adjective for him. Even in interviews, there were times when he would just seem completely annoyed, but almost in a humorous way.

    "It's just the normal noises in here...."

    “I’ve never understood how people think they have the same tone”

    I’m going to assume you mean timbre, and no, it isn’t the same. Dylan’s is far more annoying.

    They sing in very similar styles, is the thing. Though of course Dylan put on a great many styles, most of them annoying, and Petty always sounded like Petty.

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  124. guest says:
    @Bragadocious
    Never cared much for Petty. Found his brand of rock to be very mainstream and bland. Whenever I hear his name oddly enough I think of the film "Silence of the Lambs." The senator's unlucky chubby daughter is seen driving around listening to "American Girl" on the radio. After she's kidnapped and thrown in the hole, the serial killer starts blaring "Goodbye Horses" on his stereo, showing that despite his madness and cruelty, he has better taste in music. I sided with Buffalo Bill.

    Like a lot of alt-rock, Goodbye Horses is not bland but also, despite having a danceable groove, indistinct and an example of the rock version of what I call music soup. I prefer relatively bland songs that are well-structured and aim to please to that. You know, if I had to choose.

    Not to say I don’t like some soupy music.

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  125. guest says:
    @MarcB.
    That scene in Silence of the Lambs came off as an opportunity for a cheap laugh at the expense of Americans outside of Jonathan Demme's orbit, the kind who would not have sufficiently appreciated the Talking Heads during their early appearances at CBGB's or any era of the Suburban Lawns. Tom Petty became huge during the time I was just getting into music, so even though I wasn't a fan, his music was the backdrop of my youth. He seemed to be the most normal American guy to become a famous rock and roller.

    Who’s laughing at whom? You might get the idea that those too hip to appreciate American Girl have pits in their basement and are working on skin-suit patterns.

    I don’t know if any cheap laughs were intended. The point was a little too on-the-nose, actually. The kidnapping victim was a regular “American girl”–albeit one with “family connections”–and the bad guy was creepy because kinda strange music was playing when you saw him.

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  126. @guest
    Jazz and rock (which share roots, of course) are performer's arts. (In the hands of a Spector, Wilson, Martin, or Jones, rocks is a producer's art, as well. I suppose that may be true of jazz music, but I'm not familiar with their recordings past a certain time.) Classical music is a composer's art. That's roughly speaking.

    Jazz and rock musicians alike aren't trying to get across a precise musical idea. It can be and ideally is different with every performance. (I don't care for rockstars to try and replicate their albums on stage. Unless the album's have a live feel to them.)

    As far as opera goes, like all classical music it has evolved to be played very precisely, note for note, mark for mark, Italian direction for Italian direction. When you get to up to like 40 or 50 bodies in the orchestra, or however it is with the late romantics and proto-moderns--who suffered from gigantism--with God knows how many instruments, you absolutely require a conductor to pull it together. I daresay talented, professional singers and instrumentalists could pull off Mozart on their own. But Wagner, for instance, no. You can't do without a guiding hand.

    Which is probably why as classical music got more and more diverse in harmony and timbre in the romantic era, great composers went from typically being virtuosic players of instruments--Bach: organ, Mozart and Beethoven: piano, etc.--to being virtuosic conductors. That's true of Berlioz, Wagner, and Mahler. My point is, look to the conductor to find freedom in opera.

    He'll be guiding the performances in the pit, certainly, and though singers have a bit more liberty, them, too. Conductors have some leeway to make it their own, in rehearsal and on the big nights.

    to being virtuosic conductors. That’s true of Berlioz, Wagner, and Mahler. My point is, look to the conductor to find freedom in opera.

    Yeah right – it’s top down, which has it’s merits.

    Rock is bottom up – and that has it’s merits, too.

    (We might agree that freedom can work both ways – as a consequence of insight/discipline (classical music, rather top down) and as a consequence of playfulness/spontaneity (Rock band, rather bottom up)).

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Yeah right – it’s top down, which has it’s merits.

    Rock is bottom up – and that has it’s merits, too.

    (We might agree that freedom can work both ways – as a consequence of insight/discipline (classical music, rather top down) and as a consequence of playfulness/spontaneity (Rock band, rather bottom up)).
     

    Frans Johansson-- imagine a Malcolm Gladwell that can be taken seriously-- found that the only significant exceptions to the "10,000-hour rule" were in immature (chronologically) fields such as punk rock, and perhaps extreme sports as well.

    Well-trod paths such as those in tennis, golf, chess, and classical music are not friendly to prodigies, let alone dilettantes.

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  127. @Mr. Anon
    Wire services are reporting that Tom Petty has died.

    R.I.P. He was a good musician. I especially liked Running Down a Dream and Rescue Me. He always seemed like an un-pretentious guy - a professional musician who thought that what he had to offer you was his music, not his opinions.

    The story I read of his death said that he had "abused heroin in the 90s". (Don't they mean "used heroin"? How does one abuse something that has no legitimate or beneficial use?). Rock musicians might make an interesting study in the effects of illicit drug use on overall heath.

    ” Rock musicians might make an interesting study in the effects of illicit drug use on overall heath.”

    Indeed. Imagine being a med. school student in a group forensic (first knife) autopsy of Keith Richards.

    Image result for keith richard or keith richards

    Image result for keith richard or keith richards

    Image result for keith richard or keith richards

    Image result for keith richard or keith richards

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  128. @Steve Sailer
    I vaguely recall hearing Oingo-Boingo play outdoors at UCLA in the early 1980s.

    My impression is they were more of an orchestra than a rock group. Danny Elfman went on to a successful career as a movie and TV score composer (e.g., The Simpson's theme song).

    I vaguely recall hearing Oingo-Boingo play outdoors at UCLA in the early 1980s.

    Mostly I remember them from the end of Fast Times At Ridgemont High’s end “Good Bye, Good Bye. Snappy tune:

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  129. @Dieter Kief

    to being virtuosic conductors. That’s true of Berlioz, Wagner, and Mahler. My point is, look to the conductor to find freedom in opera.
     
    Yeah right - it's top down, which has it's merits.

    Rock is bottom up - and that has it's merits, too.

    (We might agree that freedom can work both ways - as a consequence of insight/discipline (classical music, rather top down) and as a consequence of playfulness/spontaneity (Rock band, rather bottom up)).

    Yeah right – it’s top down, which has it’s merits.

    Rock is bottom up – and that has it’s merits, too.

    (We might agree that freedom can work both ways – as a consequence of insight/discipline (classical music, rather top down) and as a consequence of playfulness/spontaneity (Rock band, rather bottom up)).

    Frans Johansson– imagine a Malcolm Gladwell that can be taken seriously– found that the only significant exceptions to the “10,000-hour rule” were in immature (chronologically) fields such as punk rock, and perhaps extreme sports as well.

    Well-trod paths such as those in tennis, golf, chess, and classical music are not friendly to prodigies, let alone dilettantes.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Petty became a big rock star in 1979 about 12 years after dropping out of high school to become a star. He and his bandmates probably had 10,000 hours of practice in by then.
    , @guest
    I see your point overall, but of course there are prodigies in all the fields you mentioned. Mozart wrote Andante in C for keyboard when he was 4 years old. Bobby Fischer won the "Game of the Century" when he was 13.

    Of course, these were men at the very tippy-top of already selective disciplines. Only so many people can ever learn to play chess at a grandmaster level, and only so many could write competent classical pieces. But how many could do what these two did at their ages? Almost none. How many could have their careers, no matter how much effort they put into it? Maybe none.

    These 10,000 hours things really should come with the caveat, "So long as you're not Mozart."

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  130. @Reg Cæsar

    Yeah right – it’s top down, which has it’s merits.

    Rock is bottom up – and that has it’s merits, too.

    (We might agree that freedom can work both ways – as a consequence of insight/discipline (classical music, rather top down) and as a consequence of playfulness/spontaneity (Rock band, rather bottom up)).
     

    Frans Johansson-- imagine a Malcolm Gladwell that can be taken seriously-- found that the only significant exceptions to the "10,000-hour rule" were in immature (chronologically) fields such as punk rock, and perhaps extreme sports as well.

    Well-trod paths such as those in tennis, golf, chess, and classical music are not friendly to prodigies, let alone dilettantes.

    Petty became a big rock star in 1979 about 12 years after dropping out of high school to become a star. He and his bandmates probably had 10,000 hours of practice in by then.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    They probably had a thousand hours of playing and nine thousand hours in a van or station wagon.
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  131. @Anonymous
    Cocaine abuse.

    Cigarettes.

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  132. J1234 says:

    Tom Petty was overrated. When I tried to write pop songs (I had a music store for many years) I’d mostly be disappointed because they’d turn out sounding like something Tom Petty wrote – relatively repetitive and working too hard to develop a catchy riff or theme. When a song sounds like it’s working too hard it loses all of it’s appeal.

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    • Replies: @The preferred nomenclature is...
    In your companion fantasy to the one where you were as talented a songwriter as Tom Petty you sleep with swimsuit models every night of the week. Am I right?
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  133. I forget the exact context, but I remember Petty saying what distinguishes great music is whether or not it is ‘believable.’

    I guess ‘believable’ would describe his singing voice.

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  134. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Petty and Mike Campbell consistently turned out that not-incompetent, not-virtuosic guitar rock that makes kids with no particular musical genius want to play rock and roll guitar. He knew what tools to pick, he knew how to layer the parts, and the songs are solid bar band rock, accessible to anyone willing to put in a reasonable effort to learn guitar. The average guy can aspire to play like that.

    You are not going to play like , say, Larry Carlton without both real talent and a lot of work, and usually not without formal study with both private teachers and classroom theory instruction. And on the other hand, Johnny Ramone, Chrissie Hynde, and several other notable punk/new wave players are equaled in days or weeks by even the least talented poseurs, Petty’s music is a nice happy medium.

    (To be fair, although Hynde isn’t much of a guitarslinger, she has always had a second guitarist in the band who is. And, at least since James Honeyman Scott, they’ve all had to be strict herbivores, which cuts down on the choices quite a bit. One could do a lot worse than emulating any of them, but especially JH-S, and Robbie McIntosh.)

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  135. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Steve Sailer
    Petty became a big rock star in 1979 about 12 years after dropping out of high school to become a star. He and his bandmates probably had 10,000 hours of practice in by then.

    They probably had a thousand hours of playing and nine thousand hours in a van or station wagon.

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    • Replies: @Dieter Kief

    They probably had a thousand hours of playing and nine thousand hours in a van or station wagon.
     
    And lots of those hours in altered states of mind - at times hypersensitive, at times mega-cool etc. And in Rock'n'Roll, all that counts. Touring! Crammed together in those vans. That's how you form a band, and how you become "experienced" (Jimi Hendrix).
    , @James Thompson
    Yep
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  136. Trelane says:

    Breakdown was the coolest song in all of 1978. Maybe the coolest song of all time.

    It’s alright if you love me
    It’s alright if you don’t
    I’m not afraid of you running away
    Honey, I get the feeling you won’t
    There is no sense in pretending
    Your eyes give you away
    Something inside you is feeling like I do
    We said all there is to say
    Baby Breakdown
    Go ahead and give it to me
    Breakdown honey take me through the night
    Breakdown now I’m standing here can’t you see
    Breakdown, it’s alright
    It’s alright
    It’s alright
    Breakdown
    Go ahead and give it to me
    Breakdown honey take me through the night
    Breakdown now I’m standing here can’t you see
    Breakdown, it’s alright
    It’s alright
    It’s alright

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  137. pyrrhus says:

    I always found Tom Petty’s performances superlative, while his recordings weren’t quite as impressive.He was a true showman.
    Many good ones, but my favorite was Last Dance for Mary Jane.

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  138. It always seemed that Tom Petty found that sweet spot in Rock: simultaneously quirky, authentic Yet accessible. He was clearly a lot brighter than most of his contemporaries from the 76-79 period. Though one of his last albums “Mojo” seemed weak, most of the other material from 1980-2010 was solid

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  139. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    But Tom didn’t make Elvis’s mistake of being too nice for his own good.

    Elvis’ mistake was in not listening to someone, anyone, besides Col. Tom.

    The relationship and its bad effect on Elvis was well known throughout the music and movie industries by 1960 or so. Everyone told Elvis that the Col. was taking him for a horrible ride, but Elvis was too loyal for his own good.

    It was so bad that when Jerry Wald set out to make an “Elvis movie without Elvis” , he made a couple, the most well known of which was Let’s Make Love with Marilyn Monroe and Frankie Vaughan. He pretty well ‘took the piss out of’ Elvis and the Col. in a short vignette. (It was a first screen role for another rock and roll legend, Dick Dale.) The result is that he was picked, unbelievably enough, to produce the next actual Elvis movie, Wild in the Country with Tuesday Weld and Hope Lange.

    Had Elvis listened to _any_ other people besides the Col., he would have been immeasurably better off.

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Parker's contract with Elvis gave him 50% of Elvis's earnings.
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  140. guest says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Yeah right – it’s top down, which has it’s merits.

    Rock is bottom up – and that has it’s merits, too.

    (We might agree that freedom can work both ways – as a consequence of insight/discipline (classical music, rather top down) and as a consequence of playfulness/spontaneity (Rock band, rather bottom up)).
     

    Frans Johansson-- imagine a Malcolm Gladwell that can be taken seriously-- found that the only significant exceptions to the "10,000-hour rule" were in immature (chronologically) fields such as punk rock, and perhaps extreme sports as well.

    Well-trod paths such as those in tennis, golf, chess, and classical music are not friendly to prodigies, let alone dilettantes.

    I see your point overall, but of course there are prodigies in all the fields you mentioned. Mozart wrote Andante in C for keyboard when he was 4 years old. Bobby Fischer won the “Game of the Century” when he was 13.

    Of course, these were men at the very tippy-top of already selective disciplines. Only so many people can ever learn to play chess at a grandmaster level, and only so many could write competent classical pieces. But how many could do what these two did at their ages? Almost none. How many could have their careers, no matter how much effort they put into it? Maybe none.

    These 10,000 hours things really should come with the caveat, “So long as you’re not Mozart.”

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    Mozart was probably well on his way to 10,000 by age four, thanks to an obsessive father. Your caveat should read, "So long as you're not the son of [Leopold] Mozart."

    At 13, Fischer had been playing for seven years.

    In early childhood, too, the hours may count double. Our brains are growing at a faster rate.

    Anyone up to doing the calculus on this?
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  141. Curle says:

    “To be a female pop star, you have to be good looking or a good singer”

    I haven’t read all 136 comments to this point, but I hope I’m not the first to point out Patti Smith was neither.

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    • Replies: @black sea
    Patti Smith is female?
    , @Jim Don Bob
    Patti Smith was a "pop star"?
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  142. black sea says:
    @Curle
    "To be a female pop star, you have to be good looking or a good singer"

    I haven't read all 136 comments to this point, but I hope I'm not the first to point out Patti Smith was neither.

    Patti Smith is female?

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Considering she gave birth at 19, I'd guess yes.
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  143. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @black sea
    Patti Smith is female?

    Considering she gave birth at 19, I’d guess yes.

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  144. M_Young says:

    “any era of the Suburban Lawns”

    The Suburban Lawns had ‘eras’?

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  145. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Surprised by Petty’s confession to a long period of heroin use in his 40′s.
    Could not have helped his prospects for longevity.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2015/10/07/tom-petty-was-a-heroin-addict-in-the-90s-heres-why-hes-finally-talking-about-it/?utm_term=.90b496f1f1e4

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  146. guest says:

    Speaking of Petty’s acting roles (someone mentioned the Postman above), as I recall he played himself in the finale of the Larry Sanders Show. Larry booked to musical acts for his final episode: Petty and Clint Black. Petty was under the impression he would be giving the Bette Middler serenade, but he gets aced out by Clint.

    Tensions are high. Petty’s asking Greg Kinear who he is, and Kinear or someone else says he was nominated for an Oscar. Petty asks, “For what, Talk Soup?” which starts a brawl.

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  147. guest says:

    Does anyone else remember that dismal post-9/11 concert with the candles that aired on like every tv channel at once? Everyone else sang dirges, but Petty rocked I Won’t Back Down only a bit more earnestly than if he were in a bar.

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  148. @Anonymous
    They probably had a thousand hours of playing and nine thousand hours in a van or station wagon.

    They probably had a thousand hours of playing and nine thousand hours in a van or station wagon.

    And lots of those hours in altered states of mind – at times hypersensitive, at times mega-cool etc. And in Rock’n’Roll, all that counts. Touring! Crammed together in those vans. That’s how you form a band, and how you become “experienced” (Jimi Hendrix).

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  149. Glaivester says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer
    “Don’t Come Around Here No More"

    Petty looked just like the Mad Hatter in Tenniel's original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, which I presume was the inspiration for the weird redneck sitar single.

    There’s a recent movie “Barman and Harley Quinn” or some such (I haven’t seen it, but have seen some reviews of it). There’s a scene where Harley does a karaoke rendition of “Hanging on the Telephone” (which is apparently by a band called the Nerves, although I have only heard the Blondie version). I can’t help but thinking that if they did a movie with Jervis Tetch (The Mad Hatter, inspired by the obvious source), that they could have him do “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”

    Also, Star Trek: The Next Generation had an episode “Phantasms” that featured a dream where Councilor Troi was a cake, just like Alice in that music video.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    You decide:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emy5mA8Ixtc

    And here again:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=025n7FkUY4w


    Harley Quinn the character was openly based on Debbie circa 1978.

    In a recent interview, D laments that Margot Robbie had upstaged her, by having a better ass than she did at that age.
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  150. Tom Petty talks in his last show about some astonishingly istevey things –

    - “affordable housing”, and guns and cheap and ugly imported goods (…he had a guitar, somebody had payed him one Dollar to take it with him, you know, a Japanese guitar, it was that ugly…), immediate bonding, not so cool people being unable to understand, let alone tolerate such behavior at the dark side of Gainesville, Fla. and – his Band and his guitarist Mike Campbell:

    This laid back indeed -ehem: statement? – of his is 55:00 minutes in:

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  151. el topo says:
    @Achmed E. Newman
    Hey Steve, I know you can't have 100 video clips on here, but this is something different that I'd almost forgotten about, and you are a movie buff. Tom Petty has a "cameo" part in a move called "Made in Heaven" from about 30 years ago. It'd be probably called a chick flick, but it's a cool movie about reincarnation.

    His big line is "I wonder what her childhood was like."

    Tom Petty, as Stanky, with the skank Lucille (?) and Timothy Hutton as Elmo, the co-star of the movie with Kellie McGillis.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tups6dzCfqs

    BTW, Rick Ocasek of The Cars plays a short part as a car mechanic and Neil Young is an OTR trucker who picks up the hitchhiking Timothy Hutton.

    Thanks for the clip. I had completely forgotten about that movie – if I ever knew it existed – and I like Alan Rudolph a lot.

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  152. @Anonymous

    But Tom didn’t make Elvis’s mistake of being too nice for his own good.
     
    Elvis' mistake was in not listening to someone, anyone, besides Col. Tom.

    The relationship and its bad effect on Elvis was well known throughout the music and movie industries by 1960 or so. Everyone told Elvis that the Col. was taking him for a horrible ride, but Elvis was too loyal for his own good.

    It was so bad that when Jerry Wald set out to make an "Elvis movie without Elvis" , he made a couple, the most well known of which was Let's Make Love with Marilyn Monroe and Frankie Vaughan. He pretty well 'took the piss out of' Elvis and the Col. in a short vignette. (It was a first screen role for another rock and roll legend, Dick Dale.) The result is that he was picked, unbelievably enough, to produce the next actual Elvis movie, Wild in the Country with Tuesday Weld and Hope Lange.


    Had Elvis listened to _any_ other people besides the Col., he would have been immeasurably better off.

    Parker’s contract with Elvis gave him 50% of Elvis’s earnings.

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  153. @Curle
    "To be a female pop star, you have to be good looking or a good singer"

    I haven't read all 136 comments to this point, but I hope I'm not the first to point out Patti Smith was neither.

    Patti Smith was a “pop star”?

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    She was huge with critics and was getting airplay for awhile. She HATED the Other Girl at CBs who went on to major success until that Italian chick from Detroit steamrollered her, then she married Fred Sonic Smith and quit to have kids. Then Fred died and now she's back.
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  154. @guest
    There are exceptions, obviously. The Beatles stopped touring (for technical reasons, however, not because they weren't writing playable music) and made art albums. The kind you stereotypically listened to in beanbag chairs with headphones on. But their music will be passed on.

    Great points. The business about so-called concept albums or art music, though, is bit more nuanced. The over-produced stuff (i.e., that which incorporates artifice to create a work which exceeds the musician’s actual abilities) indeed suffers and becomes unable to be meaningfully performed live. This is, generally, the over-produced claptrap by hacks, not genuinely sophisticated work; ironically, the claptrap could indeed easily enough be performed by musicians with chops.

    Thus, Yes, Genesis, Rush, Dream Theater, Marillion, and Pink Floyd – all composed of musical geniuses – very handily perform(ed) sophisticated, lengthy pieces live night after night. To be sure, a debt is owed to enabling technology, particularly synthesisers (which become an orchestra in the hands of folks like Jordan Rudess, Rick Wakeman, Mark Kelly, and Tony Banks…) and pedals and MIDI (watch Geddy Lee perform songs like “Mission” or “Grand Designs”: he alternates from his bass to his keyboards seamlessly, all the while triggering sounds with his feet).

    [MORE]

    Add to the technology the social acceptance and financing now available for rock ‘n’ roll which enables actual orchestras – performing with the likes of Kiss, the Pet Shop Boys, Steve Vai, and many of the folks already mentioned – and reproducing sophsiticated or lenghty stuff live is possible and indeed common in a way it admittedly was not in days of yore.

    Now, some would argue about whether such work is “true” or “proper” rock ‘n’ roll, a question reasonable persons can disagree on but which my point does not address and which I reckon is uninteresting and semantic anyhow.

    Now, think of so called musicians like Kesha, Madonna, most current rappers, and so on: their overproduced stuff: autotuned all to Hell, full of weird effects that cannot even be reproduced in real time with a synthesiser but must essentilly be played as backing tracks, etc. That stuff is bad live, in many cases, because no actual instruments were used to create the music in the first instance and, in many cases, the vocalist has a great rack but cannot find middel C on a piano or sing to save her life. In the hands of talented musicians, though, the stuff would be easy enough to perform (though still a bad composition; think of having Olivier perform in a film by Jerry Bruckheimer…).

    The example that is screaming at me as inapposite to my entire theory right now is the Beatles: talented musicians whose later work was over-ambitious and predated the synthesisers, pedals, and availability of orchestras, and who also may have lacked the virtuosic, multi-instrumentalist coordination of a Michael Rutherford, Mike Keneally, or Derek Sherinian (let’s be honest, Ringo Starr is no Mike Mangini, and Paul McCartney no Chris Squire…). What’s more, most of that sophisticated stuff wasthe work of collaborators like Phil Spector as much or more so than of the Beatles themselves. (Trevor Rabin writes scores for orchestra when he is not shreddding with an electric guitar; John Lennon was less inclined toward that kind og thing). Hence, no touring for the Fab Four’s later, symphonically driven works. (I also think increasing conflict among the members and divergent interests contributed to their not wanting to tour together – much easier to record an album with someone who’s annoying you than to share a stage with him…).

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  155. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @cd
    This might not be popular, but I'll say this now.

    I think Petty might have been committed a little bit of unconscious plagiarism. I never had the guts to say it in mixed company, because it was off Juice Newton.

    I'll let ya'll guess the Petty hit song that may have borrowed off poor Juice...

    But hey, maybe I'm wrong!!

    I just don't think I am. Again, I've never made an issue of it because it's like telling people your uncle copped a feel. If he doesn't do it again, maybe it never happened...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-pswfTBt78

    Which one was it? I’m stumped.

    ……….And thanks for posting that Juice Newton song. I hadn’t heard that in decades. That’s a killer song. Kinda gots that rockabilly beat going with some good sustained singing over top. Hard to beat. The chorus might be a little too sing-song-y. But all in all, a true classic from the era that is now totally forgotten. I wonder how many other songs that were pretty awesome and were big hits get kinda lost in the shuffle like that.

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  156. @J1234
    Tom Petty was overrated. When I tried to write pop songs (I had a music store for many years) I'd mostly be disappointed because they'd turn out sounding like something Tom Petty wrote - relatively repetitive and working too hard to develop a catchy riff or theme. When a song sounds like it's working too hard it loses all of it's appeal.

    In your companion fantasy to the one where you were as talented a songwriter as Tom Petty you sleep with swimsuit models every night of the week. Am I right?

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    • Replies: @j1234

    In your companion fantasy to the one where you were as talented a songwriter as Tom Petty....
     
    That's not a fantasy, that's a nightmare. My actual fantasy was that songwriters at the level of Pall McCartney, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and others from that era would continue to be produced long after the 1960's. Boy was I wrong. It was an unrealistic fantasy.

    Like the auto industry that produced crappy cars from the late 70's to early '80's, however, the music industry had to trudge along selling the best of what they had. Really pitiful songwriters like Prince and Tom Petty and Dan Fogelberg (and whoever wrote that crap for Pink Floyd) were held up as "great" songwriters....the same way Lee Iococca had to tried to pawn Chrysler K cars off as really great cars. (What an awful era for most everything, except computers and medicine.) Springsteen, Steely Dan and ABBA wrote some great stuff during that era, but not many other popular acts. Those three acts, though very different from each other, had truly unique musical perspectives.

    By comparison, Tom Petty was the opposite of unique. He was an amalgamation with very little synthesis. He seemed to me to be part new wave, part mid-60's pop, part electric Dylan mixed together with other poorly assimilated parts, then heavily marketed to the public with his hang-dog, drug addict face. There was almost no chemistry in his music, but lot's of superfluous attitude. To be fair, he wasn't unique in that sense.

    I am sorry he died early, and he seemed to be a more or less decent guy, but I'm not going to say nice things about his music.

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  157. @whoever
    Probably Lord Randall
    ‘O where ha’ you been, Lord Randal, my son?
    And where ha’ you been, my handsome young man?’
    ‘I ha’ been at the greenwood; mother, mak my bed soon,
    For I’m wearied wi’ hunting, and fain wad lie down.

    My English teacher in high school actually made that comparison; after explaining to us what in the Hell “eels boiled in broo” were. She was keen on getting us to realise that in many ways modern, popular musical lyricists were the inheritors of earlier years’ poets: which is sad, given how vapid most such lyrics are….

    I remember she also pointed out “Kiling an Arab” was an allusion to Camus’ The Stanger when we read that book; we all listened to the song on a cassette. Nowadays she’s be fired for insensitivity, since even the Cure themselves have retconned the song into “Killing Another.”

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  158. @cwhatfuture
    Good lord. Yes. It was the SF metro area. Yes. I called it old because I hadn't been there in 30 years or lived in CA since then, and I wasn't even sure if it still was there. It may be have been new in 89 but the bathrooms were disgusting.

    There is much wisdom in this approach. Composing music, like writing, is about editing: knowing what to remove is as importing as knowing what to add (“writing is revising”).

    Asked whether it would be challenging to arrange their energetic, bombastic music for their now legendary performance on Unplugged, an unworried Paul Stanley explained they had always had the philosophy that if you couldn’t play a song on just an acoustic guitar and have it still be interesting, then it is not a good song.

    And, yes, “Refugee” is epic.

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  159. @Steve from Detroit
    One of my favorite musicians, for a lot of reasons. Some random thoughts:

    1. Damn the Torpedoes is his best, and that's saying something. I wore out a CD, yes, wore it out, playing that in college.

    2. The Traveling Wilburys combined three favorites: Orbison, Petty and Harrison, and it was all seemingly a lark. Effortless music.

    3. I thought Petty's voice was iconic, yet I cannot bear to listen to Dylan. I've never understood how people think they have the same tone.

    4. Everyone I know that criticized Petty would say things like "oh, that's just guitar rock (whatever that is)" or "his melodies are so plain/simple, anyone can do that". Then why hasn't anyone?

    5. Ornery is the right adjective for him. Even in interviews, there were times when he would just seem completely annoyed, but almost in a humorous way.

    "It's just the normal noises in here...."

    Remember that time Petty translated for Dylan when the latter accepted a Grammy? It may be how come people reckon they have similar voices.

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  160. @education realist
    "Chuck Berry made it to 90 and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis are still alive in their 80s."

    Dylan is 76, as is Charlie Watts. Jagger and Richard are 74. McCartney's 74, Clapton is 72. CSN&Y are all from 72-76. Diana Ross 73, Smokey Robinson, 77. Henley and Santana both turned 70. Basically, all the big names from the 60s are in their 70s, all the big 70s bands are approaching 70.

    Every second of Keith Richard's last 50 years is borrowed. But apart from that, I don't see any reason why these guys shouldn't live another ten years, barring a sudden heart attack like Petty. Most of them have done quite a bit of drug abuse and boozing, too.

    Heart attacks kill a lot of musicians who make it past overdoses. George Harrison and Levon Helm died of cancer, but I don't remember a lot of others. But Robert Palmer, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Jerry Garcia, Rick Danko, John Phillips, etc.

    Robert Palmer was a racist! He famously relocated from the Bahamas to Switzerland in 1993, supposedly to escape crime and violence, but we all know it was really to be near white people and avoid Negroes, and race has absolutely no correlation with behaviour.

    There, now we’ve a human biodiversity angle.

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  161. @The preferred nomenclature is...
    Another one was jamming to Mary Jane's Last Dance early in my sobriety with my sponsor singing his own very lewd lyrics (remember how hot Bassinger was then!). That is when I knew I could still have fun sans the blackouts, circa 1994.

    “Another” one rather than “the” other one? Is recklessly endangering others’ lives just a hobby for you, like model railroads and stamp-collecting is for other people?

    As an amiable but ornery Southerner myself, I’m as anti-authoritarian as anyone, and I despise the likes of M.A.D.D., but you really ought to rethink your priorities if you haven’t already.

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    • Replies: @The preferred nomenclature is...
    Thanks Mom.


    BTW, you obviously haven't read all the comments on this thread.
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  162. MEH 0910 says:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/04/travel/tom-petty-los-angeles-florida-gainesville.html

    Tom Petty’s ‘Greatest Trip’ Was to Los Angeles
    By JUSTIN SABLICH OCT. 4, 2017

    Gainesville, Fla., had a thriving rock ‘n’ roll scene in the 1960s — home to Stephen Stills among others — but it wasn’t a place where aspiring rock stars would reach their ultimate aspirations.

    As Warren Zanes, author of “Petty: The Biography” put it, “the reason to make it in Florida was to make it out of Florida.”

    Tom Petty, one ambitious young man of the time period, remembered his hometown of Gainesville fondly in the documentary “Tom Petty: Runnin’ Down a Dream.” He described it as a cross between a university and farming town with a strong “southern contingent.”

    But his Florida childhood was far from idyllic. He lived with an abusive father, and his mother battled epilepsy and cancer. He was looking to escape at an early age.

    “What I did come to notice was that everything really great seemed to be coming from California,” Mr. Petty said in “Petty: The Biography.” “The television announcers would say, ‘From television city, in Hollywood, it’s the Red Skelton Show!’ And I thought, ‘Television city? Man, that’s where I need to be.’ This is when I was still a little kid.”

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  163. To be a female pop star, you have to be good looking or a good singer or both.

    How do you explain Janis Joplin, then?

    Or Cher?

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  164. @guest
    I see your point overall, but of course there are prodigies in all the fields you mentioned. Mozart wrote Andante in C for keyboard when he was 4 years old. Bobby Fischer won the "Game of the Century" when he was 13.

    Of course, these were men at the very tippy-top of already selective disciplines. Only so many people can ever learn to play chess at a grandmaster level, and only so many could write competent classical pieces. But how many could do what these two did at their ages? Almost none. How many could have their careers, no matter how much effort they put into it? Maybe none.

    These 10,000 hours things really should come with the caveat, "So long as you're not Mozart."

    Mozart was probably well on his way to 10,000 by age four, thanks to an obsessive father. Your caveat should read, “So long as you’re not the son of [Leopold] Mozart.”

    At 13, Fischer had been playing for seven years.

    In early childhood, too, the hours may count double. Our brains are growing at a faster rate.

    Anyone up to doing the calculus on this?

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  165. @EriK
    I confess I was never a huge Tom Petty fan until I saw the documentary Running Down a Dream. It was great. Amazing he was creating such good music right under my nose for so many years and I hardly noticed.

    I confess I was never a huge Tom Petty fan until …

    Still not.

    It’s interesting what appeals to various folks. I had a reasonable guess Sailer would be a fan, given his previous musical posts.

    Refugee and Free Falling got enough airplay and were distinctive enough I remember those. I figured i’d give it a shot, and pulled up “American Girl” video yesterday. I was dead bored and quit half way through. Repetitive–continuous, no change, no hook–musical line and whatever he’s saying about girl barely registers through the noise. Overall, just a few minutes of musical noise. Then tried Free Falling–made it through, the swoopy “free falling” part is at least a break in continuous noise and adds interest–but ho-hum. Tried something else–forget now. Boring. Tried the Alice in wonderland video above. Lyrically vapid. Endless “Don’t come around here anymore”. Why? Is she too clingy? Crappy in bed? Just a big headache? Ok, I don’t really need to know, but it’s just sort of the reverse of the most banal love song. And goes on and on and on, again without any hook or melodic interest.

    I think whatever it is in terms of both melodic interest and lyrical impact that makes say Mancini/Mercer’s “Moon River” appealing to folks, Petty lacks.

    But apparently Petty’s style of continuous–not very melodically interesting–stream of music appeals to some folks.

    For me,
    –> same era — much prefer say Bob Seger,
    — more interesting melodic work, with buildups and breaks
    — can understand his stories\lyrics, what they are about and why they might be interesting
    — better, more interesting raspy voice

    –> from same neck of the woods — Zac Brown (my son has Pandora list/channel that we listen to when we’re shooting pool, I did a little research last winter and found several of the tunes I liked on it were from this Zac Brown guy, from Georgia)
    — again way more interesting melodies
    — more interesting stories/emotions being conveyed lyrically and I can understand them
    — or just more fun

    My favorite musical experience of recent years is when i’m sitting up here–usually on the computer–and my daughter gets on the piano downstairs and plays this “Moonlight Sonata” thing. The notes wafting up from below. Wow. Dude who wrote that had some serious talent.

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  166. Tracy says: • Website
    @Mr. Anon
    Wire services are reporting that Tom Petty has died.

    R.I.P. He was a good musician. I especially liked Running Down a Dream and Rescue Me. He always seemed like an un-pretentious guy - a professional musician who thought that what he had to offer you was his music, not his opinions.

    The story I read of his death said that he had "abused heroin in the 90s". (Don't they mean "used heroin"? How does one abuse something that has no legitimate or beneficial use?). Rock musicians might make an interesting study in the effects of illicit drug use on overall heath.

    How does one abuse something that has no legitimate or beneficial use?

    Heroin does have “legitimate” and beneficial use, and is used medically in the UK under the name diamorphine. It’s what pain patients sometimes turn to in the U.S. when their doctors passively allow the DEA to practice medicine, and in fear for their medical licenses, cut those patients off from legal pain relief.

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  167. j1234 says:
    @The preferred nomenclature is...
    In your companion fantasy to the one where you were as talented a songwriter as Tom Petty you sleep with swimsuit models every night of the week. Am I right?

    In your companion fantasy to the one where you were as talented a songwriter as Tom Petty….

    That’s not a fantasy, that’s a nightmare. My actual fantasy was that songwriters at the level of Pall McCartney, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and others from that era would continue to be produced long after the 1960′s. Boy was I wrong. It was an unrealistic fantasy.

    Like the auto industry that produced crappy cars from the late 70′s to early ’80′s, however, the music industry had to trudge along selling the best of what they had. Really pitiful songwriters like Prince and Tom Petty and Dan Fogelberg (and whoever wrote that crap for Pink Floyd) were held up as “great” songwriters….the same way Lee Iococca had to tried to pawn Chrysler K cars off as really great cars. (What an awful era for most everything, except computers and medicine.) Springsteen, Steely Dan and ABBA wrote some great stuff during that era, but not many other popular acts. Those three acts, though very different from each other, had truly unique musical perspectives.

    By comparison, Tom Petty was the opposite of unique. He was an amalgamation with very little synthesis. He seemed to me to be part new wave, part mid-60′s pop, part electric Dylan mixed together with other poorly assimilated parts, then heavily marketed to the public with his hang-dog, drug addict face. There was almost no chemistry in his music, but lot’s of superfluous attitude. To be fair, he wasn’t unique in that sense.

    I am sorry he died early, and he seemed to be a more or less decent guy, but I’m not going to say nice things about his music.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    In the tradition of the flathead six Plymouths and slant six A bodies, the original Aries and Reliant K cars were boring but reliable long lasting little cars. Later FWD Mopars were sometimes saddled with bogus electrics and shitty engines.
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  168. DBowman says:

    When I used to fly my paraglider, I would do it to Petty’s “learning to fly”.

    And tooling down highway 1 through Big Sur in a little European roadster to “running down a dream”.

    Tom Petty, RIP.

    Read More
    • Replies: @J1234

    When I used to fly my paraglider, I would do it to Petty’s “learning to fly”.
     
    Okay, I admit it. That was one Petty song that I really liked.
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  169. @Autochthon
    “Another” one rather than “the” other one? Is recklessly endangering others’ lives just a hobby for you, like model railroads and stamp-collecting is for other people?

    As an amiable but ornery Southerner myself, I’m as anti-authoritarian as anyone, and I despise the likes of M.A.D.D., but you really ought to rethink your priorities if you haven’t already.

    Thanks Mom.

    BTW, you obviously haven’t read all the comments on this thread.

    Read More
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  170. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Jim Don Bob
    Patti Smith was a "pop star"?

    She was huge with critics and was getting airplay for awhile. She HATED the Other Girl at CBs who went on to major success until that Italian chick from Detroit steamrollered her, then she married Fred Sonic Smith and quit to have kids. Then Fred died and now she’s back.

    Read More
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  171. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @j1234

    In your companion fantasy to the one where you were as talented a songwriter as Tom Petty....
     
    That's not a fantasy, that's a nightmare. My actual fantasy was that songwriters at the level of Pall McCartney, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and others from that era would continue to be produced long after the 1960's. Boy was I wrong. It was an unrealistic fantasy.

    Like the auto industry that produced crappy cars from the late 70's to early '80's, however, the music industry had to trudge along selling the best of what they had. Really pitiful songwriters like Prince and Tom Petty and Dan Fogelberg (and whoever wrote that crap for Pink Floyd) were held up as "great" songwriters....the same way Lee Iococca had to tried to pawn Chrysler K cars off as really great cars. (What an awful era for most everything, except computers and medicine.) Springsteen, Steely Dan and ABBA wrote some great stuff during that era, but not many other popular acts. Those three acts, though very different from each other, had truly unique musical perspectives.

    By comparison, Tom Petty was the opposite of unique. He was an amalgamation with very little synthesis. He seemed to me to be part new wave, part mid-60's pop, part electric Dylan mixed together with other poorly assimilated parts, then heavily marketed to the public with his hang-dog, drug addict face. There was almost no chemistry in his music, but lot's of superfluous attitude. To be fair, he wasn't unique in that sense.

    I am sorry he died early, and he seemed to be a more or less decent guy, but I'm not going to say nice things about his music.

    In the tradition of the flathead six Plymouths and slant six A bodies, the original Aries and Reliant K cars were boring but reliable long lasting little cars. Later FWD Mopars were sometimes saddled with bogus electrics and shitty engines.

    Read More
    • Replies: @J1234

    In the tradition of the flathead six Plymouths and slant six A bodies, the original Aries and Reliant K cars were boring but reliable long lasting little cars. Later FWD Mopars were sometimes saddled with bogus electrics and shitty engines.
     
    Not only that, but (as I recall) they also heralded the front wheel drive era for US makers.*

    That hardly makes a great car. Lee was telling people how wonderful they were, partly because one of them was a convertible. US makers hadn't produced a convertible in a few years. The K car was presented as the American automobile's return to glory. I don't think so.


    --

    * The Chevy Citation was also FWD, but what a piece of junk.

    BTW, I had a 1950 Plymouth fastback a few years ago. Slow, but it handled well. Flathead six that was first produced in the mid 1930's. Richard Petty's dad Lee actually won a race or two in that 97 horsepower wonder. (The good gas mileage meant fewer pit stops.)

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  172. @NorthOfTheOneOhOne
    Petty never had a Thriller or Sgt Pepper's that pushed him over the top. Every album he put out from 1976 until 1994 had at least one track that got significant airplay. That's unusually consistent for a rock act.

    Yes, that’s a really long time to have new stuff on the radio.

    On the other hand, he was more of a highly competent, even distinguished rock star (in the sense you’d call somebody who had written many well-reviewed, good-selling novels distinguished) rather than a transcendent one.

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  173. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Petty’s songs had a certain ‘anthemic’ quality that added an element of statement.

    John Mellencamp, Cheap Trick, John Waite, Bryan Adams, and etc. riffed on pretty much the same themes, but…

    Petty had a knack for making youth passions somewhat a big broader in scope.

    So, ‘refugee’ or ‘even the losers’ are like pop philosophy, a way of life. ‘Free falling’ is a vision of Americana, both wistful and proud.
    And it was without the heavyhandedness of the Eagles. ‘Hotel California’ is a very impressive song but it strives for meaning that isn’t there. And ‘art rock’ bands of the 70s would have done better without the posturing as many of them actually had good song-writers. It was the pretension that drowned them. With Floyd, the strangeness was real, but I always thought Gabriel was a poseur though not without latent. Collins wised up later and just made honest pop. Good for him.

    Problem with pop-pop is it sounds formulaic and impersonal. All those big-hair bands of the 80s for example.

    60s lent ‘auteur’ air to rockers. They weren’t just big stars or big acts but had a ‘personal’ thing.

    Petty had a nice balance of things. In some ways, his act wasn’t much different from Hall & Oates and Cheap Trick who came up with some really astounding pop songs. But H&O and CT were never ‘personal’. In contrast, Petty made honest pop but had a real persona in the 60s mold, which makes him one of last truly legendary figures in rock. He was too young for 60s, too old for 90s, he found his way through changing times with damn the torpedoes attitude.

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  174. J1234 says:
    @Anonymous
    In the tradition of the flathead six Plymouths and slant six A bodies, the original Aries and Reliant K cars were boring but reliable long lasting little cars. Later FWD Mopars were sometimes saddled with bogus electrics and shitty engines.

    In the tradition of the flathead six Plymouths and slant six A bodies, the original Aries and Reliant K cars were boring but reliable long lasting little cars. Later FWD Mopars were sometimes saddled with bogus electrics and shitty engines.

    Not only that, but (as I recall) they also heralded the front wheel drive era for US makers.*

    That hardly makes a great car. Lee was telling people how wonderful they were, partly because one of them was a convertible. US makers hadn’t produced a convertible in a few years. The K car was presented as the American automobile’s return to glory. I don’t think so.

    * The Chevy Citation was also FWD, but what a piece of junk.

    BTW, I had a 1950 Plymouth fastback a few years ago. Slow, but it handled well. Flathead six that was first produced in the mid 1930′s. Richard Petty’s dad Lee actually won a race or two in that 97 horsepower wonder. (The good gas mileage meant fewer pit stops.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Oddly enough, my parents' 1980 Chevy Citation hatchback was pretty reliable and lasted well into the 1990s (no road salts in SoCal to rust the car).
    , @Anonymous
    Hot rodders and stock car and drag racing fans often love Mopar for the successful race cars and the great racing components Chrysler offered in the sixties and early 70s. The B/RB and Race Hemi engines, the 727 Torqueflite transmission, and the very good inhouse and Dana 44 and 60 rearends and the torsion bar suspension. Plus the garish cool colors and trim packages offered.

    And tech geeks love the Turbine Car program for its sheer cool factor, even though their total sales consisted of one, and that when it was old enough to join AARP.

    But as a vendor of best-in-class American cars, Chrysler's heyday was the thirties, forties (including their huge contributions to the war effort, second only to Packard in the engineering department) and fifties. By the end of the JFK/MM era, or just slightly thereafter, in general, a Ford was a better bet at random for an all around reliable decent road car and in general, General Motors better still. By 1965, more often than not, a Chevy was the better choice among American cars. You could rarely go wrong with a SBC and a Turbo HydraMatic 350 or 400. Chrysler engines were reliable enough, but ran like crap until thoroughly warmed up, and the bodies rusted worse than GM, the electrics gave trouble more often, the interiors felt cheesier, and the styling was more often questionable.

    GM knew what people really wanted and gave them that, for the most part. A/C and heating systems that really worked, comfortable seats for the fat American ass, interiors that looked good in the showroom and held up moderately well.

    That said: Chrysler (via Dodge and Plymouth) always made a good reliable old-maid-aunt car (the slant six and the early K cars), their sedans with the police and taxi packages were hell for stout and took a lot of abuse, and they did make both alternators and electronic ignition standard before anyone else. Once mechanics learned how to deal with them, these were big wins. And when Dodge started offering the Cummins diesel engine in the pickups, those were the first factory built diesel pickup trucks worth having. Despite proven demand, as evinced by hundreds of backyard and commercially done engine swaps, neither GM nor Ford would make a respectable effort at a diesel pickup until then, and both GM and Ford have sold some real piles of dog crap masquerading as diesel engines at various times. The old two valve B Cummins in the early Ram diesels are to this day the most reliable and long lived engines ever sold in a pickup truck anywhere.

    But yes, Lee was a bullshit salesman at Chrysler just as he had been at Ford.
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  175. @J1234

    In the tradition of the flathead six Plymouths and slant six A bodies, the original Aries and Reliant K cars were boring but reliable long lasting little cars. Later FWD Mopars were sometimes saddled with bogus electrics and shitty engines.
     
    Not only that, but (as I recall) they also heralded the front wheel drive era for US makers.*

    That hardly makes a great car. Lee was telling people how wonderful they were, partly because one of them was a convertible. US makers hadn't produced a convertible in a few years. The K car was presented as the American automobile's return to glory. I don't think so.


    --

    * The Chevy Citation was also FWD, but what a piece of junk.

    BTW, I had a 1950 Plymouth fastback a few years ago. Slow, but it handled well. Flathead six that was first produced in the mid 1930's. Richard Petty's dad Lee actually won a race or two in that 97 horsepower wonder. (The good gas mileage meant fewer pit stops.)

    Oddly enough, my parents’ 1980 Chevy Citation hatchback was pretty reliable and lasted well into the 1990s (no road salts in SoCal to rust the car).

    Read More
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  176. J1234 says:
    @DBowman
    When I used to fly my paraglider, I would do it to Petty's "learning to fly".

    And tooling down highway 1 through Big Sur in a little European roadster to "running down a dream".

    Tom Petty, RIP.

    When I used to fly my paraglider, I would do it to Petty’s “learning to fly”.

    Okay, I admit it. That was one Petty song that I really liked.

    Read More
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  177. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @J1234

    In the tradition of the flathead six Plymouths and slant six A bodies, the original Aries and Reliant K cars were boring but reliable long lasting little cars. Later FWD Mopars were sometimes saddled with bogus electrics and shitty engines.
     
    Not only that, but (as I recall) they also heralded the front wheel drive era for US makers.*

    That hardly makes a great car. Lee was telling people how wonderful they were, partly because one of them was a convertible. US makers hadn't produced a convertible in a few years. The K car was presented as the American automobile's return to glory. I don't think so.


    --

    * The Chevy Citation was also FWD, but what a piece of junk.

    BTW, I had a 1950 Plymouth fastback a few years ago. Slow, but it handled well. Flathead six that was first produced in the mid 1930's. Richard Petty's dad Lee actually won a race or two in that 97 horsepower wonder. (The good gas mileage meant fewer pit stops.)

    Hot rodders and stock car and drag racing fans often love Mopar for the successful race cars and the great racing components Chrysler offered in the sixties and early 70s. The B/RB and Race Hemi engines, the 727 Torqueflite transmission, and the very good inhouse and Dana 44 and 60 rearends and the torsion bar suspension. Plus the garish cool colors and trim packages offered.

    And tech geeks love the Turbine Car program for its sheer cool factor, even though their total sales consisted of one, and that when it was old enough to join AARP.

    But as a vendor of best-in-class American cars, Chrysler’s heyday was the thirties, forties (including their huge contributions to the war effort, second only to Packard in the engineering department) and fifties. By the end of the JFK/MM era, or just slightly thereafter, in general, a Ford was a better bet at random for an all around reliable decent road car and in general, General Motors better still. By 1965, more often than not, a Chevy was the better choice among American cars. You could rarely go wrong with a SBC and a Turbo HydraMatic 350 or 400. Chrysler engines were reliable enough, but ran like crap until thoroughly warmed up, and the bodies rusted worse than GM, the electrics gave trouble more often, the interiors felt cheesier, and the styling was more often questionable.

    GM knew what people really wanted and gave them that, for the most part. A/C and heating systems that really worked, comfortable seats for the fat American ass, interiors that looked good in the showroom and held up moderately well.

    That said: Chrysler (via Dodge and Plymouth) always made a good reliable old-maid-aunt car (the slant six and the early K cars), their sedans with the police and taxi packages were hell for stout and took a lot of abuse, and they did make both alternators and electronic ignition standard before anyone else. Once mechanics learned how to deal with them, these were big wins. And when Dodge started offering the Cummins diesel engine in the pickups, those were the first factory built diesel pickup trucks worth having. Despite proven demand, as evinced by hundreds of backyard and commercially done engine swaps, neither GM nor Ford would make a respectable effort at a diesel pickup until then, and both GM and Ford have sold some real piles of dog crap masquerading as diesel engines at various times. The old two valve B Cummins in the early Ram diesels are to this day the most reliable and long lived engines ever sold in a pickup truck anywhere.

    But yes, Lee was a bullshit salesman at Chrysler just as he had been at Ford.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    My parents' cars (usually lasting until the the one after the next one)

    1957 Dodge
    1961 Oldsmobile
    1963 Pontiac Catalina (a favorite)
    1967 Pontiac (Bonneville?)-- caused a lot of trouble for first 2 years, but then ran well for another 10
    1973 Buick Le Sabre
    1980 Chevy Citation (surprisingly trouble free)
    1985 Nissan Maxima
    2001 Toyota Corolla

    From the 1963 Pontiac Catalina onward, my parents usually got a decade or more out of a car. SoCal cars didn't rust.

    The 1963 Pontiac was used for a lot of dirt road exploring, so its surviving ten years was much appreciated.

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  178. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Glaivester
    There's a recent movie "Barman and Harley Quinn" or some such (I haven't seen it, but have seen some reviews of it). There's a scene where Harley does a karaoke rendition of "Hanging on the Telephone" (which is apparently by a band called the Nerves, although I have only heard the Blondie version). I can't help but thinking that if they did a movie with Jervis Tetch (The Mad Hatter, inspired by the obvious source), that they could have him do "Don't Come Around Here No More."

    Also, Star Trek: The Next Generation had an episode "Phantasms" that featured a dream where Councilor Troi was a cake, just like Alice in that music video.

    You decide:

    And here again:

    Harley Quinn the character was openly based on Debbie circa 1978.

    In a recent interview, D laments that Margot Robbie had upstaged her, by having a better ass than she did at that age.

    Read More
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  179. @Anonymous
    Hot rodders and stock car and drag racing fans often love Mopar for the successful race cars and the great racing components Chrysler offered in the sixties and early 70s. The B/RB and Race Hemi engines, the 727 Torqueflite transmission, and the very good inhouse and Dana 44 and 60 rearends and the torsion bar suspension. Plus the garish cool colors and trim packages offered.

    And tech geeks love the Turbine Car program for its sheer cool factor, even though their total sales consisted of one, and that when it was old enough to join AARP.

    But as a vendor of best-in-class American cars, Chrysler's heyday was the thirties, forties (including their huge contributions to the war effort, second only to Packard in the engineering department) and fifties. By the end of the JFK/MM era, or just slightly thereafter, in general, a Ford was a better bet at random for an all around reliable decent road car and in general, General Motors better still. By 1965, more often than not, a Chevy was the better choice among American cars. You could rarely go wrong with a SBC and a Turbo HydraMatic 350 or 400. Chrysler engines were reliable enough, but ran like crap until thoroughly warmed up, and the bodies rusted worse than GM, the electrics gave trouble more often, the interiors felt cheesier, and the styling was more often questionable.

    GM knew what people really wanted and gave them that, for the most part. A/C and heating systems that really worked, comfortable seats for the fat American ass, interiors that looked good in the showroom and held up moderately well.

    That said: Chrysler (via Dodge and Plymouth) always made a good reliable old-maid-aunt car (the slant six and the early K cars), their sedans with the police and taxi packages were hell for stout and took a lot of abuse, and they did make both alternators and electronic ignition standard before anyone else. Once mechanics learned how to deal with them, these were big wins. And when Dodge started offering the Cummins diesel engine in the pickups, those were the first factory built diesel pickup trucks worth having. Despite proven demand, as evinced by hundreds of backyard and commercially done engine swaps, neither GM nor Ford would make a respectable effort at a diesel pickup until then, and both GM and Ford have sold some real piles of dog crap masquerading as diesel engines at various times. The old two valve B Cummins in the early Ram diesels are to this day the most reliable and long lived engines ever sold in a pickup truck anywhere.

    But yes, Lee was a bullshit salesman at Chrysler just as he had been at Ford.

    My parents’ cars (usually lasting until the the one after the next one)

    1957 Dodge
    1961 Oldsmobile
    1963 Pontiac Catalina (a favorite)
    1967 Pontiac (Bonneville?)– caused a lot of trouble for first 2 years, but then ran well for another 10
    1973 Buick Le Sabre
    1980 Chevy Citation (surprisingly trouble free)
    1985 Nissan Maxima
    2001 Toyota Corolla

    From the 1963 Pontiac Catalina onward, my parents usually got a decade or more out of a car. SoCal cars didn’t rust.

    The 1963 Pontiac was used for a lot of dirt road exploring, so its surviving ten years was much appreciated.

    Read More
    • Replies: @J1234
    Your folks had some cool cars, Steve. I actually have a picture of a late 1950's Dodge hanging over my bed (on my side.)

    1963 Pontiac Catalina (a favorite)
     
    1963 was a landmark styling year for GM. Buick introduced the incredibly cool Riviera model (as opposed to the Riviera option of the 1950's.) The String Ray 2nd gen Corvette was introduced. Pontiac started their famous stacked headlight configuration, and most GM brands (except Chevy and Cadillac) had great interpretations of GM's new angular body line design theme. GM's 1963 styling left Chrysler and Ford (save the '63 and 1/2 Galaxie) in the dust.
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  180. @Anonymous
    They probably had a thousand hours of playing and nine thousand hours in a van or station wagon.

    Yep

    Read More
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  181. J1234 says:
    @Steve Sailer
    My parents' cars (usually lasting until the the one after the next one)

    1957 Dodge
    1961 Oldsmobile
    1963 Pontiac Catalina (a favorite)
    1967 Pontiac (Bonneville?)-- caused a lot of trouble for first 2 years, but then ran well for another 10
    1973 Buick Le Sabre
    1980 Chevy Citation (surprisingly trouble free)
    1985 Nissan Maxima
    2001 Toyota Corolla

    From the 1963 Pontiac Catalina onward, my parents usually got a decade or more out of a car. SoCal cars didn't rust.

    The 1963 Pontiac was used for a lot of dirt road exploring, so its surviving ten years was much appreciated.

    Your folks had some cool cars, Steve. I actually have a picture of a late 1950′s Dodge hanging over my bed (on my side.)

    1963 Pontiac Catalina (a favorite)

    1963 was a landmark styling year for GM. Buick introduced the incredibly cool Riviera model (as opposed to the Riviera option of the 1950′s.) The String Ray 2nd gen Corvette was introduced. Pontiac started their famous stacked headlight configuration, and most GM brands (except Chevy and Cadillac) had great interpretations of GM’s new angular body line design theme. GM’s 1963 styling left Chrysler and Ford (save the ’63 and 1/2 Galaxie) in the dust.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    GM's biggest problems were its not- invented-here mentality and its perceived need to make five or six different lines of engines until the eighties or nineties. In most respects the Chevy engine was always the best after the mid fifties. They used the generally inferior Rochester carburetor and in house brakes and rear ends that were not specially good. The Delco electrics were the best in the world until the Japanese really came around.
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  182. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @whoever
    Probably Lord Randall
    ‘O where ha’ you been, Lord Randal, my son?
    And where ha’ you been, my handsome young man?’
    ‘I ha’ been at the greenwood; mother, mak my bed soon,
    For I’m wearied wi’ hunting, and fain wad lie down.

    Arguably a Scots poem, though. “Edward” certainly is.

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  183. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @J1234
    Your folks had some cool cars, Steve. I actually have a picture of a late 1950's Dodge hanging over my bed (on my side.)

    1963 Pontiac Catalina (a favorite)
     
    1963 was a landmark styling year for GM. Buick introduced the incredibly cool Riviera model (as opposed to the Riviera option of the 1950's.) The String Ray 2nd gen Corvette was introduced. Pontiac started their famous stacked headlight configuration, and most GM brands (except Chevy and Cadillac) had great interpretations of GM's new angular body line design theme. GM's 1963 styling left Chrysler and Ford (save the '63 and 1/2 Galaxie) in the dust.

    GM’s biggest problems were its not- invented-here mentality and its perceived need to make five or six different lines of engines until the eighties or nineties. In most respects the Chevy engine was always the best after the mid fifties. They used the generally inferior Rochester carburetor and in house brakes and rear ends that were not specially good. The Delco electrics were the best in the world until the Japanese really came around.

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  184. J1234 says:

    In most respects the Chevy engine was always the best after the mid fifties.

    I remember the scandal from two or three decades ago when people found out their new Olds or Buicks had Chevy engines in them. People were mad, or so they said. I couldn’t see a problem. I don’t think that was the V8, though. I think it was maybe a V6, but I honestly can’t remember. Mercury had been putting essentially Ford engines in their cars from day one. I think it was more or less the same over at Chrysler, though I may be wrong. Certainly, the smallest Plymouth engine wouldn’t be found in a Chrysler, but I think many of the big or performance engines were more or less the same for Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth and (in the ’50′s) DeSoto.

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  185. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Mopar made no pretense of division specific engines. They had engine families with a semi-rational naming sequence. There were the A, LA (Lightweight A, the common 318 and 360), B (bigger V8s like the 383), RB, (Raised B, the 440), G (the slant six in its shorter stroke variants) and RG (Raised G), the 225 cid slant six. As core engines they were good but tended to be heavy. They suffered from carb and induction that warmed up slowly and geared starters that made an annoying noise.

    Ford occasionally marketed certain engines as being Lincoln or Mercury but the problem Ford had was they made a bewildering number of unrelated or distantly related engine families. Little or nothing interchanged so aftermarket performance parts were expensive and hot rodders mostly abandoned Ford for Chevy, and a lot of young males who never actually turned a wrench looked up to the “greasers” for automotive advice. It didn’t kill Ford by any means but cost them sales and raised their R&D cost: on the flip side it created occasional niches where they could have a superior race engine for a while with oddballs like the 427 side oiler, 427 SOHC, and Shotgun 429.

    Chevy basically had two engines anyone cared about, the small block and the big block. They had a lot of advantages and few disadvantages. The small block had staggered intake and exhaust valve groupings that caused some exhaust manifold issues and the distributor was in back of the carburetor. But mostly it was the most successful car engine ever built.

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