Tom Petty died late last night. And, lucky me, I managed to throw my back right out so am high on painkillers and on a heating pad, so all I’ve got right now is writing. And Netflix, of course. Frontier was just added – filmed in Newfoundland and starring Jason Momoa. It’s decent, he’s delightful – two drugged thumbs right up. But yes, Tom Petty.
I grew up with music. My parents brought us up in a home where we were surrounded by music. We sang while we cooked and cleaned, we listened to music all of the time. My father used to (and possibly still does) air guitar to The Rolling Stones as he cleaned, taught us to twist and crocodile rock; my mother made perfect mix tapes that covered Rita MacNeil to Guns N Roses, encouraged us to bring home all of the music to discover. My brother and I grew up dancing together, singing along to whatever came on the radio, and both still have wildly eclectic musical tastes.
With all of this, I have vivid musical memories. I remember hearing The Traveling Wilburys for the first time (my parents had the album). I remember hearing Free Falling for the first time with Mel, one of my oldest friends. He wasn’t an artist that my parents ever really listened to, but I really liked him when I heard him, and really discovered him in high school.
Because of the way the high school credit system worked, I needed to either take French or Drama to get my required amount – so I unexpectedly became a drama kid. I’ve told the story about the drama room here before, so I won’t tell it again. But one unshared part of the drama room was that we had to sing before every single class. The songs were generally songs that we knew, and of course, we had to sing American Pie. At the same time I was taking drama, my HS love and I were discovering music together – I’ve mentioned the Hip before, but we looked into The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Meatloaf, Jethro Tull, AC/DC, Tom Petty, Metallica…. the list marched on into popular music. Even after we ended, I still listened to these tunes. Much later, someone would call me Honeybee in reference to the track off of the Wildflowers album. Tom Petty feels timeless, he feels classic. I always dance when I hear Tom Petty.
Maybe it’s today’s drugs, or maybe it’s because I’m trapped in a body that generally feels injured and slow… but I am slowly starting to understand why they sang that the music died. We seem to lose all the good ones before we are ready – Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Amy Winehouse, the Notorious B.I.G., and Whitney Houston come leaping to mind – and now it seems like we are losing all the really good ones.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. This week has been nostalgic for me – someone from my past resurfaced in a really unclear, odd way and it has ignited a flame of hope in my chest. One of my favourite films (and BOOKS!) of all time, The Princess Bride, turned 30. I’m afraid with the terror that is gripping the world. And now, my favourite dancing music has died.
I really hope that the muscle relaxants kick in enough that I can go to the gym tomorrow. I think I need that break.