by Lawrence J. J. Leonard
In an ironic twist of life and death, we will soon celebrate the birthday of Thomas Earl Petty, AKA Tom Petty, the American rock musician, singer-songwriter, producer and music icon. He was born in Gainesville, Florida, on October 20, 1950.
As the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in his early career, he went on to co-found the 1980s supergroup “The Traveling Wilburys” with George Harrison (formerly of The Beatles) which also included Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne (formerly of Electric Light Orchestra).
His recent death on October 2, 2017, came too soon for our current generation of youth and 20-somethings who are woefully musically clueless by being exposed to the overpoliticized genre that is the self-aggrandizing rhythmic expression performed as Rap. Add to that the Electronic Pop swill from LA and NYC “record” production companies which foist repetitive and mindless phrases posing as anthems into the distribution stream to hawk oversexualized personas that will never pass as teen role models no matter how little they “donate to show you care” – when everyone is looking. But, I digress. Suffice to say that music as an art form has gone DOWN a peg with his unexpected passing.
If you grew up with rock music and appreciated what it was to sing about America and the American dream, or even if you only just learned about his melodies, or were ever fortunate enough to see him in concert, you may appreciate the following song from the Heartbreaker’s golden years. It was at the dawning of cable TV and MTV and CCTV and mobile phones.