Bob Dylan paid tribute to his late friend and Traveling Wilburys bandmate Tom Petty with a cover of “Learning to Fly” during the encore of Dylan’s Saturday night concert in Broomfield, Colorado. The performance came one day after what would have been Petty’s 67th birthday. (x)
(Movies) Though its appearance is still impressive considering it has yet to be released, The Shape of Water drips twelve spots to No. 18.
(Music) Rah rah ah-ah-ah! Ro mah ro-mah-mah! Gaga oh-la-la! Lady Gaga is No. 20. :(
(K-Pop) NCT Dream is living a nightmare, barely hanging in there at No. 19.
Hey, baby. There ain’t no easy way out.
Even if Tom Petty (No. 3) wasn’t your choice of music, chances are he was playing in the background at different points in your life. Free Fallin’ as your parents drive you to school. American Girl on the radio at the pool, just barely loud enough to hear over splashing and laughing and whistles and yelling. Mary Jane’s Last Dance being covered by a local band in a local dive bar the night you turned 21. Wildflowers stuttering from a static-filled FM station in a beat-up ‘02 Buick on a day you were feeling good and the sun was out. Wildflowers stuttering from a static-filled FM station the first time you got dumped.
He gave us the greatest gift a musician could give his audience. He gave us a soundtrack to our memories. Thank you, Tom Petty.
“To me, Tom Petty represented a kind of songwriting I idolized: complex simplicity. It said so much in the lyrics, the concepts, the stories, the message, the nuances … but always brought you back to a hook that got stuck in everyone’s head,” Swift said to Rolling Stone. “He motivated thousands of guitarists to learn to play just because they wanted to be able to play ‘Free Fallin’.’ Count me as one of them.”
“We became very good friends, really, for decades. I don’t like to bring it up that much, because The Beatles are so special that people might see it as boasting or something. But he actually became my friend, past being a Beatle to me. It was like having an older brother that had a lot of experience in the music business, someone who I could go to with my troubles and questions.
“I think [spirituality], probably, was the greatest gift he gave me. He gave me a way of understanding a higher power without it being stupid, or having tons of rules and books to read. But the best thing I can say to people that are curious about that is George was probably everything that you thought he was, and then some more. Very funny man; he could just kill me with his humor. He was a great guy and I miss him terribly.
“Strangely enough, we got along very well right away. He was the kind of person that, when he came across a good thing or the potential for a friend, he really was aggressive about it. And he had a way of knocking out anything that was extracurricular, or in the way of what was really going on. He could get you comfortable with him very quickly. I was always asking Beatle questions, and probably annoyed him. But, you know, he liked The Beatles, too. He liked talking about it and remembering it.”
[Tom Petty, NPR Music, 4th August 2014]
Tom Petty talking about George in 2014, accompanied by some of the ‘polaroids’ from the Traveling Wilburys sessions.
“Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.”
Rest in Peace, Tom Petty, one of the most remarkable, authentic, and illuminating poets of life and the soul, in any art form.
Tom Petty, leader of The Heartbreakers and member of The Traveling Wilburys, died Monday night from cardiac arrest. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee was 66 years old.
Petty told Fresh Air in 2006 that he drew on the music of The Byrds and The Beatles in the hopes of developing his own distinctive guitar style.
“We always wanted very much to create our own sound,” he said. “I tried to take whatever influences I had and make them meld together into something that was our own sound. And we somehow did that. I don’t know how.”
“It’s turned out to be the one song that’s had the most influence on people that approach me on the street or talk to me in a restaurant,” Petty said. “It’s been really important to a lot of people in their lives.”
For his part, Petty was touched by the way his music moved his fans: “I know the songs mean a lot to people, and it means a lot to me. … The rock 'n’ roll stuff is more than just something that you can manipulate into advertising or whatever they do with them. It means more than that to me.”