My first memory of Tom Petty, and pretty much all music, was an old cassette case my dad had in his truck of Full Moon Fever. When the sun pierced the window, it seemed to shine like a thousand prisms. I don’t have many memories of my father, but for some reason, the colorful album art stuck with me since I was six. While I didn’t know it at the time, his music would play an essential role in shaping my tastes for the next few decades. His Dylanesque pronunciation introduced me to the greats that came before as well as the power of great songwriting. It didn’t have to be overly profound; it only had to have a great bite. Petty was able to connect with all tastes and ages with his timeless craft.
It was the summer of 2006 when I got to see him. He was already advanced in years by rock standards, so I wasn’t sure of what to expect. There are moments that stick with you even though you might not fully remember details. These are the moments we live for that echo within our memories fondly. They are larger than this or a dozen lives. It was the wise dad of my girlfriend at the time who had given us tickets that was entirely closer than we deserved. It was as if he knew what we were in for. Rock and Roll is too difficult a thing to fully compute or define. Yet, if I were to give a lesson to someone on the depth and fervor – to capture it for some scientific study, I would look no further than that night. He was a man who was professionally sound, and musically incredible. He didn’t try to do too much but always put the crowd first. There are few artists like him and there will never be another.
The great thing about music is that it captures personality and soul. The artist is only a speaker away, now and forever. When we are all gone, music will always remain like an audio scrapbook. It is in this that we realize that art is without borders or time and the conductors of great art will live forever.