Well, I watched the Peter Bogdanovich documentary about Tom Petty, and suddenly I found myself wondering why I seemed to have missed him all these years (except for the Traveling Wilburys, you know); and when I was telling Matt he said I was really lucky because now I had all this music to discover. I didn’t tell him I already had 20 albums at that stage. See, when I like someone, I really like them. I’m just sorry I missed this part but hey, there’s always YouTube:
Lots more after the jump!
So there was Tom Petty, growing up in Gainesville, Florida, and he was in several bands (including Mudcrutch, of whom more later) with his mates, and in the fullness of time they all got in a car and went to LA and there TP signed one of those contracts you sign when you’re young and dumb. “I didn’t know what publishing was,” he says in the film. “I thought it was books.” Well, you would, wouldn’t you? So he went to law, and he won, and he wrote a song about it.
And the years went by, and he sold a lot of records; and he had two wives, and he broke his hand:
Doctor: I hear you’re a gee-tar player?
Doctor: Son, you won’t be playin’ the gee-tar no more
and his house burned down; but what this post is really about is that he doesn’t seem to be suffering (unlike some, and yes, I include certain other people I like in that category) from old-rockstar-syndrome – he can still write good songs. goneforeign has already mentioned the new album with the Heartbreakers, Mojo, which is rather more bluesy than usual and very good with it; and last year TP reformed his old band Mudcrutch and they recorded a new album which is also ace and toured it about a bit. So here’s Shady Grove by Mudcrutch (which is one of the songs I learned at primary school from BBC schools radio) and Good Enough from Mojo for your listening pleasure.
And on one of the concert CDs I have, TP says of songwriting that “it’s kind of like having an orgasm – there’s various ways of getting there.” (This is over some idiot in the audience shouting “Stop doing covers!”) So maybe that’s the secret. RT and Bruce, please note. Happy birthday, Tom, and it’s only a number, you know.