I walked in the house yesterday and my wife told me Tom Petty had died. I haven’t followed his recent current state of health and don’t even know the details of what happened. But there was something in me that felt a loss for a second then was followed by a thought of what he accomplished in the years he had.
Let’s for a minute pretend that a young Tom Petty first arrived on the scene today and somebody convinced him to try out for The Voice or the previous American Idol. In my mind, there is no part of that story where a chair gets turned or Simon doesn’t rip him apart. He was never what they consider “a great vocalist”. Yet, he has lived one of the most successful music careers of all time. You can’t hear a Tom Petty song on the radio and not know instantly who it is.
He always seemed to be exactly who he was. Out of that was birthed songs that have and forever will touch people at their core. One of my favorite of his is “Runnin' Down a Dream”. That vocal line mixed with that descending guitar riff makes me want to borrow a car faster than mine, find an empty highway, roll the windows down and just go.
Tom Petty is an absolute reminder to me to lean into exactly who I am. As a guitar player, as a songwriter, as a husband, as a dad and as a friend. Thank you sir for your example. See ya on the other side.