Remembering Blue Jeans and Tom Petty
To me, the music of Tom Petty has always been like an old pair of my favorite Levi jeans. The kind I wore when I was a teenager and a young man. They always felt good, and the more you wore them, the better they felt. If you gained a little weight, then they would stretch with you. If you lost a pound or two, you could just tighten your belt and get on with the game. They never let you down. Of course, as time moved on, you might have taken them for granted when your Mom, Grandmother, girlfriend or wife had you try some brand new so-called designer Jeans. But you quickly learned the truth and went back to the real thing. As the good times and bad times moved on with life, they would hang right in there with you. A little worse for wear, showing some holes and a bit frayed at the bottom, but still fitting, hanging in there and keeping you cool. Or as cool as you thought you were, which was quite important, you know. They almost became a part of your body, a part of you. So much so that you could never dream of parting with them. You found comfort in knowing that you always had your favorite jeans to keep you comfortable through the day and that they would forever be there. Until one day either your Mom, Grandmother, girlfriend or wife throws them out, or they just finally fell apart with no warning. One day they are here. Next day they are gone. That is how I am feeling today about the sudden passing of Tom Petty.
A daily comfort that I thought would always be with us is now gone forever, unannounced. Tom gave us pure and intelligent heartland rock and roll. He always delivered. He never stopped. He liked to play in jeans. Tom rolled with the changes like the coolest dude in school, man. For many like myself, he was a large part of the soundtrack of our youth, even if it was only on the perimeter, he was always there kicking serious ass with serious coolness. I got turned onto Tom Petty in 1978 with the release of ‘You’re Gonna Get It,’ but it wasn’t until the release of ‘Damn The Torpedos’ in 1979 that his music hit me right between the eyes and I was forever hooked. I remained a huge fan ever since, and you know, I always thought he would be around. Hell, he’s Tom Petty. American and indestructible.
During my first year in college in 1979, I wore one pair of jeans all the time. In fact, I had them for years. I had a small promotional pin for ‘Damn The Torpedoes’ that for some reason I always pinned next to my left pocket right after I put them on. I still have the pin. I wish I still had those jeans, and I wish we still had Tom Petty.
“Maybe somewhere down the road aways, you’ll think of me and wonder where I am these days. Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays…Purple Haze…”
October 3, 2017