John Mayer’s Beautiful Tribute To Tom Petty Sums Up How Everyone Feels Today
As a rock’n roll fan, losing Tom Petty is a particularly harsh sting to the soul. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania’s version of Americana, Petty embodied a rebellious “I-gotta-get-out-of-this-town” type of vibe. His music urged you to scratch the itch of your dreams. And his music was best played loud, on an old stereo system in the basement that your dad acquired in the ’70s, during the the very beginning of peak Tom His music — and entire aura — was a bridge between the bohemian ideals of the ’60s and how they actually apply to your reality small town America. Like Mellencamp and Springsteen, Petty’s was a salt-of-the-earth type of poetic escape.
I can’t tell you how many times in elementary school and middle school I yelled the “oh my my, oh hell yes, honey put on that party dress!” with groups of friends watching VH1 after school. Or engaged in the following:
John Mayer eloquently captured exactly this on Instagram and Facebook.
“He made me believe in two things: that songwriting was everything, and that California must have felt like his music sounded…”
Tom Petty. One of the high priests of the Sonic Church of California. He wasn’t born there, but he planted so many songs there, it’s where his music takes place in my mind. Musically speaking, California is a repository for dreams. Every great song and artist associated with it adds a patch to that sun-faded tapestry. The songs spark these visions, some of them memories, and some of them just seen for the first time in the music and revisited throughout the years. Petty was a major architect of the spirit that makes musicians want to flock to California and write their songs and live the life that both authors them and is authored by them. Growing up a kid in suburban Connecticut in the late ‘80s, Tom Petty’s music was the only thing like it, both on the radio and on MTV. He made me believe in two things: that songwriting was everything, and that California must have felt like his music sounded. It did. And it always will. Musicians leave behind much more than records. They leave with us a shared dream space. A place we can continue to visit, even if after its creator is gone. Tom Petty’s California is my favorite California. It’s the one he painted both photo-real and abstract. It’s the one, like his music always portrayed, that straddles the dichotomy between proletariat and paradise; somewhere between the power lines and the palm trees, between Reseda and Malibu, between restlessness and ecstatic love. A legend reaches the other side. Rest In Peace
Run down those dreams, kids.