A Valentine for Tom Petty, from April
2017 seems like a good year as any to send you a Valentine being that I’ve been enjoying your music for at least 3/4 of my lifetime. You see, throughout 2016 and continuing now into 2017 I have noticed that I never skip over any of your songs when I’ve got my music library set on shuffle (and believe you me, I do a good deal of skipping).
I’ve also noticed something else, and that is, your tendency to make noises in your songs. What do I mean by noises? Sometimes it’s a “shhhing” or “chhhhhhing” sort of sound, like during the opening of “American Girl.” Other times it’s a bit more of a whine/wail/sort of annunciation of a word as evidenced at the tail end of “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” Your “Ohs” in “Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)” are always enjoyable. I guess you were feeling pretty enthusiastic throughout the recording of “Damn the Torpedos” because you get some good “Heys” (or are they “Ays”?) in on “Even the Losers” (this seems to be a song of which I somehow never tire). You and Jeff really nailed it by starting out with those “Ahs” on “Yer So Bad.” Finally, there’s a hearty “Oh!” at the start of “Change of Heart” following that nifty riff.
The thing is Tom, when you added all those little noises (which I want to believe you did completely unconsciously) it makes the music feel real, live, true, spontaneous, and maybe most importantly….uncontrollable. I’m sure you’re well aware that all of those aspects can be lost in a studio recording. But, you didn’t let that happen (or maybe you couldn’t? Yes! Please let that be the case!). To my ears you just seem so genuinely caught up in what you’re doing. I can’t help but admire and appreciate your enthusiasm each and every time one of your songs floats to the surface of the digital pool of sounds trapped inside all 4.87 ounces of my magical musical device.
So, in this month of February in the year 2017 I decided now is probably the best time to let you know that I love you and I really do appreciate your enthusiasm.
Ah ah ah ah ohhhhhhhhh (to be read in style of Mr. Petty).
P.S. On a completely unrelated note, after watching the (4 hour long!) documentary about you and the Heartbreakers, “Running Down a Dream” I am thoroughly convinced that it was Del Shannon who set your house on fire. But, that’s another topic for another time.