Remember Whensday – Tom Petty

Furthering the obsession and appreciation of Americana rock and rockers is my love of Tom Petty, who was born October 20, 1950. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member has graced the world with multiple musical collaborations and groups, from the obvious Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to the Traveling Wilburys and a personal favorite of mine, Mudcrutch. His new radio station on Sirius XM was set as a preset before I even listened to the station.



Tom Petty is a skilled and diverse musician with a blend of styles intermingled in every song. The wild use of “American Girl” in popular movies and shows such as Parks and Recreation and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the ubiquity with which “Free Falling” is covered and restyled, the amount of times I still hear “Learning to Fly” on the radio…these are elements of Petty’s influence serving as reassurances that his music won’t get old any time soon.



When I think of Tom Petty, one of the first songs I think of is Wildflowers (the very first song is everyone’s favorite: “American Girl”). The simple melodies and dainty instrumentation mixed with the sweetness of the lyrics provides such a nice juxtaposition for the other rock songs on the album, such as “You Wreck Me,” or “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” which represents a middle ground between the two songs. He has an amalgam of songs, but he is distinctly American in sound, which is just part of the reason why we love him. Happy birthday, Mr. Petty. Music wouldn’t be the same without you.


About Emma Goodwin

I’m an English major with a political science and cinema studies minor. When I am not bunking out in my room watching TV and old movies, you can find me drinking too much Diet Coke and making future travel plans.

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