Tom Petty: An American Treasure

DJ Dinner

Hello Folks! Dinner DJ back again to spin you all another selection from my record collection. Hey, I’m a poet and I know it!

A few weeks ago I was driving to work and the DJ stated that “Tomorrow marked the one year anniversary of Tom Petty’s death.” With today being what would have been his 68th birthday I find myself listening to a lot of his music and thinking about what his music means. I might not be the biggest Tom Petty fan but I do love me some Tom Petty, and his music is a truly beautiful and inspiring look into Americana.

As I listen to some of his solo songs and some with his band Mudcrutch and the iconic super group The Traveling Wilburys, his immense talent really stands out among his peers. His skill to tell a story and ability to tie your emotion to the story and to the music is one of a kind. His bluesy voice accompanied by a classic rock melody leaves him standing out in the crowd but it’s his consistency that makes him so recognizable.

A quick look at Hard Promises, Tom Petty’s 1981 release, reveals an album whose track listing flows in and out of each song seamlessly.

This album’s first song “The Waiting” is one of my favorite songs by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers overall. Afterwards, the songs veer straight in to the heart of the classic Tom Petty sound with such hidden gems as “A Woman in Love (It’s Not Me)” and “You Can Still Change Your Mind“.


However, this week I have chosen to review Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers last studio album,  2014’s Hypnotic Eye.

This album does not have the hits of some his earlier albums such as “Breakdown” and “American Girl”, off of the self titled album Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It doesn’t have, “I Need to Know”, off of the album You’re Gonna Get it.  Or even his probably most well recognized triple platinum album, Damn the Torpedoes with such all time hits as“Don’t Do Me Like That” or “Refugee”.

Hypnotic Eye did however in fact debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 on July 29, 2014. While it does not have the hits like his first few albums, it does have that undeniable sound and feel that we have grown accustomed to hearing throughout his career. If it had been released 20 or 30 years ago it very well could have had multiple number one hits. Either way this album is a solid addition to a 20+ year music ever career that many people love.

Here are some of my personal recommendations for a listen of this album:

“Full grown Boy” has a sound and feel of a song by Neil Young sitting in on the piano slightly reminiscent of Harvest Moon but much more political.

Alternatively the song “Burnt Out Town” has a distinctly blues feel and rift like the “How Long Blues” by Memphis Slim.

In closing, Tom Petty has a voice that is not conventional but a sound that makes the story that he tells unforgettable. His albums have a way of making you feel the music; it makes you grab hold of his message and want more. In his passing there are those of us out there that will never again be able to bare witness to his live shows, but we have all the music and love that he left us. He left us with a gift to be able to sit back, crank it up, and live in simpler times!

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