Well, the news media, after waffling back and forth, finally confirmed that Tom Petty died Monday night.
He was my brother’s age and he always reminded me of my brother’s friend Mike, who was such a nice boy. I have fond memories of going to a Cardinals baseball game with him. He was funny and didn’t ignore me, the no-doubt annoying nine-year old sister.
Mike was the neglected third son of a distracted, divorced single mother. In high school he was packed off to a boarding school and after that he was a hippie. I met him once years later when he was married with kids, I think, and a carpenter or something like that–something very different anyway than his St. Louis Country Club background would have suggested. He was as nice as ever though and happy to talk to me.
Anyway, he and Tom Petty had the same vibe, so, right or wrong, I assume Tom Petty was a good guy too. I always liked him and will miss him. As Bob Dylan said, “It’s shocking, crushing news. I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”
Here are “14 Essential Tom Petty songs” chosen by the NYT. Not surprisingly the list does not include my favorite:
Into paradise may the angels lead thee; and at thy coming may the martyrs receive thee, and bring thee into the holy city Jerusalem.
*You Wreck Me by Michael W. Campbell / Tom Petty