Another rock star has died, and this one was a biggie. It’s always sad when icons like Prince and David Bowie pass away, but to me Tom Petty is probably the music world’s greatest loss since George Harrison died.
Like a lot of people, I’ve been listening to Tom Petty songs for the past couple of days. I have a couple hundred vinyl albums, down from a collection of a couple thousand. Among these is a collection of 25-30 albums that I have set aside. These are the records I won’t sell or trade, either because I’ve had them since I was a kid or because I really, really like them.
Damn the Torpedoes, which I believe is Tom Petty’s greatest album, is among this collection. I listen to this album a lot, but surprisingly, I haven’t listened to it this week. Maybe because I don’t like to feel as though I have to listen to it, instead choosing to listen to it when I want to. I don’t know. But I listen to it pretty regularly, and I’m sure the next time I do I’ll feel a bit sad.
Unfortunately, more of our rock heroes are going to pass away. There’s no getting around it. Springsteen, McCartney, most of these greats are in their 60’s and 70’s, and in general their best music is well behind them (although Springsteen still writes some pretty good songs).
It always seems strange to me when a rock star dies and people say, “No! I can’t believe it!” Really? You can’t believe that someone in their 60’s or 70’s, someone who has dedicated a large portion of their life to sex, drugs, and rock n roll (and not necessarily in the order) has passed away? These people may have been rock gods, but they aren’t actual Gods. It does make you wonder who’s at the top of the pack in rock n roll heaven. I’m guessing Elvis and John Lennon.
The saddest part is that there is nobody to replace them. When we were growing up there was always a young, hungry band ready to rise to the top. First Elvis, then the Beatles, then Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Springsteen, etc. There are no great, young rock bands anymore. Not only are our rock heroes growing older and dying, but rock n roll itself is on life support. The good news is, as long as we have a way to listen to their songs, the music lives on.