Today, we learned of the death of rock and roll legend, Tom Petty. Tom was 66 years old.
Not to be petty, but it was a heartbreaker.
Tom's been a part of my life, whether he knew it or not, since I was a kid. I remember seeing his "Don't Come Around Here No More" video on MTV when I was a child of six or seven. I can remember being slightly frightened by it, but I knew it was special.
Petty's music was special. It was the soundtrack of a summer night or an afternoon at work. Tom's lyrics were subtly complicated but easily accessible, and, while his voice was never the best in rock, his showmanship and musicianship stand unquestioned.
"Learning to Fly" was an important song in my life. It came out when I was in high school, and I can remember playing it on WBDG during my student DJ days. The lyrics spoke to me, a young man trying to find myself in the big world, because they told a story and a lesson all at once.
Losing Tom Petty is like losing that friend you've had most of your life. You know he's gone, but his music will continue to inspire people, young and old, for ages to come.
Goodbye old friend.