Friday, June 26, 2020

Looking Forward: Time to Move On

Purchase Wildflowers

There won't ever come a day when I don't look back to Tom Petty for guidance and wisdom through strange days.

He was my first "favorite." My first identifiable idea of what rock n roll cool looked and sounded like; my first brag over the other kids I knew who thought Duran Duran was the shit; my first introduction to the strange forbidden fruits that all great rock songs promise; my first concert. Seriously: The July 1985 stop of the True Confessions tour at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, with Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was my first concert. Ever. I was in the 8th grade. My mom took me. I'll never feel that wonderful, free and new again.

When he died, the sadness lingered with me in a way that I didn't think was possible--how was I  mourning with such a fevered, angry sadness for someone I never knew?

I still can't listen to Tom Petty without feeling something, no matter the song. I suppose that's the artists' ultimate wish--to make the listener quake, and to resonate, like an echo, a same sad echo, on and on. To keep being heard. And felt.

Petty's genius lies in his unique way of looking at the world--he saw the strange in the everyday and told stories that made sense, even when nothing did. His imagery and the language of his poetry were rarefied and steeped in the everyday experience. And the lens he saw the world through made great sense when he turned the view finder back to us to look through. A writer's true gift of the world is to let the reader (listener) see things the way they do. Petty let us listen in on his expansive view on the world, and the melody in that vision is a unique poetic oeuvre that has forever colored my own world.

"Time To Move On," from the enduring and ever newly experienceable album Wildflowers, was resonant, perhaps timeless itself, as soon as it was recorded. "Time To Move On " is an elegiac prayer to belief in the good that comes from moving on.  It's a beautiful song that lends comfort in its firm and steadfast belief that something better is always ahead. "'s time to move on, it's time to get going, what lies ahead, I have no way of knowing, while under my feet, grass is growing, it's time to move on, it's time to get going..." It's a reminder, told in Petty's deceptively simple verse, that the world is wide, and never defined by one simple moment. Great comfort in days such as we are living now..."time to move on."

Live at the Shoreline Amphitheater, 1994 

blog comments powered by Disqus