For some parents thirty-something and older, the death of rocker Tom Petty hits hard.
Another performer who seemed still primed for more rockin’ and rollin’ — on tour or in appearances on awards shows or at smaller venues — left this world what seems like too soon. Petty was, after all, only 66. The lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and a founding member of The Traveling Wilburys, has just finished a 40th anniversary tour, according to published online reports. He joins the ranks of rockers like David Bowie, The Eagles’ Glenn Frey and Prince, all of whom passed last year.
What’s interesting with the deaths of singers and performers like Petty, Prince and the like, is their music seems to get new life. After Prince died last April, downloads of his music increased. For this mom, vocal laments in conversation about “another rocker of my time gone,” bring conversation, a curious notion to listen to the singer’s songs and even a desire to watch videos from her children.
Take, for instance, when Frey died early last year. I resurrected “The Eagles’ Greatest Hits Vol. II” CD from my collection and popped it in my car’s CD player. “Hotel California” leads the list of songs on it. The second song, “Heartache Tonight,” brings a laugh to mind, as I misheard one of the lyrics as a youngster. I shared the story with my children, and they laugh about it. Through it, however, my son has grown to like the song and loves to crank it up when I play the CD. The third song, “Seven Bridges Road,” has become a favorite for my son and I. The CD features a live, acoustic version of it, and I strive to sing the harmonies while my son sings the melody — as best he can.
For my daughter, her dance studio’s 2016-17 season featured a tap dance to Prince’s “When Doves Cry” by the teenage tap class. The dancers even wore shimmery versions of the purple jacket with the frilly top like Prince wore in the hit movie “Purple Rain.”
Learning of Petty’s death Monday (Oct. 2, 2017) — unofficially, as the announcement came prematurely once news broke that he was taken off life support — I listened to his greatest hits CD he made with the Heartbreakers with hits like “American Girl,” “Refugee” and “I Won’t Back Down” as I headed home from work. Of course, my children will probably end up listening as we travel in the coming days. Who knows? Maybe they will grow to like his music as well as they have The Eagles and Prince.
Rest in peace, Tom. Rock ‘n’ roll heaven’s band gained another good one.