When we got the news the we lost Tom Petty last week, I listened to Jamie Coffis on KPIG Radio that evening. Jamie did an awesome show, played four hours of Petty and threw in lots of live and obscure things…every one of them a treasure. Over on Facebook, my old high school bud Robert said losing Tom Petty made him feel like his best friend died. After Jamie’s show, I ran with that and wrote “Always a Friend of Mine,” intentionally riffing on the melody to “Won’t Back Down”.
It’s hard losing a hero. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was on my life soundtrack from practically the time I started buying records. Love his first two records, then came “Damn the Torpedos,” the monumentally classic rock album, right around my sophomore year in high school.
The years rolled along. And Petty just kept releasing one great record after another, through sidetrips to The Traveling Wilburys and solo projects (which always featured most of the Heartbreakers anyway), to a couple of memorable sidetrips with his original band, Mudcrutch – whom we were fortunate to see at the Santa Cruz Civic, and finally to “Hypnotic Eye,” his final full-band album a few years back – a record that I argue belongs somewhere in the top three or four TP records.