And then yesterday Tom Petty died.
I'm not even going to attempt (not yet, anyway) to speak about the tragedy in Las Vegas. It was preventable, and that, more than anything I think, is what makes it a tragedy.
But Tom Petty, man.
That's what getting older comes down to, I believe; slowly watching everyone you admire, everyone you look up to, and then, finally, everyone you love, go away. My heroes are falling like tin soldiers knocked aside by a capricious child.
Tom Petty came into his own right around the time I was beginning to listen to music. My sister, who had a stack of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Kiss albums, made sure that the radio was always tuned to our local rock station, and so I was introduced to his music. It became, like so many other great artists' music, the background soundtrack to my childhood.
He really came into focus for me, however, when Into the Great Wide Open was released in 1991. I was 19 years old, had just fallen in love, and dreamed of running away on an almost daily basis. I played that cassette tape until I it wore out, then bought a newfangled CD, stuck it into my bought-on-credit-not-yet-paid-for-CD turntable, and played it some more.
I was learning to fly.
Rest in peace.
Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I've started out for God knows where
I guess I'll know when I get there
I'm learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up must come down