In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.
Tom Petty (10/20/50 – 10/2/17) was clearly one of the good guys, with little but praise of and for him following his untimely death, 18 days shy of his 67th birthday. Possibly going a little too hard celebrating the end of the Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary tour, he took that one toke over the line and died of an accidental drug overdose. What a waste, just say no, etc etc. (To be fair, intractable pain from a fractured hip and his emphysema were each also weighing heavy at the time.)
Petty was no stranger to cover versions, over his lengthy career, initially with the later revived Mudcrutch, but predominantly with his own band, 13 albums as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and 4 under his own name alone, there are a few, mainly across his myriad live albums. Today, though, we are to celebrate covers by others of his own songs, but it would be churlish not to take at least a nod at his rendition of Lucinda Williams’ “Change The Locks” or his version of the UK one hit wonder “Something In The Air,” originally by Thunderclap Newman.
A Tom Petty song was seldom comparable to the work of others, or transferable, that much, to other styles, mainly down to the idiosyncrasy of his vocal style, a high pitched nasal whine. My apologies to anyone put off by that overly clinical description of his voice, for, in full flight, it was a rousing and rallying instrument of power and promise. Still is. But it would somehow be remiss not to comment on the one very similar singing style, especially given the reception of the debut single from Petty and his team…