Tag Archives: 1970s

Tom Petty (RIP)

The first time I heard Tom Petty – and I mean REALLY heard Tom Petty – was at a ski condo where I spent many winter weekends during high school.  If you consider a lot of his songs being in high school could not have been a more fitting time.

My family had a time-share with another family on an area condo.  Every other weekend we would pack up the van and trek to Snoqualmie Pass.  As I passed from Freshmen through my Senior years I had to spend less time skiing and snowboarding and more time studying, all while looking out the condo windows at the frozen hill I’d rather be sliding down.

One night during the winter of ‘89/90 some folks down the hall at the condo building had a party.  They put on Full Moon Fever (1989) and blared it.  The album was crisp and clear, you couldn’t miss it from anything else going on in the building.  The distinct sound of Tom Petty’s voice, the memorable tracks from this solo album …  The folks down the hall played this album all night.  It was the only album they played … all night.  Everyone else in the building, myself included, were trying to sleep, and apparently no one had the nerve to go down the hall to bang on the damn door and demand they shut it off!  My suspicion remains that the folks started playing a CD* copy of the album on repeat, partied and then passed out.
(* Here’s where I show my age – people were just starting to get CD players then – and the copy of the album I heard couldn’t have been a tape cassette because there wasn’t a long enough pause anywhere for the tape to run out … which is kind of funny & coincidental when considering what the listener hears at the middle of the album.)

Yep, the first time I really heard Tom Petty I REALLY didn’t like his work – not because of anything having to do with his music but because of the lack of sleep I got that fateful night coupled with the inundation of the singular album.

Some years later (still in high school) I had gotten that sleepless condo night and that repeating album out of my system.  On weekend evenings I caught a late at night music show on PBS – I have no idea what the show was.  For weeks I tuned in because this show was cool and I didn’t have a social life then (either).  I would watch whatever band was being featured and then the show would close out with playing a number from a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers concert.

Every week the concert would pick up where it left off, and over a number of weeks I caught most of the performance.  Something about the music and the presence the musicians had caught me.  To this day I don’t know what the specific concert was or much reference to make for the footage – and I would love to see it again.  All I recall was that there was this HUGE tree prop behind the band on stage, and I think chandeliers hung from the branches.  Their performance was engaging, electrifying, authentic, and the roots of rock’n’roll were palpable.

It was after that I started paying attention, learning about where Tom Petty came from, observing his accomplishments, hearing the arc of his music as he continued to mature ….  and yet that authentic, palpable thing always remained.

I get the impression that some folks think that because I play bagpipes that I’m not a musician, that I don’t tie in with the rest of musicians the same.  While I hold the opinion that there is a vibe every musician experiences that comes with their genre of instrument, there is a vibe that all musicians share.  I didn’t start out as a bagpiper, I’m not now only a bagpiper, and with that I’ve always viewed myself as a musician first.  When you appreciate the work of another musician both from an audience standpoint and from musician standpoint …. when someone who’s work was incredible and they move on …  it hurts in two ways.  You lose a star in the night who was a point of great creation, and you lose someone you understand because of the vibe you shared with them.

In some of the themes that Tom wrote and sang about – love, hate, and loss – my relationship with his work has been that.  First I hated his work, then I came to love it.  Lately we lost the man, and yet we can remain grateful for the gifts he gave through his art and dreams.

Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017)

Tom Petty – YouTubeWikipedia – IMDB

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers  – YouTubeWikipedia – IMDB

The Crazies (1973)

Red Blood

(Written part way through viewing the film) This is probably at least a 1/2 decent film but it doesn’t adequately hold my attention. I should probably watch it again sometime when I’m sitting still — I’d like to see how it influences the 2009 version of the film. This film looks like it was made in the 1970s — oh yeah, because it was! The look of it, the story telling, the fashions — everything — all of which just adds to the campiness of it. (Written after viewing the film) The film seemed to end without a point — which isn’t to say that it didn’t have one, its more that it generally didn’t hold my attention well enough to notice one — all of a sudden a guy stripped, got lifted out of the danger zone, and the credits started rolling amid some paltry excuse for a 70s-ballad style song.

The Crazies (1973) at IMDB

 

Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Written 10Oct2016 – 28Oct2016

“Searching for Sugar Man” is the unbelievable-but-true story of an iconic musician who did not know he was famous – for his influential music and for seeming to have never existed.

Yeah – you read that right.

One night in 1968 Detroit, two renowned producers (Mike Theodore & Dennis Coffey) intentionally went to a back-alley bar to hear a musician known as Sixto Rodriguez.  So impressed with his craft they quickly offered him a recording deal.  To their surprise, when his first albums were released in 1970 & 71, Rodriguez’s albums tanked.

As the singer/songwriter faded into obscurity, bootleg recordings of Rodriguez’s surprised album found their way around apartheid South Africa. Here, unbeknownst to him, over the following two decades Rodriguez became a cultural phenomenon.

“Searching for Sugar Man” gives the account of two Cape Town fans in the late 1990s endeavoring to solve the mysteries surrounding their hero.

LINKS

NOTE – Dennis Coffey & Mike Theodore also worked with Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Supremes, Gladys Knight, Ringo Starr, The Four Tops, and Wilson Pickett, among others.  Yeah, these guys are no joke.  Also, this film does not draw attention to the fact that Sixto Rodriguez did get attention in Australia – which it receives some criticism for, suggesting that it is ‘myth building.  The argument against that is that it is not attempting to build a story about this artist but instead to tell the story of the two fans and their search into the history of this artist.