Well, here we are again.
I didn't want to do this. I definitely didn't want to do this so soon after the last "Match the Song Title" post. I know this is a card-centric blog and I try to keep it that way, but, damnit, my heroes are disappearing at a rapid rate lately, and I'm not in the mood for writing about anything trivial right now, I'm sure you know what I mean.
Tom Petty and I go way back.
I know that some people discovered him when he was with the Traveling Wilburys or from the Free Fallin' video or the Kim Basinger video or whatever. I knew Tom Petty before all that.
I knew Petty when he was "new wave." That's right. They used to lump Petty in with The Clash and Elvis Costello. You see, rock n' roll got pretty bloated during the '70s and if you didn't play rock n' roll like Styx or Boston or Kansas and you didn't disco, then you were "new wave." Musicians like Petty and The Cars were rock n' roll, too, but they had to come up with another category for them because they were refreshingly brief compared with the arena rockers.
That was OK, with me, because I liked only the new stuff anyway. My sweet spot for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is "Damn the Torpedoes". Even though I don't even have that record anymore, I wore it out at the time. From there, it was a sporadic attachment with P&THB. I snagged a "Long After Dark" cassette tape in a bargain bin. I bought "Let Me Up I've Had Enough" on cassette at a Buffalo record store. I played "Pack Up the Plantation" almost as often as "Damn the Torpedoes".
The time of my most significant appreciation for Petty was when I bought "Southern Accents" in 1985. "Don't Come Around Here Anymore" blew me away before I even saw the video, and the rest of the country-fried rock n' roll album evokes a restless period in my life, even as I play it now.
My wife and I have old CDs of super-popular Petty, "Full Moon Fever" and "Into the Great Wide Open," but I think I like "Wildflowers" -- another Tom Petty "solo" album -- best.
It's grown-up Tom Petty, issued during a time when I had realized that I had grown up. The songs on the album feature grown-up messages, at least to my way of thinking. In a word, it resonates.
I lost track of Petty after Wildflowers, coming back only occasionally. I watched the epic documentary "Running Down a Dream" a couple of years ago and upon the news of his death, I'm watching it again.
Even though Petty looked like an old man to a lot of younger fans, I always remember him as young, sleek and cool, belting out "Breakdown" or "Even the Losers."
Anyway, it's time for Match the Song title ... again.
The track list.
Match the Song Title: "Wildflowers, Tom Petty
Track 1: Wildflowers: To me, this is a song about free spirits. I equate free spirits much more with women than men. If you ever saw Farrah Fawcett on David Letterman's show back in the 1990s, you'd know why her card is here. The late great Fawcett may have been branded ditzy by some, but she was polite, charming and sweet. Gone too soon.
Track 2: You Don't Know How It Feels: Nobody really knows how Jackie felt in 1947. Enough said.
Track 3: Time To Move On: Here is a young Terry Collins. I'm showing this a day or two after it was announced it was time for him to move on from managing. Collins has been a manager for just about as long as I've known who he was, starting in the Dodgers chain. As an adult, this song speaks to all of the times that my life has changed course. It's probably my favorite song on the record.
Track 4: You Wreck Me: I was secretly hoping I had no cards of pitching Pedro Baez. He is the Dodger reliever Dodger fans love to hate these days. "You wreck me baby. You break me in two. But you move me honey, yes you do." Move me to get off the couch to scream "change the pitcher!"
Track 5: It's Good To Be King: Joe Maddon is king of the kings of baseball, at least for a few more weeks. We'll see what the postseason holds. Honestly, I'd like to knock this guy off his throne.
Track 6: Only a Broken Heart: Clayton Kershaw's postseason record objectively is not great: 4-7 with a 4.55 ERA. It's getting a little too difficult to handle, speaking as a Dodger fan. Too many broken hearts over the years. But I know it's much worse for Clayton.
Track 7: Honey Bee: Naturally, one of the Killer B's! In honey bee yellow! Fun fact: Did you know Petty wanted to call his band mates, "the King Bees" as in "Tom Petty and the King Bees"? Probably why "king bee" is referenced in this song.
Track 8: Don't Fade On Me: My biggest fear in this hobby is that I will forget what it was like to collect as a kid, specifically my first year collecting in 1975. It's a main reason why I established the 1975 Topps blog. I don't want those cardboard thoughts to fade. I'm happy I still have some of those cards from back then because just seeing them brings out memories.
Track 9: Hard On Me: The possible foes for the Dodgers are not pleasant and they're going to make things hard. Nobody likes to face someone from their own division in the first series, but that's what's going to happen. I dislike the Diamondbacks and the Rockies greatly. And I've never liked the Cubs. The Nationals? I'm neutral. But not if L.A. ends up playing them.
Track 10: Cabin Down Below: Did you know Madison Bumgarner grew up in a log cabin? It's true. Sounds about right, too.
Track 11: To Find A Friend: To me this song sounds like the craziness of the '70s, that "it was fun until it wasn't" feeling. Partying and out of control, cheating left and right and then it all blows up. (Think "Boogie Nights"). That reminds me of Dennis Eckersley, whose wife left him for teammate Rick Manning. Eck later had alcohol issues. Throw in the long hair and he was the '70s.
Track 12: A Higher Place: If Colorado wins tomorrow, the Dodgers are going to have to play in that freakish stadium in the sky. There isn't a Dodger fan I know that doesn't despise that place.
Track 13: A House in the Woods: With the untamed manes of many current ballplayers, I have my choice of players who look like they live in a house in the woods. I grabbed the card that I could find the quickest. A giant beard with all that catching gear doesn't seem like the wisest choice.
Track 14: Crawling Back To You: See that moment on that card? I hated that moment. The postseason is filled with moments like that, just ugly, crushing, heartbreaking moments. We don't like to think of that because we have too much hope for our team. Instead, we just keep crawling bloodied back to the postseason.
Track 15: Wake Up Time: I didn't have a lot of time to select cards for this post. I'm sure there are better options. This song is about life's journey. The twists and turns and how people change and you change. Dave Winfield's journey always fascinated me. He started out with the Padres and was often branded as young and surly. Then he went to the Yankees and was derided as being too rich and incompetent in the postseason. But as he remained in the game, playing for the Angels and Jays and Twins, he began to be regarded as an elder statesmen. People liked him and his personality. It was interesting to see that develop over his career.
And that's where the needle comes off the record.
Tom Petty also had a long career and many twists and turns. I wish he had taken more care of himself so we could have him around longer, but that's a selfish thought (and a tall order when dealing with rock n' roll musicians).
I certainly don't feel a whole lot better now that he's gone. but I'm just glad I got to experience so much of his music over the years, right from the start.