Music is profound. Music is life changing. Music is inevitably attached to memories during our life.
And what is interesting is that songs can mean different things to each person. But while singing along to your favorite tune with your friend or at a concert, you are simultaneously projecting your personal meaning of the song while experiencing the feeling of unity of that moment with others.
So it is today it’s with sadness I learned of the passing of one of my favorite artists of my teen and early adult years. Tom Petty, a classic rock genius with too many hits to count. His music featured a simple chord structure and oftentimes lacked flourishes, which only served to enhanced the songwriting and melodies meant to supplement the lyrics and their meaning. And made for killer acoustic versions, too.
My favorite Tom Petty song has always been “Learning to Fly”. Many thought it was about drug use, but he said he was moved to write the song after hearing pilots talk about flying being easy but landing planes being the hard part.
I always felt it was about young people going out in the world on their own, leaving behind an earlier, simpler time, and while things change for the good or the bad, always knowing they’ll never be the same thereafter. Maybe that’s me projecting and you thought it was about something else. Which is the uniqueness and moving part of music, and why the deaths of artists move people profoundly.
Learning to Fly
Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still
I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing
Well the good ol’ days may not return
And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn
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