All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned…

…from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

It’s funny how, in certain times of our lives, we subconsciously reach for just the right CD that is in tune with whatever we are feeling. I’ve been in a rough patch for a while–this winter has clung on too long–and I picked out Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Echo for my CD sleeve sometime last week.

This morning, I reached for it and hesitated, thinking of the “Room at the Top” opener. With a title like that, and accompanying lyrics such as, “I’ve got dollars in the bank and I’m all right…” you’d think it would give me a lift, but no. I have always viewed it as a sad song. Thinking on how sometimes sad songs make you feel better, I put it in anyway.

By the time I hit the interstate, I had a strange sensation slip into my skin. It was that giddy music endorphin flood that happens when we listen to things that just make us feel alive. By alive, I don’t even mean all happy and upbeat and obnoxiously cheerful. Sometimes certain music makes us feel alive because it is so in tune with the way that we feel.

I smiled because I had the thought, which I uttered aloud to the plush TY pink flamingo I keep in my car: “All I ever need to know I learned from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.” The spirit of music will always uplift me and I owe it nothing less than my life–however dark at times–my words, my breath and my full attention.

I know I’ve ranted about Tom Petty more than once, but if it feels nice, do it more than twice. Any album of his is good for a road trip, a long commute, or a back porch rocking chair sit.

Isn’t it a relief to know that, even in a bad spot, music can make us feel alive and surrounded by people who understand. It felt like suddenly, the pianist was in my backseat and Mr. Petty had his right arm draped over my passenger door, feeling the cool April breeze pass through his talented fingers.


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