My mother and I were always odd ducks in the South Bronx. My mom loved Country Western music. Her dream had been to someday live in Texas. Sadly, it never happened. Although, I did manage to disperse some of her ashes down in Austin. But back to the more fun music moments with my mom. She loved everything country-music related and thus I grew up with that music in the South Bronx. Not many of our neighbors loved that music. Thus, there was more for us.
Part of the country-music love that we had, was that we also loved southern rock music and heartland rock music. That is how I grew to love Tom Petty. Was his music classic rock, southern rock, or heartland rock? Whatever his genre, his music was great and rocked.
It always seemed to me that for any occasion one could play one of his songs. For many parts of my life, the song “Learning to Fly” resonated deeply.
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
While Learning to Fly resonated with me, “I Won’t Back Down” is my song. Growing up, now and forever. I have had to face so much adversity in life and I could not afford to back down. I have to know when to roll them for sure, but backing down? Not so much.
Well I know what’s right, I got just one life in a world that keeps on pushin’ me around but I’ll stand my ground, and I won’t back down
I believe that Tom Petty had a well-grounded moral core. There were things he deeply felt and believed in. The song was a message of defiance against obstacles and rooted barriers. I don’t know how anyone could listen to that song and not feel inspired. He once noted to Rolling Stone magazine “That song frightened me when I wrote it; There’s not a hint of metaphor in this thing. It’s just blatantly straightforward.” There’s no problem, if you ask me, in being straightforward. The past year, I have been feeling this song deep in my soul and its been running through my veins. In my next contentious activity or event, I will surely be humming this song with a smile on my face. And I’ll stand my ground for sure as I have promised to always do. And as Tom Petty noted “Everybody has to fight to be free, you see.”