Jul 7, 2010

Book Review: Conversations with Tom Petty

Day 249

I think I am now all caught up with my book reading. I finished Conversations with Tom Petty last night and I am pretty happy that I found this book at the library.

The book is one long interview that takes the reader all through Petty's early life all the way up to 2002. The author splits the book into two sections. One on the main history of Petty and the other section exclusively on his songs and songwriting. And in each section he devoted a chapter to each one of his albums.

His history was rather interesting. From an early age Tom was into music and was heavily influenced by Elvis. His childhood was a bit rough, he was unsure of his relationship with his father. His father did not see eye-to-eye with Tom on a lot of things but when Tom wanted to become a musician, his father accepted it and fully supported it. Tom started playing gigs at the tender age of 14. The best chapter in the book was his involvement in creating the Traveling Wilburys. It was quite interesting to read how they came together and how they created their music. It totally makes me want to break out my bass and start playing.

While I did find his history very interesting, I was more thrilled with the section devoted to his songs. I always thought his lyrics were fantastic and innovative but reading about how passionate Tom is about his music made me appreciate it even more. I had no idea that he wrote Mary Jane's Last Dance years before he released it. He had written everything but couldn't figure out the chorus. I also didn't know that he recorded a song with the Bangles called Waiting for Tonight, and I had to drop everything and get a copy of that song and he is right, it could have been a huge song for him. Reading about the creations of his songs makes me want to give songwriting a try.

If you like Tom Petty, you will love this book. If you like music or are a musician, I recommend this book too.

And of course I highly recommend his music too. Any of his albums are fantastic but if you want a smidgen of it, I would highly recommend Anthology.

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