Had to look it up but this song came out in 1981. Tom Petty is infused in my brain. It’s not like I actively like him; he’s just there, with all his lyrics.
Tom Petty grew up in Florida. We even have a personal connection: my mother taught him Sunday school at the First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville in the 1950s. Sometime in the ’80s, she surprised me with a question. “Do you know a group called ‘Heartbreak’?”
It took a few seconds to translate. “Maybe ‘Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers?'” I asked.
“Yes, Tom Petty,” she confirmed with a breezy sweep of the back of her palm. “He was in the Sunday school class Bob and I,” meaning my father, “taught in Gainesville.” She probably heard a story about him on NPR. “All Things Considered” blasted in the kitchen when she cooked dinner, Monday through Friday.
I was instantly interested in Sunday school, more than perhaps at any point in my life. But no amount of questions elicited any more information. He was in the class. That was all. The song I liked the best of his was the soundtrack of my soul when I was struggling to lose the burden of the virgin label. BREAKDOWN, go ahead and give it to me. I played it over and over. And my mother taught him Sunday school.
Would he remember? Highly doubtful. Someone should ask him.
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