Tom Petty: childhood, early years, parents and inspiration
Over the years he has played with rock 'n' roll greats such as Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Stevie Nicks, and as a solo artist he has written iconic songs "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "Learning To Fly". More than anything. Tom Petty love of music - and this love was not a commercial one: it came from the very depths of his heart, and also of a bitter childhoodThroughout his tumultuous life, music has been a safe haven for the Heartbreakers' leader.
While some find inspiration to connect with music during the unobtrusive years of their sweet youth, Petty paid the price for that dream too expensive. However - had it not been for his sad teenage years, it's unlikely he would have ever even considered picking up a guitar and taking to the stage... .
"Ran away to my grandmother's from my father."
Tom Petty grew up in the relatively small town of Gainesville, Florida, and his childhood fell in the 1950s and early 1960s. Unfortunately, his father, Earl Pettyhe was an alcoholic. On top of that, he had a habit - a very bad habit, it should be noted: he was cruel by nature, and took his anger out on the people closest to him... In particular, it was the people who got the most of it. To Tom.
When Tom was a child, he shot a slingshot at a passing car for fun. Alas, Earl took it childish prank too seriously. Instead of an educational talk, he instructed his son in his own way. He used a belt...
"Then I was in bed for days," Petty later recalled. My mother and grandmother ran around me with absorbent cotton and alcohol, for there were many abrasions and wounds..."
In middle school, he ran away from home and lived for a while with grandma. But Earl brought him back to his parents' home by doing "re-education." However - Tom did not hold a grudge against his father when he got older. On the contrary: he believed that it was his bitter childhood contributed to his musical career:
"Music helped me through all the hurt and loneliness I experienced as a teenager. It was always my refuge. I went into music headfirst. I went into that world. And it was a beautiful, safe, wonderful world."
The downside of fame and the bitterest regret
Tom Petty was close to his mother, Catherine Petty. it was Catherine who was the main source of love in young Tom's life. She also introduced her son to music.
"Mom tried to keep an element of civilization in the house. She had a record player on which she often turned on Nat King Cole. I think of her every time I hear his songs..."
Unfortunately, in the mid-1970s, as Tom's star was rising, Kathryn developed health problems: she suffered from a epilepsy and cancer. Tom visited his mother whenever he could, but fame became a barrier between him and his family: he moved to Los Angeles and was admittedly more focused on his music career than on his ailing mother. He later regretted it bitterly.....
Katharine Petty passed away in October 1980, and at that moment Tom was not at his mother's side...By then, he was so famous that he chose not to attend the memorial service either, fearing that it was a will distract him from his art and records. Subsequently, this decision also kept him on his toes.
"It's one of my biggest regrets and I'm very sad because I could have done so much for her... But I didn't have time. It was awful."
Tom later paid tribute to his mother in a heartfelt 1985 ballad "Southern Accents."which includes words about Katherine visiting him in his dreams.
"It's like everyone's lost their minds."
Although Tom Petty's ultimate goal has always been to become a successful musicianhis newfound fame had some unexpected moments. "side effects" (as he called them himself). Everyone close to him, including his father, wanted money and autographs from him - a desire quite natural, but not always appropriate, and often bordering on true madness....
At one point, his father took on the role "Tom Petty's daddy."which brought him fame and encouraged him to capitalize on his son's celebrity status by giving interviews and inviting fans to various events. Earl even talked Petty into impromptu meet and greets. When Earl passed away in 1999, Tom attended the memorial service - and this time he regretted his decision again! Only for another reason…
"Before I could step away from the casket, my aunt grabs my hand and asks for an autograph! I was like, 'He's your brother, for crying out loud, and you're looking for autographs at his funeral?' She wasn't the only relative who asked me for an autograph that day... It was like everyone went crazy!"
Yeah, that sounds really wild. Tom's story just goes to show that fame has flip sideoften less pleasant and beautiful....