Tom Petty – To Find a Friend

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

A year ago I was in disbelief as the news about Tom Petty made the rounds. Seemingly invincible, he was on his deathbed – in fact, his death was prematurely announced and quickly retracted. The inevitable was upon us – a musical icon taken much too soon. In the aftermath of his departure I indulged in the works of Tom Petty like I never had before. His biography was enlightening and had me obsessively listening to his 1994 solo album, Wildflowers. The entire Rick Rubin produced album is incredible, but To Find a Friend spoke to me in a way that it never had before. Now I had the back story of Tom’s personal life changing rapidly around the time it was cut. The opening lines are autobiographical somewhat. “In the middle of his life / He left his wife / And ran off to be bad / Boy, it was sad”. It is about as direct as can be. Musically, this a breezy, Beatles by way of the American South tune. It is perfection. It is my absolute favorite Tom Petty song. A year gone today. “And the days went by like paper in the wind / Everything changed, then changed again / It’s hard to find a friend”.

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Arthur Lee – Everybody’s Gotta Live

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

Bring up the name Arthur Lee and hipsters in the know will wax poetic about the legendary 3rd album by Love, Forever Changes. A drug fueled trip the dark side of the summer of love (1967), it justifiably is always listed on greatest albums of all time lists. A culmination of Arthur Lee’s folk, jazz, & rock n roll fusions, this spells the end of the original Love band. It also marks the point where most people say “After that, Arthur just lost it, man!”. I’m here to tell you that is not true – not even close. The original band split and Arthur put together a new version of Love. Streamlined, it was a different band in tone and feel. Arthur’s new songs alienated his old audience, but he was following his muse. 1972’s Vindicator was released as a solo record instead of a Love record – kind of a mystery to me since the backing players changed steadily in the late 60’s and 70’s anyway. Everybody’s Gotta Live was the single, and what a single it was. A life affirming anthem, it blurred the lines between soul & singer songwriter poetry. Arthur’s always had a way of delivering lines that hit you right in the heart, and this one is no different. “Everybody’s gotta live / And everybody’s gonna die…I had a dream the other night, baby / I dreamt that I was alone / But when I woke up I took a look around myself / And I was surrounded by fifty million strong”. Note that the song was originally released in 1972, then remade for Love’s 1974 album Reel to Real. The solo version is superior. When I saw Arthur Lee & Love (Baby Lemonade was Arthur’s backing band after his release from prison) in 2002 in Seattle they played the song as a medley with John Lennon’s Instant Karma. At that time I was one of those aforementioned hipsters – not really aware of Arthur’s latter-day material. It gave me chills and changed my life. He passed away just a few years later and I’m left revisiting the magic on vinyl, video, and through words. Everybody’s gotta live…