Sunday Song Suggestions #21…

Mary Jane’s Last Dance – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – 1993

With his unfortunate and untimely death earlier this week at the age of 66, I thought this would be as good a place as any to mention Tom Petty.

If you asked me to draw up an exhaustive list of my favourite male singers, it’s unlikely Tom Petty would crack the top hundred. His voice wasn’t the sharpest or the strongest and I always felt like his target demographic was my parents and their peers. His stomping ground was similar to that of Bruce Springsteen and John Cougar Mellencamp, and between the three of them they had that whole gruff-voiced male heartland rock thing covered.

Having said that I do own some of his tunes, and his stuff makes for very good driving music, which is a specific and underappreciated quality.

Dark and mysterious lyrics combine with a memorable guitar and harmonica relationship throughout to make Mary Jane’s Last Dance one of Tom Petty’s best songs. Kim Basinger – the ubiquitous Hollywood sex symbol at the time – is the titular woman in the accompanying video, which manages to be both sensual and eerie at the same time.

Rest well, Tom.

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