The music realm felt a seismic jolt with the loss of Tom Petty in 2017, creating a gap that many deemed irreplaceable. Petty’s monumental role in shaping American rock can’t be quantified, and his spirit still resonates with his countless fans and contemporaries.
Among them was Pearl Jam’s dynamic leader, Eddie Vedder, who held a profound bond with this legendary artist. Vedder’s nod to Tom Petty was both understated and deeply moving, echoed in his solo compositions and a particular song that resonated with the vibes of the iconic musician.
Vedder’s Admiration for Petty Was Evident
In the somber ‘In Memoriam’ segment of the 2018 Oscars, Vedder’s rendition of Petty’s ‘Room at the Top’ spoke volumes about the depth of his feelings for the late rockstar. Yet, this public tribute barely scratched the surface of the deep-rooted connection between them.
They had not only shared stages but also musical visions. Back in 2012, Vedder collaborated with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers for their European sojourn.
A notable evening in Amsterdam saw Vedder and the crew delivering a passionate performance of ‘American Girl’. Their camaraderie was a testament to mutual admiration and shared passion for melodies.
However, Vedder’s Most Heartfelt Ode Emerged in His Solo Venture, Specifically the Track ‘Long Way’ from the Earthling Album.
In a candid chat with Bruce Springsteen, Vedder mentioned the striking parallels to Petty’s musical aura, terming it as “Tom’s shadow.” Vedder spoke about how the track’s evolution was organic, playing around with chords on a unique Guild four-string tenor bass. Interestingly, these chords, though distinct, echoed the straightforward brilliance synonymous with Petty’s creations.
“I felt like I was onto some never-before-heard chords. They were straightforward, much in the style Tom Petty would compose,” Vedder mused.
The song materialized over an afternoon, mirroring Petty’s genius and Vedder’s emotional nod to his cherished friend.
Augmenting It With A B3 Organ, Capturing Petty’s Distinctive Melodies, Vedder Collaborated with Benmont Tench of The Heartbreakers.
Tench’s involvement infused the song with an aura, making it a harmonious homage that mirrored the essence of Petty.
With ‘Long Way’, Eddie Vedder masterfully channeled the spirit of Tom Petty’s musical brilliance. Its unembellished genuineness stands as a testament to the deep connection between the two musical giants and underscores the profound imprint Petty left on Vedder’s musical journey.
As fans revere Tom Petty’s enduring legacy, Vedder’s homage serves as an evocative tribute to a musical luminary.