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Tom Petty Quotes

Petty In Purple

Tom Petty quotes: the legendary rock music icon’s words on success, running down your dream, and going where it leads.

“I got just one life in a world that keeps on pushin’ me around.  But I stand my ground and I won’t back down.”

“I want to be successful.  Not just money.  Just making a successful record and a successful show.  I could feel successful without selling a million records.”

“My family wasn’t involved in the college.  They were more of just your ‘white trash’ kind of family.  And so I have that kind of background, but I always kind of aspired to be something else, and I made a lot of different friends over the years that were passing through.”

“When I decided to be a musician I reckoned that that was going to be the way of less profit, less money.  I was sort of giving up the idea of making a lot of money.  It was what I loved to do.  I would have done it anyway.  If I’d had to work at Taco Bell I’d have still been out at night trying to play music.”

“I don’t know, my music has always just come from where the wind blew me.  Like where I’m at during a particular moment in time.”

“Making a record?  You’ve got to have the song, then you create a record.  I think it’s the same with a live performance.  If the material is strong, you’re already 90% there.  I always tell young people it’s all about the music, the songs.  Work on the songs, work on the songs, work on the songs.”

“I don’t treat the band like I’m above them or that they’re a hired hand for me.  We’ve never worked that way.  So I’m a team player.  I would be very uncomfortable having to do this alone.”

“I’ve never had any idea that what I like would resonate with the audience, and I’m pleasantly surprised when it does.”

“I’m really conscious of wasting time.  It’s funny when you realize there are time limits.  I’m impatient now with anything that gets in the way of what I want to do.  I want to get everything down.  Why would I want to do anything else?  Rock and roll is such a good job.”

“Music really isn’t supposed to be perfect.  It’s all about people relating to each other and doing something that’s really from the soul.  It must come from the soul.”

“Songwriting ability is a gift.  After a while you come to realize, I’ve really been blessed.  I can write these things and it makes me happy, and it makes millions of people happy.  It’s an obligation, it’s bigger than you.  It’s the only true magic I know. It’s not pulling a rabbit out of a hat, it’s real.  It’s your soul floating out to theirs.”

“I think, in America, for a long time you had groups that wanted to be stars more than they wanted to make music.”

“In the mid-’60s, AM radio, pop radio, was just this incredible thing that played all kinds of music.  You could hear Frank Sinatra right into the Yardbirds.  The Beatles into Dean Martin.  It was this amazing thing, and I miss it, in a way, because music has become so compartmentalized now, but in those days it was all right in one spot.”

“It’s hard for me… if I don’t have a project going, I don’t feel like I’m connected to anything.  I don’t even think it’s that healthy for me.  I like to get out of bed and have a purpose.”

“It’s funny how the music industry is enraged about the internet and the way things are copied without being paid for.  But you know why people steal the music?  Because they can’t afford the music.”

“It’s very easy to be cynical about the Hall of Fame.  But on the other hand, it’s really a beautiful thing for someone like me.  I dedicated my entire life to this music.”

“I like to be an optimist, but I like to be a realist too.”

“I developed a problem with authority.  Any time that authority was what I interpreted as being unjust, I stood up to it, and that became my personality.”

“Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks.”

“Baby even the losers get lucky sometimes.”

“You belong somewhere you feel free.”

“If you’re not getting older, you’re dead.”

“As time goes by, you seem to weed out the things that were making your life hard.”

“Do something you really like and hopefully it pays the rent.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s success.”

“You get in there, you get the job done and you get the hell out.”

“Any time you’re making a living at what you love to do you’re blessed.”

“If you’re phony, they will feel it in the farthest row of the arena.  You have to really care.  And you have to make yourself care time and time again.”

“I don’t think it’s a good attitude in your life to feel that you have to be rich to have self-esteem.”

“We’re told we’re nothing if we don’t have a mansion and dress like a movie star.  It’s hard on a young person to not think that’s the game.  You can boil all the world’s problems down to greed. For the rich, the money’s not enough and they seek power.  It’s gone into the hands of really shaky people who don’t care who they hurt in their quest to have more money than they’ll ever need.”

“Music is probably the one real magic I have encountered in my life.  There’s not some trick involved with it.  It’s pure and it’s real.  It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.”

“TV does not care about you or what happens to you.  It’s downright bad for your health now, and that’s not a far-out concept.  I think watching the TV news is bad for you.  It is bad for your physical health and your mental health.”

“I feel sorry for kids these days.  They get so much homework. Remember the days when we put a belt around our two books and carried them home?  Now they’re dragging a suitcase.  They have school all day, then homework from six until eleven.  There’s no time left to be creative.”

“The only good thing about getting older is you get smart enough to avoid unnecessary problems.  You know what’s worth spending time on and what’s not.  If I had known that at 20, life would have been so much easier.  But you have to experience all these things so you figure out how to find your way through the woods.”

“Time to move on, time to get going.  What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing.  But under my feet, baby, grass is growing.”

“It’s kind of a lonely work because you just have to keep your pole in the water.  I always had a little routine of going into whatever room I was using at the time to write in and just staying in there till I felt like I got a bite.”

“Running down a dream… working on a mystery… going wherever it leads…”

“You get into your late 50s, people start falling like flies all around you.  I don’t take life for granted any more.  I’m really glad to be here.”

“Some say life will beat you down.  Break your heart, steal your crown.  So I’ve started out for God knows where, I guess I’ll know when I get there.”

“You and I will meet again, when we’re least expecting it.  One day in some far off place I will recognize your face.  I won’t say goodbye my friend.  For you and I will meet again.”

“Go after what you really love and find a way to make that work for you, and then you’ll be a happy person.”

Enjoy these Tom Petty quotes?  Read Bruce Springsteen’s next.

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