“You Got Lucky”
Posted by purplemary54 on March 12, 2014
This post by Kira got me thinking about definitive songs in my life. (Really, it was her reply to my comment, but that’s niggling.) There’s a lot of them; in a sense, that’s kind of what the jukebox is about. But it also reminded me of this turning point in my musical fandom.
I was thirteen or fourteen. My parents and I had gone to Big Ben’s, the music store at our local mall. They were in the video section looking for a movie to rent. (Remember, this was 1982-83, and renting VHS tapes was a pretty new business. The store had converted some of the bins meant to hold vinyl LPs into displays of empty boxes; you took your choice to the counter, and they inserted the videocassette.) I was just wandering around the music half of the store, browsing aimlessly, not looking at anything seriously because I didn’t have any money. I still listened to Top Forty AM radio at this point, so I was pretty sheltered musically speaking. I was a weird, skinny, unpopular kid. I had a few friends, but really hadn’t found my niche yet. I had an older brother who I was pretty sure hated me (I’m still pretty sure about that), and my parents were on the verge of splitting up. Then I heard this music over the store’s sound system.
I was hypnotized. That voice, that music, seemed like it came from another planet. I took my short self over to the tall counter, and asked the clerk what was playing. I think it was a girl, and she pointed to the cover of Long After Dark that was displayed. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I had no idea who those guys were yet, but I was sold. I went to the “P” section, and stared longingly at the album. I almost went and asked my parents if I could have it, but something held me back. I don’t know what drew me to the song, not really. I just remember feeling transformed.
I didn’t see the video for “You Got Lucky” until many years later. It doesn’t really make much sense in the context of the song, but I love it. It captures some of the wonder of discovery that I had in Big Ben’s that evening. This is the song that made me a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fan, and it will probably always be my favorite.