Hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th holiday. Seems years ago by now, doesn’t it? I had a very relaxing time up at my family’s house in New York’s Adirondack mountains where daily, my most difficult decision dealt with which deck to sit on and read my book. The book was “Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn (great book if you are looking for a summer read) and her expertly woven tale of mystery, love and the psychology behind a very dysfunctional relationship kept me busy for hours on end.
So it was while I was comfortably relaxing and reading that I had one of those “STFU!” moments. You know the feeling I’m talking about. It happens when you learn the definition of a new word, only to have it magically appear as an answer to a clue in that night’s New York Times crossword puzzle. Or when you discuss a certain historical event with a co-worker, only to have it appear as an answer in that night’s episode of “Jeopardy.” Here’s what happened: while I was reading, the book referenced Tom Petty’s song “American Girl,” a very casual mention of how it was playing while the main character was waiting for some test results – and at that very moment, Tom Petty’s “American Girl” was playing on the radio station I was listening to! It was one of those weird, trippy, we-are-not-alone-out-there moments that makes you feel you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing at the exact right time. It’s like the universe is speaking to you personally and it’s hard to believe it was just a coincidence. And of course, leave it to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to be at the center of this awesome, universe-shattering moment.
But then they do that, those Heartbreakers; pop up at very opportune moments. The best example in the pop culture space I can think of is of course, Tom Cruise, rocking out to “Free Falling” in Jerry Maguire. You know the scene. He was en route back from making a deal with his star client, feeling on top of the world, and as he tuned the radio dial, the most perfect song to capture the feeling of the moment just happened to be on the radio. Tom Petty also makes an appearance in the horror flick, Silence of the Lambs. Remember the scene moments before the senator’s daughter is kidnapped? She’s in the car, singing at the top of her lungs to “American Girl,” completely oblivious to what is about to happen. And what was about to happen was pure creepiness. Quite the movie moment.
There are many other times the classic rock band has been featured. So tell us – what is your favorite Tom Petty song that has been referenced in the pop culture space?
American Girl in Silence of the Lambs
Free Falling in Jerry Maguire
Learning to Fly in Elizabeth Town
Running Down a Dream in Larry Crowne
For the latest pop culture news and voting, make sure to sign up for the People’s Choice newsletter!