Friday, February 5, 2010

Bands Paying Homage: Eddie Vedder to Tom Petty

A couple of months back, I wrote a post about how the Gaslight Anthem honored Joe Strummer with a great song about the first time Brian Fallon heard the Clash, and the profound effect that discovering their sound had on him. As I mentioned in that post, I find it so heartwarming to hear famous musicians pay homage to the artists who inspired them. They have sold records, become famous, toured the world, and perhaps become jaded in certain respects; yet, when they hear a well-loved song they are humbled by the impact that song initially had on them. It is a reminder that no matter what paths we take in this life - successes we have, failures we endure, lessons we learn – we can play an old song and become instantly transported to an innocent, more naive, place and time.

All great songwriters were once inspired by artists who came before them: Dylan had Guthrie, Van had Lead Belly, Petty has Elvis, and so on. In the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers documentary, “Running Down a Dream,” Eddie Vedder talks about hearing “The Waiting” for the first time as an adolescent. The best part of this clip, and one of my favorite parts of the whole documentary, comes at the very end when Vedder says the following:

I don’t know if an artist completely understands, or needs to be reminded sometimes, how deeply these songs affect people . . . in such a way, that when you hear the song, you know where you were - and even the feeling in your gut - when you were 14 hearing that song. And the artist - if they can accept that, that’s a potent thing. What a gracious situation.

It doesn’t translate in text as powerfully are watching the interview, so check it out! The clip also includes a portion of the live performance of “The Waiting” where Vedder joins Petty and the Heartbreakers on stage. Vedder is a perfect vocal match for this song, and I have to say, I think I actually prefer him to Tom in this case. Below the clip, you can also find the link to the entire performance of the “The Waiting.”


Full performance of "The Waiting"

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