Tom Petty Lyrics

I was listening to Tom Petty on the radio.  I was cruising down the highway heading home from a long day at work.  The song “I Won’t Back Down” fires up on the radio.  It brings back memories of a time long ago: my college years.  I was probably a freshman or a sophomore at Ohio University.  I don’t remember the exact year the song was released and I’m not going to Google it for you.  Man, are you lazy—wanting me to Google something for you.

For those of you who may not know this classic song, it’s an inspirational song sung in an upbeat tempo.  A song about standing your ground regardless of what the world throws at you.  The opening verse is made up of the following lyrics.

Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

So I’m singing along with Tom using my voice at top volume.  I sing pretty awesome in my car, with the windows up, and when I’m alone.  You’d be impressed.  But then the voices in my head started thinking a bit too much about the lyrics.

That first line: “Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down

Ok Tom.  You’ve started off by really stressing your point.  Twice.  I get it.  Obviously it’s important to you.  You sir, are not about to back down.  But, do you really talk that way in real life?

“Tom, you want something to drink?”

“Well I’ll have a cup of coffee, yes I’ll have a cup of coffee.”

“Ya, alright Tom.  You seem to be repeating yourself.  Do you want one or two cups?  Because I’m a little confused.”

The next line is really odd when you think about it:  “You could stand me up at the gates of hell

Tom.  Tom.  Tom.  Do you always arrange meetings in such horrible places?

“Say Tom, where do you want to meet for coffee?”

“How about the gate of hell?  I know of this little shop near there.  The coffee is always piping hot.  You’re going to love it.”

“There is a very strong possibility of me standing you up.”

Seriously, why does Tom think that anyone would want to meet him at the gates of hell?  He hit the nail on the head when he was speculating that his friend may be standing him up.  Who’s going there willingly?  Maybe he could have changed it up a little bit.

“You can stand my up at the DMV.”

I guess that’s not really any different: the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Gates of Hell.  Yeah, same thing.

He continues, “But I won’t back down.”

So Tom, just to be clear.  You’re going to be hanging out at the gates of hell long after your friends have stood you up.  And yet, you’re not about to back down.  No sir.  You have stamina.  You will hang out at the gates of hell as long as it takes, desperately clinging to the hope that your friend will change his or her mind and meet you at the fiery gates.  You know, maybe this is one of those times where throwing in the towel isn’t such a bad thing.  Relax Tom.  Back down just a little bit.  Maybe you should walk back down a block or two and turn a corner—somewhere so the gates of hell aren’t in your direct line of sight.  I strongly suspect that more of your friends will reach out to you if you start hanging out in safer neighborhoods.

Fine.  Don’t back down.  Keep arranging your little meetings any way you see fit.

Buy my books, yes buy my books.

18 responses to “Tom Petty Lyrics

  1. I am laughing so hard right now my ribs hurt! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Great post!

  2. hahaha this is awesome.. when I first started reading.. i was thinking, “YES that is my favorite Petty song!” i also heard it on the radio the other day! and then i kept reading.. hysterical! now its really my favorite Petty song 😉

    • My wife often reports that I am the killer of her favorite songs. “Now that you’ve said that, that is the only thing I’ll be thinking about every time I hear it that one.” There are even some songs that she has told me to “not even think about” analysis. I thought about it anyway…

  3. Yes, well i think i can see where the fault lies here. It’s that Jeff Lynne, who shared the songwriting credits and was previously the author of lyrics like:

    “There’s one thing that’s on my mind
    And that’s getting hold of you before I serve my time
    I’ll keep on, with my heavy load
    Till I see you come a strollin’ down that open road

    You gotta Ma-Ma-Ma Belle, or I will get you
    You know you gotta Ma-Ma-Ma Belle, before I get you.”

    It must be something in the Brummie air.

  4. Well, clearly so, particularly when taken in conjunction with propensity to make nuisance/stalker type phone calls, as evidenced by:

    “Oh oh Telephone Line, give me some time, I’m living in twilight
    Oh oh Telephone Line, give me some time, I’m living in twilight

    Ok. So no one’s answering
    Well can’t you just let it ring a little longer longer longer oh oh ooohhhhh
    I’ll just sit tight through shadows of the night
    And let it ring for evermore oh oh ooohhhhh yeah yeah yeah

    Doowop dooby doo doowop doowah doolang
    Blue days black nights doowah doolang”

    Court orders and possible ASBO required for defendant Lynne, Jeffrey, I fear…

  5. Ha! I will be singing this all day now, thank you!

  6. This is a perfect display of what goes on in your head!!
    Very good stuff. 😉

  7. there should be a limit to repetition in songs and advertisements. i hate advertisements that repeat the number to call 30 times in a commercial by someone with the worst case of obnoxious. well, at least tom puts a few good chords to it, lol

  8. I thought they were propping him up at the gates of hell, kind of like Weekend at Bernie’s. Like he was left there, not stood up. But if there IS a coffee shop there, it’s Starbuck’s. Plus, he could multi-task while he’s there; he could have his last dance with Mary Jane.

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