Rock and roll rhetoric: Even the Losers

Well it was nearly summer, we sat on your roof
Yeah we smoked cigarettes and we stared at the moon
And I’d show you stars you never could see
Babe, it couldn’t have been that easy to forget about me.

Even the Losers (Petty), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

What a picture. We are there, young and in love, on a magical late-Spring evening.

At the heart of great songs, and great rhetoric, is great imagery. And, the recently departed Tom Petty had a talent for conjuring lasting images with a few sparse lines.

The formal term is enargia; the painting of vivid mental scenes.

Here he is again, on the song’s bridge:

Two cars parked on the overpass
Rocks hit the water like broken glass
I shoulda known right then it was too good to last
God, it’s such a drag when you live in the past.

Here’s the band in 1980…

From the band’s superb, third album, Damn The Torpedoes. One of my all-time favourite albums:

If you’re a fan, you should track down the BBC TV programme, Classic Albums.




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