Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

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You Don’t Know How It Feels

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The Tom Petty song ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’ came out on the 1994 Album Wildflowers and the single charted #13 in the US.  The song was played a lot on the radio in 1994, but it had a controversial line “roll another joint” in it that was deemed unfit for some radio stations, so they edited it out, but Tom said that this line was sure a crowd-pleaser when played live.  ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’ is a sad song, but it’s not depressing.  Petty says that “You don’t know how it feels to be me” maybe because he is seeking empathy.  Tom said he was trying to do this character in the song who was kind of down and looking for some company.  This song may be partially autobiographical, but Petty’s father was not born to rock, as he was leery of his son’s career in music.

Tom Petty was one of MTV’s biggest stars, but they wouldn’t play the video as delivered because of the drug reference (sex and violence were generally OK on the network, but they were very sensitive about drugs).  When the video aired, the word “joint” was reversed so it came out sounding like “noojh”.  Tom said, “Let’s roll another noojh”, sounded worse to him than joint, as that word made it sounds really wicked.

The beginning of this song may have been about an affair that Tom had with Mary Badham, the actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role as Jean Louise Finch aka Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.  A week after Tom and Mary broke off their affair, she refused to see him, and reportedly said, “I don’t give a damn about you, Tom” and she slammed the door.  From this Tom wrote, “There’s someone I used to see, she don’t give a damn for me.”  Supposedly Mary and Tom had an on again off again relationship for 20 years until 1993.  The guy in this song has had a bad time and he wants to move on.  The “roll another joint” line is saying that he wants to disconnect from whatever is stressing him out, to turn off the static in his life so that he can get some peace.  Petty wrote and arranged this whole song by starting with a drum machine and laying in all the instruments.

Let me run with you tonight
I’ll take you on a moonlight ride
There’s someone I used to see
But she don’t give a damn for me

But let me get to the point, let’s roll another joint
And turn the radio loud, I’m too alone to be proud
You don’t know how it feels
You don’t know how it feels to be me

People come, people go
Some grow young, some grow cold
I woke up in between
A memory and a dream

So let’s get to the point, let’s roll another joint
Let’s head on down the road
There’s somewhere I gotta go
And you don’t know how it feels
You don’t know how it feels to be me

My old man was born to rock
He’s still tryin’ to beat the clock
Think of me what you will
I got a little space to fill

So let’s get to the point, let’s roll another joint
Let’s head on down the road
There’s somewhere I gotta go
And you don’t know how it feels
No, you don’t know how it feels to be me

The challenge today is to focus on this song and use it for inspiration in any form of creative expression (including but not limited to short stories, a piece of flash fiction, poems, lyrics, artwork, photography, (etc.) that you can share with the WordPress writing community.  There is no need to stick with this song, as if you like to write about another Tom Petty song, or a song that was written heartache, or a breakup that would work.  You might also go with a song about a getting high or smoking a joint.

The whole point of this MM Music challenge is to get you to think, to trigger something so that you can show how creative you are and everyone is welcome to participate.  This challenge is very loose, so pretty much whatever you come up with will be acceptable.  I try to throw some ideas out there for you and if they seem right, then go with it.  You could write about trying to impress a girl, or how you handle stress.  If you want to write about To Kill a Mockingbird, that would be perfect.

Dylan Hughes will be here on next Friday, on February 28 with her First Line Friday and I suggest that everybody check out this fun prompt challenge.  I will be back on Friday, March 6 with another MM Music Challenge where we will discuss the song ‘My Woman From Tokyo’.  When you are finished writing your post, create a ping back to this post, but you can also place your link in the comments section below if you desire.  This Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge has a special feature called Mr. Linky, which will allow you to instantly link your post after you click the Mr. Linky Button, which will allow everyone to read your post sooner that way, and then follow the directions that are given.

About newepicauthor

My About Me section is meant to provide my readers with an honest picture of myself that gives a little bit of background information on who I am and I will wrap this up with a catchy image. I am a story teller and I like to use my imagination. I am interested in many things, but a few of my favorites are watching the NFL and playing golf. I do not like onions and I always make sure that my food does not contain any. I had two wonderful parents, my dad Herb Adams was a television repairman and my mother Mary Adams was mostly a stay at home mom. They are both deceased now and I miss them. I am a retired Electrical Engineer specialized in control systems. I held many different positions because I worked mostly as a consultant. I did work as a Substitute Teacher, for a while, but the kids were awful. I am happiest when I am writing, as this gives my life has a purpose. Forming a sentence with meaningful words that articulate my inner feelings is an everyday quest for me. Every writer needs to tell their story, and all writers have their own style. All stories starts off with characters, who are able to entertain the reader. Creating realistic lovable characters is the best way to tell a story. If you are able to develop characters that become real to you, then you will know exactly what they will do say and do next and this lets your story progress to the completion. Writing changes everything and having the calling to create something new through the power of words is much more than just making marks on a page. Once written, a book can be used by many people to learn and be entertained. The act of writing can be compared to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as it contains an inherent fuzziness, because various people may derive different meanings from reading the same words. You can never know the true nature of written words and the best I can do is hope is that people will understand the meanings that I am trying to convey. There are no clear-cut laws on how to write and it is impossible for me to determine how my readers react to my books.

11 comments on “You Don’t Know How It Feels

  1. pensitivity101
    February 21, 2020

    I find it amazing that the radio stations were so sensitive to any reference to drug when sex and violence were deemed acceptable. I am appalled at some of the lyrics in songs today that get airplay as bad language is also acceptable by today’s standards.
    Guess I’m an old fuddy duddy who exercised the right to use the off switch a long time ago as I rarely listen to music on the radio now.

    • newepicauthor
      February 21, 2020

      I think that rap music destroyed a lot of values. kids love this stuff and the more cursing they hear in the songs the more they like them and want to sing them. It is a generational rebellious thing, but it is so detrimental to society as a whole. Rap is also full of drug references and the way that these songs demean women is horrendous.

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  3. newepicauthor
    February 21, 2020

    Reblogged this on A Unique Title For Me and commented:

    Today on the MM Music challenge Tom Petty talks about feelings. In order to understand what it is that makes us human beings, we must examine our feelings. Feeling is the nominalization of the verb to feel. All feelings come about as a result of a reaction to emotions, but they are not the same thing. Our feelings determine whether we are happy or sad, content or frustrated, but why do we have feelings and you can’t possibly know how I feel, because you are not me.

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