Tom Petty: The First Honorary ‘Off the Beaten Path’ Insider

By: Gary McKechnie


I was listening to Tom Petty the other day and in song after song he was singing about places that only a native Floridian would know. I guess since he is a native Floridian (he was born in Gainesville), that probably explains it.

Here are a few lyrics that caught my ear:

Well, it was kinda cold that night
She stood alone on her balcony.
Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by.
Out on 441, like waves crashing on the beach.
(American Girl)

Well the clouds rolled by in the big blue sky,
And the sun beat down on Casa Dega.
And the moon pulls the tide,
And the tide brings the night,
But night is more than just night in Casa Dega…
(Casa Dega -- or Cassadaga)

Well I been to Brooker and I been to Micanopy
I been to St. Louis too, I been all around the world…
(A Mind With a Heart of Its Own)

Ridin' with my momma
To Glen Springs pool
Water was cold,
My lips were blue.
(Dreamville- Silver Glen Springs)

Well, friends, there are a lot of wonderful Florida singers and songwriters, but it's Tom Petty’s recollections of Old Florida that got me a-thinkin'. For all he's done (and sung) about our great state, I thought that Tom Petty should be named the first ‘Honorary Off the Beaten Path Insider’.

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