Tom Petty Countdown #31: “To Find A Friend”

It’s a distant cousin of “Yer So Bad” in terms of the episodic nature of the lyrics, but “To Find A Friend is the less whimsical of the two songs. While the adults in the song bounce around with frenzied unpredictability, I’ve always looked at the song from the perspective of the unmentioned children of this family. They’re the ones I believe Petty has in mind when he talks about this sequence of events changing lives and plans.

This song is an excellent example of Petty’s underrated melodic flair. The refrain is especially tuneful, and it features an effortlessly moving lyric that details what it feels like when your life becomes unmoored: “And the days went by like paper in the wind/Everything changed, then changed again/It’s hard to find a friend”.

While Benmont Tench’s saloon-style piano solo is the thing that sticks out on the instrumental end, the most notable contribution on the song is the drumming of the one and only Ringo Starr. Ringo bumps things along gently with his undeniable feel for such things. After all, who else would know better about drumming for a song with a great melody?

(E-mail the author at countdownkid@hotmail.com.)

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