Throwback Thursday: “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Lizzy Partsch, Staff Writer

In remembrance and celebration of Tom Petty’s iconic and forever lasting singing career, we’re making this week’s Throwback Thursday one of his greatest hits, “I Won’t Back Down.”

“I Won’t Back Down” is nothing more than a straightforward message to viewers to not back down. He even goes as far to say, “You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t back down,” proving that even with the most even terrible things that happen in the world, it’s important to stay positive and and keep continuing on.

To coincide with the song’s theme, I won’t back down, Tom Petty even previously mentioned the day he wrote the song that he was feeling very sick: “At the session George Harrison sang and played the guitar. I had a terrible cold that day, and George went to the store and bought a ginger root, boiled it and had me stick my head in the pot to get the ginger steam to open up my sinuses, and then I ran in and did the take,” maybe you could even say he didn’t back down and proceeded to do the recording despite his cold.

Despite being used in many political and sports campaigns, the song became very symbolic to the tragic events of 9/11, which usually played to inspire people after the attacks. Especially lyrics like, “well I know what’s right/ I just got one life/ in a world that keeps pushin’ me around/ but I’ll stand my ground.” This proves to be very inspirational to basically all of America around 9/11, saying to rise above tragedy and keep standing proud and strong for your country.

Furthermore, even bits of drama had stirred up about the the hit record when Sam Smith released his hit single, “Stay With Me,” supposedly sounding extremely similar. Although, Sam Smith reported that he’d never heard the song “I Won’t Back Down.” Petty was quite understanding about the whole incident, basically saying he understands these types of situations can happen and an agreement was reached, giving Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne certificates to honor their contribution to his work.

Despite all the drama though, the message behind the song is truly a hit anthem, and with its catchy beat and inspiring chorus, I definitely suggest you give a listen.

Rest in peace Tom Petty, for your legacy has not ended but just begun.

“You and I will meet again, when we’re least expecting it, one day in some far off place, I will recognize your face, I won’t say goodbye my friend, for you and I will meet again.” -Tom Petty

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