Classic Rock’s Influence on Young Musicians

Classic Rock’s Influence on Young Musicians

Photograph by Anssi Koskinen, distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license

Bruce Springsteen is certainly a polarizing artist in the classic rock genre. It’s practically a case of “you either love him or you hate him”.

The funny thing about a statement like “you either love him or you hate him” is that it seems like the phrase causes people to say/think “oh, I don’t know. He’s alright, I guess” or “I don’t really have an opinion”. But the people who love Bruce Springsteen and the people who hate Bruce Springsteen do it with the exact same fervor.

The same could very well be said for Tom Petty. You either love him or hate him. (Some can’t get past his voice).

At the Minnesota State Fair one year, we had a listener interested in buying this shirt, but decided against it because of how prominent Petty’s name was.

Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem is one who LOVES Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.

We’ll start off with Petty.

The most obvious being a lyric in “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” where he sings “I still love Tom Petty songs…”
Perhaps, too on-the-nose for the point we’re making. So, we’ll move on to references to Petty’s songs. The aforementioned “…Cowgirls…” also contains the lyrics “yer so bad, but not me baby”.

“High Lonesome” contains the line “…there were southern accents on the radio” which could very well be a reference to hearing Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” on the radio.

The deluxe version of The Gaslight Anthem’s Handwritten even contained a cover of “You Got Lucky”.

Now…onto the Boss. There are plenty of references to Springsteen’s songs; especially on Gaslight’s The ’59 Sound album.

“At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet it’s a pretty good song, baby. You know the rest.” That one is obviously a tribute to “I’m on Fire”.

The song “Meet Me By the River’s Edge” appears to be an amalgamation of Springsteen’s “The River” and “Meet Me at Mary’s Place”. The song goes on to say “No surrender my Bobby Jean” which would clearly be a reference to two more of Bruce’s songs; “No Surrender” and “Bobby Jean”.

The nods, tributes and references to the artists who’ve influenced Fallon are countless. Every album, be it solo or with Gaslight Anthem, will contain a reference or a lyrical tribute. (More of his references can be found HERE).

When Tom Petty passed away a year ago, it was most definitely a shock. A few of us here at the station got a bit emotional. None more so than Lisa Miler.

[VIDEO: Lisa Talks Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever]

We’ve included a sampling of what the younger generation of musicians had to say on social media when they heard about their hero’s passing. Surely, we can all recall a time when we strummed a tennis racket while singing along to one of our musical heroes. We think it shows the reach that classic rock has, and its continued influence on the younger generations.


Duluth-based band Trampled By Turtles were all together in a cabin, considering ending their hiatus, when the news of Tom Petty’s passing was announced. They surprised their fans on Facebook with an impromptu Facebook Live performance of Petty’s “Wildflowers”.

Check out the video here, and skip ahead to the 3:00 mark.