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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 210
Thurs. August 9, 2012

“I Won’t Back Down”
Tom Petty

1989

“♫ Well, I know
what’s right/ I got
just one life/ in a
world that keeps
on pushin’ me
around/ but I’ll
stand my ground/ and
I won’t back down
♫”


If there’s one song that reflects my ideal of the American ethic in work, sport, love and life it has to be Tom Petty’s spirited “I Won’t Back Down.” I believe it’s the reason why so many risk life and limb immigrating here to America. These dreamers of all ages want to inherit our spark of hope. Each is hopeful our spirit of invincibility somehow rubs off on and they eventual achieve their American dream. Historically, we, our nation of dedicated Americans inherently possess that extra spark of determination that takes us to our ultimate goal called victory. Just look at our United States Men and Women’s National Soccer Teams and our penchant of triumphing when the match seems all but lost. By the end, most teams would fold, but not our women and men. During crunch time, when the game is on the line, is when our players thrive the most. It’s this aura of perseverance that other nations respect about us. My ideal of the modern day American creed is the following: We work as hard as we play, we play to win and we aim to be the best in our calling, craft and fields. Most of all, we Americans will show the most compassion and class on our dynamic journey to our success.

“I Won’t Back Down” wouldn’t have come to life if it wasn’t for George Harrison’s own compassionate caring of unselfishness as Tom Petty described, when he said, “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.”

That’s not the only assistance Harrison gave Tom during the recording of “I Want Back Down” as Petty explained, “We pretty much finished the song—all but one line. Which was “There ain’t no easy way out.” I didn’t have a line for that. [Originally] I was singing “I’m standing on the edge of the world.” [Laughs] And when we were recording it, George said. “What the hell is that—“I’m standing at the end of the world.” Surely that’s got to be something better than that.’ [Laughs] And I came up with ‘There ain’t no easy way out,” which seemed so obvious. But that was George going, ‘That line’s dumb.’ And so I’m really glad that I got all the dumb lines out, because it’s a song that apparently a lot of people have been inspired by.”, Wow, that’s a true friend, telling Petty what he really needed to hear, that the old line, lyrically didn’t fit. And, thanks to George and his one suggestion, “I Won’t Back Down” is the modern American classic it is today.

Like a great teammate George Harrison assisted Tom Petty with finishing his golazao of a song. We salute you Tom Petty for writing this anthem that reflects the true spirit of the American ethic of work, sport love, life and song. I dedicate “I Won’t Back Down” today to our United States Women National Soccer Team [USWNT] who embodies the true unbridled American spirit for playing hard with passion & class and most of all never, ever giving up. Today is the Gold Medal match versus Japan, a rematch of last summer’s dramatic World Cup Final. Our USWNT have already given enough highlights for a lifetime as we saw against the semi-final game versus Canada. With the whole world watching, you will have a nation of soccer enthusiasts who believes in you. We will chant our support while singing the true Tom Petty American classic that is “I Won’t Back Down” to you, our beloved United States Women’s National Soccer Team vs. Japan! We won’t back down, standing at the edge of the world, from America we’re all behind you all the way— Go! Goal! U.S.A!

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