I once saw this bathroom graffiti magic markered on a hostel bathroom wall in Switzerland: “An academic takes simple ideas and makes them complicated. An artist takes complicated ideas and makes them simple.” Whenever I think of it, I also think of Tom Petty.
Also, similar to a quote by Einstein:
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
And the idea of Petty not caring if you think he’s dumb:
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
Thanks for a great article to help fellow fans celebrate Petty’s life, and an absolutely awesome music lesson. As a writer, I was always drawn to his lyrics, but your breakdown of some of his lesser known ballads was moving.