Song Thoughts: The Last DJ

       Tom Petty is a rock-n-roll legend. One of the many musical interests my brother, Brian, and I share is the love of Tom Petty’s music. During a recent phone conversation, I asked my brother to name the first Petty song that came to mind. There was no hesitation. 

       “The Last DJ. My go to Petty song is The Last DJ. It’s my favorite.” 

       The song “The Last DJ” is the title track from the 2002 album The Last DJ. Petty was getting older when he wrote the songs for the album, turning 50, and it is basically an aging man expressing his fears for the state of our society and anger at the loss of freedoms, an increase of greed, and a hint of nostalgia for the way things used to be. Am I surprised that this is Brian’s favorite Tom Petty song? Not really. It actually makes sense. Our brotherly conversations of late have addressed some of those same issues with the same thoughts and feelings.

         I like “The Last DJ” too, but my favorite song on the The Last DJ album is “Have Love Will Travel”. I like the song for several reasons, but one may surprise my brother. In the second verse when Petty sings, “Maggie’s still tryna rope a tornado. Joe’s in the backyard tryna keep things simple. And the lonely DJ’s diggin’ a ditch tryna keep the flames from the temple.”, I always think of him. He is Joe. And Joe is that last DJ.  Fighting the good fight to hang on to those disappearing societal virtues and manners we both grew up with and treasure to this day. Is that a bit romantic and simplistic? Maybe, but what is wrong with that? We need more romantic heroism in this world today. I’m right there at your side brother! And when the smoke becomes thick and you feel you are losing the battle or your way, know that my love will travel with you always. We will both remain!

© 2022 Gregory Vessar. A Thousand Miles from Kansas. All Rights Reserved.

Want more Tom Petty?
Check out my Tom Petty Top Twenty at the link below. 
I posted this top twenty as a tribute to Tom a couple of years ago. I looked at the list again today, and it still stands strong! And I still miss you Tom!

“The Last DJ” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. 2002.
“Have Love Will Travel” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. 2002.
Categories: Family, Love, MusicTags: , ,


  1. In this world today it feels that morality and love have been replaced by technology and greed. I look back and wonder where time and common sense has gone. My BEST days however were not back in the glorious 70’s or 80’s. my best days were in a terrible time in our recent history. Spring 2020. Why? My brother was trapped with me in Kansas for several months. Too much time apart big brother. Im ready for you to come home.

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  2. My maiden name was Petty. I told people Tom Petty was my uncle. And he was, just a different Tom Petty.

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    • Love that story! I had a friend with the last name Nieman and he would walk in to Nieman Marcus and say that he was Mr. Nieman and show is ID to prove it. We never got special treatment for some reason!

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