I Knew Which of The Three He Meant

Last night, on the way home from Maundy Thursday service, my oldest in the back seat said, “‘Learning to Fly’ is a pretty dope song.”

“Coming down is the hardest thing,” my beautiful wife said, quoting Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

“He doesn’t mean Tom Petty,” I said. I know the young man. He did not mean the Foo Fighters either.

No, the young man, my son, meant Pink Floyd’s “Learning to Fly”:

You know, it’s the oldest of the three; it came out in 1987 on A Momentary Lapse of Reason which I first got on audiocassette early in college. Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s version came off of their 1991 album Into the Great Wide Open; I am pretty sure that I bought the song on a cassette single, but not the whole album. The baby of the bunch, the Foo Fighters song, came out in 1998; I bought the CD for There Is Nothing Left To Lose based on this song. They all came out within, what, eleven years of each other, each an aspirational sort of song about trying and succeeding.

Do they even make pop songs about that any more? Don’t ask me; I don’t listen to pop, and Brazilian death metal is not quite so aspirational.

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