It’s hard to say that “Walls (Circus)” is a Tom Petty deep cut — it’s the lead song on an album, it’s in a movie — but it feels like a deep cut. No one seems to know it. You never hear it on the radio. I won’t say it’s my favorite Tom Petty song, I wouldn’t even place it among the top twenty, but it’s certainly a beloved and cherished favorite.
I used to own the CD single to this, and I played it somewhat obsessively in college. No idea whatever happened to that single, hence the “used to own.” Until ten minutes ago, I didn’t know there was a video for it. Looking at it now, I wonder how much of the imagery evoked Petty’s struggle with heroin and his personal demons in the mid-90s
The album it comes from, Songs and Music from “She’s the One,” features Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ music from 1996’s She’s the One, an Ed Burns film, starring Jennifer Aniston, that I’ve never seen. It’s an unjustly overlooked album; I think it’s generally looked at as an album of throwaways, but there are some really fine songs here, and there are guest appearances by Lindsay Buckingham, Ringo Starr, and an uncredited George Harrison and his trademark slide guitar. If there’s a Petty album that deserves a reappraisal, it’s this one.
I put the album in the Beetle this morning for my morning drive. The final verse was apropos:
Some things are over
Some things go on
Part of me you carry
Part of me is gone.
Petty himself is gone now, but we’ll always carry the part of him that is his music and the memories that go with it.