American Girl has always been one of my favorite Tom Petty songs. It’s from his first album. I have been puzzled about this song on a couple of different fronts… Is it about suicide? And is it in the movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”?

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

Let’s talk a little about the Suicide theory first..  It goes something like this:

Hey Dave.. I went to the University of Florida… This chick..She jumped out of a 4 story dorm to her death… Ya know, Tom Petty wrote a song about it.. “American girl” I think she was tripping on acid and thought she could fly…

Well, how about all that? Hmmm?

Check the lyrics:

Well, she was an American girl
Raised on promises
She couldn’t help thinkin’
That there was a little more to life somewhere else
After all it was a great big world
With lots of places to run to
And if she had to die tryin’
She had one little promise she was gonna keep

Tom petty is from Florida…  It’s excellent songwriting material, isn’t it?

I’d write a song about it – uh…. maybe.

I Dunno…. If ya asked Tom he’d probably deny it… Just Google it.

My main question is about the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Prob the best high school movie ever made. My gang from high school used to go see it weekly at the “Midnight Movies”  Even then (early 80s) it was a cult classic. We used to throw stuff and holla at the scream in our teenage angst.

What’s funny is our lives are reflected in the charterers on the screen… Can you guess which ones?

I distinctly remember the song “American Girl” being played near the beginning of the movie…  The part where we’re just getting introduced to the school…… The kids are throwing toilet paper and stuff…



HEY!! I just found it!!!

Now… Go rent the movie or watch it on TV….. I guarantee you it’s not in the film!