I first saw the news of Tom Petty death on Los Angeles times, the story started thus;
“Tom Petty rode to the pinnacle of pop music stardom with his beloved and long-running rock band the Heartbreakers, born out of the ashes of a group that flopped when he brought them from Gainesville, Fla., to California in the mid-1970s. He emerged as one of the most vocal and tireless champions of artistic integrity and musical purity in the record business.
Reportedly found unconscious at his Malibu home on Sunday night, Petty was rushed to UCLA’s Santa Monica hospital in full cardiac arrest and died Monday at 66. For hours, multiple media outlets reported his death only to retract those reports; his death was confirmed Monday night by his family’s spokeswoman. A cause has not been announced”
After getting to this point, I picked out my cellphone and tried to contact my friend who was so close to him to confirm the reports.
Tom Petty just completed an extensive tour to mark the Heartbreakers’ 40thanniversary that concluded on Sept. 25 with a three-night homecoming stand that sold out at the Hollywood Bowl.
“It’s shocking, crushing news,” his longtime friend and collaborator Bob Dylan said. “I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”
Songs like “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Free Fallin’,” “Listen To Her Heart,” “The Waiting,” “Learning to Fly” and “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” their collaboration with Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks for her solo album “Bella Donna,” quickly became staples of Top 40 and FM radio playlists.
The group churned out hit album after hit album as well. The biggest included: “Damn the Torpedoes” from 1979, “Hard Promises” in 1981, “The Last DJ” in 2002, and “Mojo” in 2010. (“Mojo” entered the chart and peaked at No. 2, 30 years into the band’s career.)
Petty also recorded several successful solo albums, which often included most or all members of the Heartbreakers performing. His first, 1989’s “Full Moon Fever,” reached No. 3, followed by “Wildflowers” in 1994 and “Highway Companion” in 2006.
Tom was a delight, a great performer and an icon that we will always remember. Today, I just put on a T-shirt he gave me in the early 90s and stroll down the road of Flushing Queen to mourn and remember this great hero.
What did you like most about him, please comment below?