We thought that it couldn’t get much worse than 2016 in terms of our favorite musicians (and actors) and their untimely passing. Another heart breaker came when we had to say goodbye to many fantastic musicians like David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Glenn Frey, and others. Unfortunately, in 2017 we have already lost Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, Chuck Berry and many others. It is never easy to say goodbye to our idols, even if we never met them.
On October 2, yet another pivotal musician passed away too soon, Tom Petty died of cardiac arrest on Tuesday evening surrounded by family and loved ones. This heart breaking news came as a sudden and devastating shock to his millions of fans and supporters. His influence was far reaching and he touched a lot of musical lives.
Petty was born and raised in Gainesville Florida. This isn’t exactly the area you would imagine him growing up given his music style. He even described it as the “redneck, hillbilly part of town. You can meet almost any kind of person from many walks of life.” He loved his hometown, but he aspired to be something different which is why his music style doesn’t really reflect a certain area.
After minor stints in a few bands, Tom Petty started his famed group Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Their debut album was unveiled in 1976 and already featured major hits like “Breakdown” and “American Girl.” Petty didn’t have your typical rocker look. He had long blonde hair and wore scarfs with an eclectic assortment of shirts, jackets, and sunglasses.
Petty has been a “staple of rock radio for decades” and produced countless hits that just make people feel good. His music is perfect for long car cruises with the top down, wind blowing in your hair with no cares in the world. His music has “proven to be durable”, in fact, “a 1993 collection of Greatest Hits stayed on the Billboard album chart for six years.” His music continues to stand the test of time, with fans and other musicians alike being captured by his sensational songwriting.
Other musicians of all genres have expressed their gratitude for Petty and their sadness for his passing.
John Mayer: I loved Tom Petty and I covered his songs because I wanted know what it felt like to fly. “you belong somewhere you feel free.”
Joe Bonamassa: Thank you Tom… Rest In Peace. A true giant is gone. Such a sad and dark day on so many levels.
Peter Frampton: I can’t believe we have lost Tom Petty on this already horrible day. My love to his wife & children and the entire Heartbreaker family.
Rest in peace Tom Petty