An Icon Remembered

Widely considered one of the greatest songwriters of modern times, Tom Petty leaves a lasting impact on the world of rock. The singer’s death was reported on October 2nd, 2017. His death came just shy of his 67th birthday and just after his band’s 40th-anniversary celebration. Petty suffered cardiac arrest and died in the hospital later in the night.

Early Life

Tom Petty was born in Gainesville, Florida in 1950. He had an early interest in music only further inspired when he met Elvis at age ten. He dropped out of high school at age 17 to play music. After playing with a band called Mudcrutch for several years, Petty went on to form the Heartbreakers. While the band gained some recognition, it wasn’t until the release of the second album that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers gained mainstream success. It was their third album, Damn the Torpedoes that went on to solidify Petty’s place in rock and roll history.  The album had three chart-topping singles, “Don’t Do Me Like that,” “Here Comes My Girl,” and “Refugee.”  The band went on to release several more acclaimed albums such as Hard Promises, Long After Dark, and Southern Accents.

Break from the Heartbreakers and Solo Career

For a year in 1988, Petty played with the Traveling Wilburys, which included George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. The band released two albums with some success. Petty then released solo albums. Full Moon Fever featured some of his greatest hits, such as “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin,” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”

Return to Heartbreakers and Present Day

Tom Petty then reformed the Heartbreakers lineup. The Band released the 1991 album Into the Great Wide Open, which included such hits as “Learning to Fly” and “Into the Great Wide Open.” The following decade featured material produced by Rick Rubin and platinum albums. Tom Petty began the new millennium with a critique of the music industry, The Last DJ. He also hosted a show (Buried Treasure) on XM Satelite Radio and he performed the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show.

Most recently, Tom Petty had headlined large festivals such as Bonnaroo and Outside Lands. The Heartbreakers released an album Mojo in 2010 and Hypnotic Eye in 2014.  In 2017 he toured for the 40th Anniversary Tour of the Heartbreakers. He will be missed!