Tom Petty passes away at age 66

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Tom Petty passes away at age 66

Clayton Davis

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On Monday October 4th, classic rock music legend, Tom Petty passed away at the age of 66. Petty was a part of the music group Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for over 40 years. Forming in Gainesville Florida with Petty at lead singer, Mike Campbell at lead guitar, and  Benmont Tench on the keyboard,the band had 13 albums which includes their triple platinum hit “Damn the Torpedoes” (1979). That album charted at number 2 when it was released in the United States and number 1 in New Zealand! Classic songs from the album include “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me like That” which both peaked in the Top 20 of the Billboard Top 100 at the time. About a decade later, Petty solely released “Full Moon Fever”. Some of his most infamous songs were displayed on the album including “Free Fallin”, which was referenced in the movie “Jerry Maguire” where Tom Cruise is singing along in his car to the tune. Also on the album was “Running down a Dream” whose lyrics carry the message of striving to reach goals even when times get tough. These songs and albums established Petty as a rock legend with his lyrics identifying with the general public about striving for greatness.

Petty achieved many great accomplishments over the course of his career. Petty and the Heartbreakers performed to 97 million people worldwide at Super Bowl XLII in Arizona in 2008. At the time, it was the most watched Super Bowl due to also in part to the competitiveness between the Giants and the Patriots (it has since been passed by Super Bowl XLVII with Katy Perry performing). In addition to his successes, Tom Petty and his bandmates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and won a grammy in 2009 for his music video for “Runnin Down a Dream”. Petty collaborated with many other established rocker including Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash.

In early June of this year, Petty was about to start and complete his final world tour with his longtime band. His last concert was in Los Angeles on the 25th of September and he was expected to pick his tour back up in New York in November. Unfortunately, Petty fell into cardiac arrest near the Santa Monica area where he was then taken to a local hospital. He eventually was taken off life support and passed away peacefully in the hospital.

Even though Petty is no longer with us, many of his celebrity friends took to Twitter to reminisce of all of the great memories. Country music Sheryl Crow reacted to the tragedy by saying “You brought us so much joy @tompetty. We will miss you.” John Mayer saw Petty as a mentor by expressing that he “covered his songs because (he) wanted to know what it would feel like to fly.” Many outside of the music industry showed their respect for Petty as well with sales for his songs showing a  6000% SPIKE over the last week. Tom Petty was such a inspiration to all and never saw life as a struggle, saying “I’m not afraid of backlash; What are they gonna do to me?” He truly was Free Fallin.

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