American music classic, Tom Petty has died today at the age of 66. He was taken to UCLA hospital in Santa Monica CA in full cardiac arrest. His condition was considered critical from the time he was found, and reportedly a decision was made to discontinue life support. He had recently wrapped up a majour tour that was reportedly the last tour the Heartbreakers would do, celebrating 40 years recording together.
Petty has had a long and storied career in music, beginning at age 17 when he founded his first band, The Epics. The Epics evolved into the band Mudcrutch in 1970, and broke up in 1975. Petty then founded The Heartbreakers, his most known band, and later joined The Traveling Wilburys. Petty was a prolific songwriter, penning songs on 13 studio albums with The Heartbreakers, 3 solo albums, 3 albums with The Traveling Wilburys, numerous appearances in songs co-written for other artists, and had a small acting career.
Petty is survived by his wife, Dana York Epperson, and his daughters Adria and AnnaKim Violette. He also was beloved by legions of fans, band members, and other musicians. Petty influenced much of my youth and teen years, his melodic, catchy rock songs were on replay on radio stations across the US. He was one of those singer & songwriters that you either loved or hated, there wasn’t much in between. With that nasal twang singing the choruses of songs, they wormed their way into your brain. You found yourself singing along with them without thinking. In the chorus is where Petty punched you in the gut. The repetitive lyrics and infectious grooves. I still find myself singing some of my favourite songs of his, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” “Free Fallin” “Refugee”. His Greatest Hits album could serve as a soundtrack for that perfect summer roadtrip, the top down in your convertible, flying down the freeway.
Here’s a YouTube mix of Petty’s hits, both with The Heartbreakers and solo to remind yourself of the musical and lyrical songs of an unforgettable person.