I just saw Tom Petty at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, in April. Being a Tom Petty fan, I might be biased, but I thought he put on a show that out performs, and out entertains many of the younger rockers that came after him.
Petty played his guitar as cool as he ever did, dancing around the stage, his voice sounding as solid as it did when he recorded the songs years ago. I was transfixed by the display, and shamelessly sang along, and cheered to almost everything. You’d have thought the guy wouldn’t be done for a long time by watching him.
So it was with shock and heaviness that I learned that Petty had been found in his Malibu home on Sunday night. He had been rushed to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital where he was put on life support.
However, Petty was found to have no brain activity, and the decision was made to remove him from life support. It has been confirmed that Petty has died at the age of 66.
The legend began his career in the 1970’s with his band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Even if you’re not of the generation that Petty’s music dominated, you’ve heard his tunes somewhere. Everyone knows “Free Fallin’,” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Won’t Back Down,” and “You Don’t Know How it Feels.”
He and his band’s talents rightfully landed them in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Interestingly enough, Petty had recently told Rolling Stone that the band’s 40th anniversary tour — the tour that I had the pleasure of seeing him play — would be his last.
“It’s very likely we’ll keep playing, but will we take on 50 shows in one tour? I don’t think so. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one. We’re all on the backside of our sixties. I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road. This tour will take me away for four months. With a little kid, that’s a lot of time,” said Petty.
Petty may have passed away, but I can guarantee his music will continue to pump through speakers for generations to come. I know it will through mine.
UPDATE: It would appear that the report that pronounced Petty had passed away was inaccurate. According to an update by TMZ, the rocker is still holding on. While I’ve never been happier to be incorrect in a report, Petty is not expected to live much longer.
— TMZ (@TMZ) October 2, 2017