RIP, Mr. Petty

Music never really spoke to me, until I discovered Mr. Petty’s music.

Today, we have lost one of the greatest, most innovative artists of all-time, Tom Petty, who has reportedly died from a heart attack at the comparatively young age of 66.

Reports Variety:

Police responded to his home a 10:50 p.m. Sunday night and he was transferred to UCLA-Santa Monica Medical Center, where he was on life support until Monday.

Celebrities have been pouring out their love for Petty on Twitter.

This celebrity death hits me especially hard. Petty was one of the first, if not the first, famous rock star I became a fan of. The man was, quite simply, brilliant at his craft. You see, up until that time — when I was about 15 years old — I liked music. But music never really spoke to me, until I discovered Mr. Petty’s music. Then I loved music.

Petty opened the door leading to Alice Cooper for me. Cooper led me to Bowie. And Bowie led me to everybody else — Blue Oyster Cult, ELO, Fleetwood Mac. If it wasn’t for Petty, I’d have never learned how to play bass. If not for Petty, I definitely would not have the eclectic taste in music I now have today.

Tom Petty introduced me to rock and roll.

Born October 20, 1950, in Gainesville Florida, Mr. Petty seemed to know since early on that he wanted to be a rock star. Indeed, Petty recently confessed that following his musical ambitions was indeed a struggle; and that his ultra-conservative father had given Petty hell for following his chosen dream.


A “hard man” is how Tom Petty describes his dad, Earl, an abusive father (one beating Petty received from his father at age 5 is recalled in horrific detail) who never believed his son would amount to anything. But when he did, who do you think played the “Tom Petty’s Father” card to the hilt around Gainesville? “He developed an identity from it. God knows how much p___ he got out of it,” Petty says. Some of that “companionship,” the family suspected, came in the form of the in-home nurses Earl Petty was hiring to care for his dying wife.

Strangely enough, I just ordered a new Tom Petty album last week, “Tom Petty and the heartbreakers anthology through the years” and I was listening to it as I drove home from the neighboring town, cranking out such fantastic solid rock tunes as “Waiting For Tonight,” “Change Of Heart,” “Straight Into Darkness,” “Yer So Bad,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “I Need To Know,” among others.

And then as soon as I returned home, I had learned that Mr. Petty had died.

Goodbye, Mr. Petty. We’re gonna miss you, but we’re never gonna forget you. In the succinct words of Billy Idol we got lucky, when we found you.