Tom Petty: Remembering a Rock Icon

On October 2nd at 8:40 PM, we lost one of Rock and Roll’s greatest icons, Tom Petty. Petty died at the age of 66, after he went into cardiac arrest in his home in LA. The singer and guitar player has been influencing music with his California rock style since the mid 70’s when he started releasing music through Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He came to the conclusion that he would rather be a solo artist than in a band, however he preferred performing with the same musicians. Therefore, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was born. With the release of their first single, “Breakdown”, the band did not gain much momentum, however, after relentless touring, the song finally broke through in the states. In 1979, Petty’s music would be forever written in stone through the album Damn the Torpedoes, which reached number two, and is considered to be one of his best albums. Petty released a number of albums throughout the 80’s however, his work in the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, which includes Jeff Lynn, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison, and himself, seems to stand out the most, as this group of incredible musicians came together to make something special. In 1989, Tom Petty released Full Moon Fever, which consists of the monumental track “Free Fallin”. Going into the 90’s, Petty had a great amount of support due to his recent releases, however he knew that he would have to forge a new fan base for a new generation. He did so with the solo release of Wildflowers, which kept the rock star’s magic around in a time where rock music had taken a much different turn. Going into the 2000’s Tom Petty’s new music fell out of radio favor as he entered the later years of his career. This last year marked the 40th anniversary of the creation of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This legend’s influence will forever be felt in rock music around the world, and he will be greatly missed by all those that he touched. Tom Petty, thank you.

Gavin Susalski