Awoke and came to my computer around midnight last night and heard on Radio Five Live that Tom Petty had suffered a heart attack. I went straight to the newspaper websites and read that some agencies had apparently claimed he’d already died but later reports had denied this was the case.
I stayed up until about 4.30am – doing this and that – and then went back to bed. None of the newspaper websites had posted any further updates (I kept checking). Was he okay – or at death’s door? Somehow I dozed off … and awoke, literally on the nose of at 7.00am, to hear Nicky Campbell on Radio Five Live announcing that it was confirmed that Tom Petty had indeed died.
I never saw Tom Petty play live, but I followed his career both with and without his band the Heartbreakers – plus on projects like the Travelling Wilburys (with Jeff Lynne of ELO, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison) – and over time bought several of his albums. About ten years ago I was regularly playing his 2006 solo album Highway Companion and his Greatest Hits CD as staples on my car hi-fi system.
Tom Petty was a class act, an American rock legend who just kept on playing. A lot of people are going to miss him, including me. In tribute today I wish to do no more than offer two items to Rust readers.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played a concert this summer in Hyde Park on 9th July 2017. Stevie Nicks, formerly of Fleetwood Mac was making a guest appearance. Here’s a review by Jacob Stolworthy that appeared the following day on the website of – THE INDEPENDENT
The second is approximately four minutes of classic Petty and the Heartbreakers. There’s a vast range to choose from, of course, but today I’ve plumped for Learning to Fly – co-written by Jeff Lynne – from his return-to-form 1991 album Into The Great Wide Open, partly because I love the video that accompanied it. See here – LEARNING TO FLY (YOUTUBE)