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A man who wouldn’t back down

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)

About Michael Stuart

After university, Michael spent twelve years working for MELODY MAKER before going freelance. He claims to keep doing it because it is all he knows. More Posts