Musician Tom Petty Dies at 66

Photo: Andy Tennille

Photo: Andy Tennille

Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Staff Writer

 

In the early morning of October 2, 2017, Thomas Earl Petty suffered cardiac arrest and passed away later that day at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California.  Petty is best known for his long career with self-titled band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as well as his collaboration with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison, also known as The Traveling Wilburys.

Photo: Andy Tennille

Petty started his musical career with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1976. They were active from 1976 and were still touring in 2017 until his death.

In 2002, Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  During his career, he became one of the best-selling music artists in the world, selling over 80 million copies in his lifetime. He has many hit singles with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, including “American Girl” and “Learning To Fly.”  His solo career also produced hits like “Free Fallin” and “I Won’t Back Down.” 

Photo: Andy Tennille

After being asked about his memories containing Tom Petty, Brennan Cassady, science teacher at Helix, said, “Everybody loves Tom Petty and everybody knows at least part of one of his songs. I can remember many bonfires in college where some guy with a guitar starts playing a Tom Petty song and everybody starts singing along. So if you are getting ready for college, start memorizing some Petty songs so you don’t feel left out at the bonfire sing-a-longs.”

In 1988, Petty joined the musical supergroup the Traveling Wilburys with founder George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. He also had a solo career, releasing albums in 1989, 1994, and 2006.

Photo: Andy Tennille

When asked how Petty’s music has impacted his life, Robert Berg, Helix economics teacher, said, “Music brings happiness and Petty has had so many songs that are great to listen to- pure and simple.  There may not be better music to listen to when on a long road trip.”

Fans all around the world mourned his death and came together on his website, writing messages about how his music has changed their lives.  On a smaller scale The Pettybreakers, a local cover band, are playing a show honoring Petty at The Music Box on December 8th.