In a day already numb from news of shootings and death, comes word that Tom Petty, one of the pivotal figures in Rock during the late 70s on, had passed away at age 66.
At first the reports were sketchy – he had suffered a massive heart attack and he was on life support, but that he was still alive. Then it was reported that he had died. An hour later it was reported that the reports of his death weren’t confirmed and that CBS, who had initially reported Petty’s death then retracted it. Then it was reported he was still on life support and clinging to life. And then it was reported that he was brain dead, yet still alive; still clinging, still hanging on. As hours went by hopes and feelings were running the gamut. Coupled with the story of mounting deaths in Las Vegas, and that story developing into the nightmare it truly was.
And then around 9:00 pm (PST), CNN officially reported that Tom Petty had, in fact died and that all efforts to keep him alive had failed. And then it was one more death in a day filled with death and sorrow. We lost 59 (at last count) innocent people who were simply out to enjoy a concert, and then we hear one of our icons, one of the people we saw from the beginning, had worked with, had only performed in Los Angeles days earlier, he too was now gone.
I thought 2016 was a bad year for loss, that so many we knew, had grown up with, had been influenced by, had spent hours listening to, had gone over one 12 month period. As it may come to pass, 2017 may be worse – and we’re still two months away from it being over.
But as a reminder of the artist, the musician who was responsible for so many hits and so much unforgettable music, here is a concert featuring Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, in concert from San Francisco and broadcast over KSAN-FM in April of 1977.
Take an hour off and just not think about anything for a bit. And give a thanks for all the amazing moments and all the incredible sounds – he was part of the soundtrack of our lives, and he’ll always be remembered that way.
Thank you Tom, from the bottom of our hearts.