Music legend Tom Petty dead at 66


Bryce Wheaton

I remember the first time I heard Free Fallin’ on the radio as a kid. I didn’t know who sang it or what the lyrics meant but what I did know is that I wanted to hear more. I begged my mom, “can we please listen to that free fallin’ song again? But at a time where YouTube didn’t exist, sadly, I would have to wait until another one of his songs came on the radio. That is until my mom went and purchased Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers greatest hits CD for me shortly after and I loved every song. I played the record over and over again until it was worn out. Then I bought another copy.

I can’t begin to count the number of times that I’ve been on a long drive and Tom Petty would be blaring on my cd player, me singing along in the car as the miles melted away. I’d throw in the greatest hits CD, and from the opening song (American Girl) my foot would be tappin’ and my fingers snappin’. Some music just has the ability to make your troubles disappear for a while. Tom Petty’s music definitely has the ability to do that. His music could make a bad day good and a good day even better.

Tom passed away on October 2, 2017 at the age of 66 due to cardiac arrest. When the news first broke of his death, I was deeply saddened. Saddened that I would never get the chance to see him perform live. Saddened at the fact that there aren’t many iconic rock stars left. And saddened by the fact that the world lost such an amazing artist and person. The music that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers made over their amazing career was groundbreaking and remains timeless. Try to find someone who has never heard the song “Free Fallin,’” or “American Girl,” or “I won’t back Down.” If you do find someone who hasn’t heard at least one of those songs, send them my way. I will be happy to educate them.

I’m a lover of classic rock n’ roll so a lot of my favorite artists have passed on. Some of them many years ago. Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin are a few of my favorites who passed on before I was born. But since I’ve been alive, the world has lost so many talented artists. Kurt Cobain, Bradley Nowell, Layne Staley, Scott Weiland, Chris Cornell, Prince, and Chester Bennington are just a few of my favorite artists that come to mind. Mr. Petty’s death stung just as bad as all the others. Rock n’ roll will never be the same without you Tom. Thank you for all the wonderful music and memories. RIP.