Alexis Rearick- Staff Writer
An important icon for classic rock fans has died. The icon known as Tom Petty passed on Oct. 2, 2017, at the age of 66. Fans around the world are upset about the death of the legend, but the legacy he left for his fans was his music, which will live in the hearts of many.
Petty led a band called Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and they have been around for forty years. They performed a special 40th anniversary tour this summer, which would haveran April to November, but the lead singer’s death cancelled future concerts to come.
Petty was born on Oct. 20, 1950, in Gainesville Florida, where his childhood was spent listening to music. Classics he listened to growing up included Elvis Presley, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones who inspired him to become a singer. Once he turned the age of 17, he dropped out of school and formed his band.
He was famous for his CDs, and even his different songs; each had a unique sound, with a variety of styles. Some of his well-known CDs were “Full Moon Fever”, “Wildflowers” and “Damn the Torpedos.” Petty was also known for songs like “Breakdown”, “You Got Lucky”, “Free Fallin’”, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and more, which became iconic classics. While recording many hits, Petty also helped Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac record a single “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”
Petty won several awards with his band, from Grammy awards to MTV Video Music Awards, to Radio Music Awards, to the Billboard Music Award. Petty won a Grammy in 1989 when he was a member of another band, Traveling Wilburys, which was composed of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison, and himself. Petty also won a single Grammy in 1995 for the song “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and the album “Wildflowers”. While in 2009 he won Best Music Video for “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”His other songs and videos have won other awards from 1985, when he won for best special effects for “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, to 1994 where he won for best male video for “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Ohio in 2002. The members of the group included Ron Blair, Mike Campbell, Howie Epstein, Stan Lynch and Benmont Tench. The band also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the year 1999.
Petty’s legacy was the music and his memory to his fans. He died on Oct. 2, 2017, and is still a shock to many. However, to remember him, people can listen to his music, visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and just take time to reflect on the band and all of the beautiful music it gave. It may seem upsetting, but the legacy of music lives in the hearts of many, as they look back on the band that broke so many hearts; Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.