At the age of 66, with 10 top ten singles, 3 Grammys, 3 MTV awards, 68 radio singles, and more fan favourites than we can mention, 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Tom Petty has passed away.
As fans, thereviewsarein team is sad and feeling that thing you don’t know you’re going to feel when an artist dies – until you’re feeling it. Tom Petty was a constant. As Dave Grohl said in the fantastic documentary, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down A Dream, “Well I’ve always sort of considered them an institution. You know, they’re one of those bands that just have to be… they just have to be.” And while we won’t be able to geek out over a new tour announcement or an album of new songs that sound like classics from the moment you first hear them, Tom Petty will always be.
To explain the influence of an artist like Tom Petty is probably impossible. From rock and rollers to country stars, there are hundreds of singers and songwriters and musicians who look up to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and everything that they accomplished in their long and storied career. In that same documentary, the great Stevie Nicks explains that in 1978 she was a big fan, and that if Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had asked, she would have left Fleetwood Mac to join the band. That’s one year after the release of Rumours at the height, and still, the Tom Petty influence was that strong.
At live concerts over the years we have all heard Tom Petty covers ringing through the speakers. This year, at Boots & Hearts 2017, we heard Midland, Eli Young, and Love & Theft all play Petty songs, and I promise you that I sang along to Runnin’ Down A Dream, Learning To Fly, and Free Fallin’. Those covers aren’t going to stop. We aren’t going to hear less Tom Petty. Hell, we hope that we’re going to hear more of it. And not just because we’re going to be super nostalgic, but because we love the music and it deserves to be heard.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had their first top 40 hit in 1977 (Breakdown) and their last in 2010 (I Should Have Known It), and in between and after, they peppered the charts, and toured the world, and released 13 studio albums.
There aren’t enough words to explain the sadness that Tom Petty’s death has created. There aren’t enough words to explain the power and impact of his music. And there aren’t enough words to express our sympathy to the family, friends, and fans of Tom Petty who are feeling the loss and pain that comes with this.
No man is perfect, but the music that Tom Petty shared with the world and the legacy that he created are wonderful and beautiful and we are all better for it.
To try and share a little bit of what we loved about Tom Petty’s music, Trish ranked her top 10 tracks and we put them on a Spotify list. Hit play and turn up the volume. Sing along as they go. And leave a comment telling us which songs would be in your Tom Petty Top 10.
Tom Petty Top 10 Countdown
Like we said off the top, there are more fan favourites than we can mention. Every single one of the tracks on Trish’s top 10 is a certifiable classic hit. And so is this one.