Tom Petty was found in his home after a cardiac incident and rushed to the hospital
Sunday, October 1, 2017, Tom Petty suffered cardiac arrest in his Malibu home. He had been through a great deal in his life and was ready to slow down. After he was found and brought to the hospital, Petty was placed on life support with a do not resuscitate order. Because doctors found no brain activity, he was taken off life support, and he peacefully passed on Monday, October 2, 2017.
Tom Petty grew up in Gainsville, Florida in 1950. He gained inspiration after visiting the set of an Elvis Presley movie. Following his visit, his father bought him a guitar, and he never let it go. With guitar in hand and a voice unmatched, Petty’s style and talent didn’t end with his musical abilities. Creatively writing lyrics and composing songs made his genuine talent. He knew it, and everyone around him knew it.
In fact, the record companies tried time and again to exploit his talent, but Petty wouldn’t allow it. Bankruptcy followed a legal battle. It was the only way out of a contract that would tie him up for the rest of his life. However, the bankruptcy set a precedent for other musicians tied up with dirty record contracts. MCI tried negotiations with Petty, and they eventually came to a compromise.
Records and tours launched Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to fame and fortune
Petty began playing music in Gainsville with a group called Mudcrutch. Mudcrutch saturated their audiences and began to outgrow their live performances. Setting out for Los Angeles to record a demo, the group left Gainesville in their past along with the name Mudcrutch.
Petty wanted to record a solo album but didn’t like the fill-in musicians. He found it more comfortable to play with his band. Ron Blair, Stan Lynche, Benmont Trench and Mike Campbell became the Heartbreakers. They all enjoyed playing together, and the sound was great. They produced hits, and the albums and tours kept coming.
Tom Petty had the privilege to collaborate with many other artists like Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dillan, Stevie Nicks and more. He sang with the Traveling Wilburys and wrote countless hits.
Still Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were as vulnerable to drugs and the hard rock lifestyle as any other band. They experienced their share of drug addiction, people of bad influence but somehow managed to survive. Petty admitted himself at one point to a detox facility to come down from Heroin. He now claims he owes his life to his wife of 16 years, Dana York. He and Dana never had children together.
Petty was married twice. His first wife, Jane Benyo gave him two daughters. Their divorce was the push over the edge which landed his addiction to Heroin. After his recovery, he poured his pain and heart into the next album Echo.
It was after Echo that the music industry landed total control over music and musicians. The focus on profit killed the muse. Touring for Petty and the Heartbreakers became a bigger sell than their albums. This is a sign that people still wanted to hear good music even though the industry was crushing.
In 2016 Petty released another album. This time the band did it for a reconnect, not for the money. Hypnotic Eye was their first Number 1 album, and they supported it with a tour around the US. After the tour Petty confessed: “It’s very likely we’ll keep playing, but will we take on 50 shows in one tour? I don’t think so. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I thought this might be the last big one. We’re all on the backside of our sixties. I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road. This tour will take me away for four months. With the little kid, that’s a lot of time.”
Tom Petty will be missed. His contribution to an age of Rock and Roll certainly has rocked the world.