RIP Tom Petty
The much-loved songwriter and record producer died yesterday (2 October) evening, having suffered a cardiac arrest early in the morning
Today the world of music remembers one of its most treasured and gifted artists, after Tom Petty suffered a fatal cardiac arrest last night (2 October). Petty died at the University of California-Los Angeles’ Santa Monica hospital. He was 66.
Born in Gainesville, Florida, U.S. on 20 October 20, 1950, Petty first became interested in music, specifically rock and roll, when at age ten he met Elvis Presley. He seemed destined for a successful career in music even in the formative stages of his education, with one of his earliest guitarists being future Eagles guitarist Don Felder.
Petty formed his first band, The Epics (later Mudcrutch) at the close of the swinging 60s. The group released only one single, Depot Street, until 2008, when they released their self-titled debut album. Mudcrutch released their sophomore LP, 2, in 2016. The most significant detail about the band was that they featured Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, each of whom would later join Petty in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
It was as the frontman, lead singer and guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, that Petty really began his career as a songwriter of enduring charm and popularity. The group released their eponymous debut album in 1976. They went on to release a further twelve studio LPs, seven of which made it into top 10 of US Billboard 200, with the last of these, 2014s Hypnotic Eye, making it to No 1 on that same chart.
Petty was also a member of George Harrison’s supergroup, the Traveling Wilburys, which featured Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. The group released two albums, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 (1988) and Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 (1990). Petty also released three solo albums.
Petty’s death brings a sad end to a glittering five decade career in the music industry, one which saw the beloved songwriter sell over 80 million records worldwide. Our thoughts are with Tom Petty’s friends, family, and loved ones.