Musicians mourn 'hero' Tom Petty: 'This is unbearable'

Kelly Massey
October 4, 2017

Rock icon Tom Petty's sudden death on Monday has fans stunned, particularly those fans who saw him and his band, the Heartbreakers, end a 40th anniversary tour just a week before he died.

The style of rock Petty pioneered wasn't around for music to exploit.

Heartland rock is characterised by a straightforward musical style, and the conviction that rock music has a larger, social objective beyond just entertainment.

The frontman of The Heartbreakers Petty indented up three Grammy wins and 18 nominations and was enlisted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Zanes told "CBS This Morning" he first met the singer along with his own band as a teenager and was a rabid fan of Petty.

Even though the band gained regional popularity, it was unable to attract a mainstream audience.

Rolling Stone reported that Petty's final concert on September 25 was the culmination of a 53-date tour that kicked off in April.

The broke into the limelight In 1977 with the song "Breakdown".

There was no looking back after that.

The band released its third album "Damn the Torpedoes" in 1979 which included the breakthrough hit "Refugee".

After a string of further albums with the Heartbreakers, Petty teamed up with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison to record as The Traveling Wilburys; the supergroup's first album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, was released in 1988 and resulted in Petty's first Grammy Award.

Petty and his longtime band mates first came together in the early 1970s in their hometown of Gainesville, Florida. When "Congratulations" came on, Springsteen raised his arms to the heavens and said, "You can take me now!" He beat me so bad that I was covered in raised welts, from my head to my toes. "I really didn't know, you know, I did that in the middle of... You can lay down and let the tragedy overwhelm you, or you can fly above it and I think that's sort of what I'm trying to say in that song". He met a woman named Jane Benyo in 1974, when he was 24.

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The couple's 22-year wedding was allegedly replete with mental illness, and drug use.

"I'm thinking it may be the last trip around the country", Petty told Rolling Stone a year ago. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. I was into the jittery, propulsive, gotta-go-right-now feeling of those early songs.

The couple filed for divorce in 1996. My high school friends and I used to roll down all the windows and drive around with our feet hanging out listening to "Wildflowers" on repeat as the sun kissed our toes. My parents' marriage was hell.

In a 2015 biography, for which Petty collaborated with author and friend Warren Zanes, the rocker revealed a bout with heroin addiction in the 1990s and told of a May 1987 arson fire that destroyed his former home in Encino.

He married his second wife Dana in 2001, ten years after meeting her at one of his concerts. They Wednesday in 2001, 10 years after they met.

Interviews with CNN showed a tired Petty strung out on his addiction to heroin.

I don't want it all anymore.

What I believe defines a great artist is someone whose work brings true emotion, making some unnecessary thing invaluable to those that were affected by it. His daughter, AnnaKim Violette, grieved the loss of her father.

Petty's stardom and his charisma aged like wine; it got brilliant, as he acknowledged in 2014 that old age wasn't going to slow him down.

"You know what's worth spending time on and what's not".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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