R.I.P. Tom Petty

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Photograph: Jerod Harris/Getty Photos

Tom Petty—the influential singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who achieved nice success each as a solo artist and along with his band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers—has died. Petty was rushed to the hospital late final night time after being discovered unconscious and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu dwelling; he was taken to the UCLA Santa Monica hospital, the place he was taken off life assist after it was confirmed that he had no mind exercise, in keeping with TMZ. Information of Petty’s loss of life was reported shortly thereafter by CBS, then retracted after the LAPD denied that it had confirmed Petty’s loss of life, inflicting widespread confusion.

A number of hours later, Petty’s supervisor Tony Dimitriades launched an announcement printed within the Los Angeles Instances. It reads: “On behalf of the Tom Petty household, we’re devastated to announce the premature loss of life of of our father, husband, brother, chief and buddy Tom Petty. He suffered cardiac arrest at his dwelling in Malibu within the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Heart however couldn’t be revived. He died peacefully at eight:40 p.m. PT surrounded by household, his bandmates and buddies.” Petty was 66.

Born on October 20, 1950 in Gainesville, Florida, a younger Tom Petty determined to develop into a musician after seeing The Beatles carry out on TV. He confirmed little curiosity at school, and dropped on the age of 17 to co-found the band Mudcrutch alongside guitarist Tom Leadon; Mudcrutch was a staple on the Gainesville music scene, however Petty and the band had greater ambitions. In 1974, the members of Mudcrutch moved en masse to California, solely to interrupt up after the band’s one and solely single on Shelter Data, “Depot Avenue,” flopped.

Primarily based on the energy of that one single, nevertheless, Petty was supplied a solo recording contract with Shelter. After attempting and failing to search out new backing musicians, he recruited his former Mudcrutch bandmates Mike Campbell on guitar and Benmont Tench on keybords, together with bassist Ron Blair and drummer Stan Lynch, to kind a brand new band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The Heartbreakers’ self-titled debut was launched in November 1976, topping out at No. 40 on the Billboard charts. (Satirically, “American Woman,” which appeared on the album, would go on to develop into one in every of Petty’s most iconic hits after it was re-released within the ‘90s.)

The Heartbreakers’ subsequent two albums, You’re Gonna Get It! (1978) and Rattling The Torpedoes (1979), established the group as rock ‘n’ roll heavyweights, significantly after Rattling The Torpedoes reached No. 2 on the charts. It additionally gave Petty the leverage to face as much as the band’s new label, MCA, in 1981, after shedding an extended and costly authorized battle towards the label in 1979. In response to the label’s try to cost the Heartbreakers’ new album at $9.98—a full greenback greater than the common listing value—Petty threatened to both withhold the grasp recordings or name the album Eight Ninety-Eight in protest. Ultimately, the label conceded, and Arduous Guarantees got here out in 1981, spawning the group’s first No. 1 single. “The Ready.” Petty would stay fiercely dedicated to creative freedom and management of his music all through his life.

Quickly after, Petty collaborated with Stevie Nicks on her album Bella Donna (1981), producing a number of tracks on the album and dueting with Nicks on the hit single “Cease Draggin’ My Coronary heart Round.” (“Edge Of Seventeen” was additionally devoted to Petty’s first spouse, Jane.) The ‘80s could be filled with hit songs for Petty, but in addition private acrimony, starting with Blair’s departure from the Heartbreakers in 1982. He was changed with Howie Epstein, and the Heartbreakers collaborated with producers Dave Stewart, Robby Robertson, and Jimmy Iovine for Southern Accents (1985). That album spawned the basic “Don’t Come Round Right here No Extra,” whose Alice In Wonderland-themed video turned an MTV staple.

In 1986, the Heartbreakers went on tour with Bob Dylan, a tour that led to the formation of the Touring Wilburys—a supergroup composed of Petty, Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, and George Harrison—in 1988. The following yr, Petty launched his first solo album, Full Moon Fever, a smash hit that spawned three of Petty’s most enduring songs, “Free Fallin,’” “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” and “I Gained’t Again Down.” He remained loyal to his bands, although, releasing Quantity three with the Touring Wilburys in 1990 and Into The Nice Huge Open with the Heartbreakers in 1991. Across the similar time, Petty introduced that he had brokered a cope with Warner Bros. and could be leaving MCA, however not earlier than leaving the label one hell of a goodbye current: The Heartbreakers’ wildly profitable 1993 Best Hits album, steadily cited as among the best greatest-hits information of all time.

Petty’s first album for Warner Bros. was 1994’s Wildflowers, one other creative triumph that coincided with a troublesome interval in Petty’s private life. He and his spouse Jane divorced in 1996 after 22 years of marriage, after which Petty descended into heroin habit. He continued to tour and document with the Heartbreakers all through these darkish years, and by 2002 Petty had kicked heroin and married Dana York, who he met in 1991 however didn’t begin relationship till 1996, when each had divorced their subsequent spouses. (He additionally appeared on The Simpsons in 2002, parodying himself on the episode “How I Spent My Strummer Trip.” That gig presaged his most important TV function, because the voice of “Fortunate” on King Of The Hill from 2004 to 2009.)

In 2006, the Heartbreakers launched into a 30th anniversary tour; that very same yr Petty launched an album recorded with Jeff Lynne, Freeway Companion, which reached No. four on the Billboard charts. Forty years after it was first fashioned again in 1967, Mudcrutch reunited in 2007, releasing its first full-length album in 2008. As at all times, Petty continued to play with the Heartbreakers all through the final decade of his life; his final album with the band was 2014’s Hypnotic Eye, additionally their first document to hit No. 1. The Heartbreakers introduced their 40th anniversary tour final yr, and toured the U.S. all through this spring and summer time; Petty’s closing present, the final date of a three-night run on the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, happened only one week in the past on September 25.

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