I suppose in the wake of the senseless slaughter that happened in Las Vegas it is probably not very important to note that about the very same time as the horror was unfolding in Vegas that one of the true greats of Rock music Tom Petty, was passing away at a hospital in LA with heart failure.
Tom Petty was one of my all time favourites and a rock great. I thought that my chance to see him live had passed but only a couple of years ago myself and a friend travelled to see him live at the O2 (as it was at the time) in Dublin and he certainly did not disappoint. It was one of the best live gigs I was ever at.
In a lot of cases these older rockers lose a lot of their charisma and enthusiasm as they get older. Not in this case as Tom and his fantastic band The Heartbreakers belted out hit after hit. It was a truly magical night.
Tom Petty may not have been in the same league as the musical giants like Michael Jackson, Bowie or Prince, but such was his status among his fellow musicians that he, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and George Harisson formed The Travelling Wilbury’s in the late 80’s, and if it wasn’t for the death of Roy Orbison they could have been one of the biggest groups in history. They made two brilliant albums before the band broke up.
He was the ultimate cool dude and his music will definitely stand the test of time. “Running Down a Dream, Learning to Fly, Free Fallin, The Last DJ and many great songs with the Travelling Wilbury’s will be his legacy after a 40 year career and an eventful life too.
I am so glad that I got to see him live and he joins the other musical greats who have passed away in recent years. In my book he is up there with the greatest there has been.
May He Rest in Peace.
(Article for The Roscommon People)