Rock Legend Tom Petty Dies at 66

by The Cowl Editor on October 5, 2017

Arts & Entertainment


Grammy award winning artist, Tom Petty.
Photo courtesy of @tompetty/

by Joe Clancy ’18

A&E Staff

“I wanna free fall out into nothing/ gonna leave this world for a while,/ and I’m free falling.” The world of rock and roll lost another rock legend, Tom Petty, on Monday, October 2 after he suffered a heart attack. He was 66 years young.

Petty started playing music professionally at the age of 17 in 1967. He had always been a huge fan of rock and roll and realized that he wanted to make music his life after seeing The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Petty came into the spotlight in the 1970s, specifically when he and his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released the hit “Breakdown,” in 1976.  Petty’s fame continued to grow  through the late 1970s with hits like “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That.”

In the 1980s, Petty’s career really took off. In 1989, Petty released three massive hits: “Free Fallin’,” “I Won’t Back Down,” and “Running Down a Dream.” “Free Fallin’” went on to reach number seven on the Billboard charts. Petty then went on to join the Traveling Wilburys where he performed with his hero and former Beatle, George Harrison.

Petty also went on to record with drummer for The Beatles, Ringo Starr. In the past 20 years he had put out hits like “Learning to Fly” and even tried out acting. Petty played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2008 and was still touring up until the end—once his music career started, it never stopped. Petty will forever be remembered as, in the words of Rolling Stone, a “dynamic and iconoclastic” rock legend.