RIP Tom Petty (?)

ETA: I’ve gotten several comments that Tom Petty might still be alive, and right now I don’t know what to believe. ABC News says he’s still alive and that his status is “unknown.” CSB News says they’re hearing “conflicting reports.” SPIN magazine says he’s “clinging to life.” I saw several reports this afternoon that said that he died last night, based on reports given by the Los Angeles Police Department, but the LAPD says they cannot confirm that Tom has died. So, at this point, it’s anybody’s guess. If he has, in fact, died, he’s probably sitting in Heaven’s waiting room laughing at all of us. So, you can look at this as an early “Two For Tuesday” until further notice. Sorry for the confusion.

I’ve been writing blog entries this afternoon and just stopped to check my newsfeeds, and learned the sad news that Tom Petty, of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and The Traveling Wilburys, died this afternoon at UCLA Santa Monica Hopital at the age of 66.

The best way to honor his memory is with a couple of his songs. First, from 1989’s Full Moon Fever, “Runnin’ Down A Dream.” Love the cartoon in this video.

Then, from his work with The Traveling Wilburys, “End Of The Line.”

Godspeed, Tom. Say hello to Roy and George.

34 thoughts on “RIP Tom Petty (?)

  1. RIP Tom Petty – way too young, with lots of great music left in him.
    He was just starting to hit big when I moved to Silicon Valley to take my first design job in 1978. I felt like he and I got started in our respective fields at the same time. Loved his music – performed Don’t Do Me Like That onstage, enjoyed playing Benmont Tench’s keyboard parts and singing backup.

    It’s just a huge loss on this terrible day for so many.


  2. Hi John,
    I too posted a tribute post to Tom Petty after hearing about his death. And then I read comments about the conflicting news. Now that seems to be in question so I have updated my original post with question marks in the headline and an update to the latest report that I could find from the NYTimes. Not sure of his condition but from all reports, it appears to be grim.
    How tragic that the LAPD erroneously released unconfirmed information!
    For sure, many are thinking about TP tonight. And the Las Vegas victims and their families. A horrible day all around…

    Michele at Angels Bark


      1. No, it shouldn’t. The sources I had read said that the LAPD had indicated Tom had died, and now they’re backing away from that. My guess is that one of the cops that was at his house yesterday told someone in the press and the reporter put it in the paper that “the LAPD said…” and they didn’t. Someone’s in big trouble…


  3. It’s weird to think that 3 of the 4 Wilburys are gone. Wait, yes, I know there is nothing known yet about Tom Petty but it doesn’t sound good at all. It is such a shame to hear about him and so many that are not really that old but have suffered major medical setbacks or have died. The hard living must have been a reason.


    1. Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne are the last two. Roy Orbison died before that video was made. He’s represented by the guitar on the rocker. And, of course George and now Tom. What I heard was they had taken Tom off life support, generally meaning they expect him to go soon. I just can’t believe they reported him dead when he wasn’t.


  4. Hi John – it’s so sad about Tom … I expect it’s the way the communication machine works … not intending to cause confusion – but the outcome as happened was expected. The Travelling Willburys were a delightful insightful band … all the best – Hilary


    1. It would have been a real disaster for the media if Tom had somehow recovered. Well, he didn’t, sadly, and nevertheless the news folks in this nation look stupid.

      The Wilburys were the perfect combination of great classic rock and humor. All of them were a bit crazy. Maybe that’s why it worked so well. It was apparent from the start they were good friends, and they probably were just fooling around, liked what they heard, and made it a real thing.


  5. We just recently watched a documentary about Tom Petty on Netflix. It’s so hard to see our contemporaries age.
    Petty, like Dylan, Orbison, Lynne, and my ❤️ George Harrison came back with The Traveling Wilburys, and weren’t they so good!
    Wonderful that the music lives on.


    1. The Wilburys turned out some great music, both with and without Orbison, and Petty was a huge part of their sound. Both their albums took a classic sound and updated it, with a good dose of humor added in. Music and humor just go together like that, you know?


    1. I think a young reporter heard a cop say “he’s dead” and called his boss to say “stop the presses! Tom Petty’s dead!” and it just snowballed from there. It’s not as though there wasn’ anything else going on yesterday…

      I think the level of professionalism among journalists in this country has declined considerably since the Internet became a reality.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. And if it weren’t for the First Amendment issues, I’d agree. I’d rather the news business police itself and come up with a review process when something like that happens and a way to discipline reporters and editors for allowing things like that to happen.


  6. From what I’ve heard the confusion arose when paramedics arrived to find Tom Petty dead. Unless someone is terminally ill and under the care of Hospice only a doctor can pronounce death. So the paramedics did everything they could, the docs at the hospital did everything they could, and Tom Petty was not legally declared dead until brain death was proven. That’s not usually the way it goes. Most people would have been declared DOA at the hospital. Such a huge loss. Tom Petty songs will always remind me of traveling with my eldest when he was a little boy. “Running Down a Dream” became “Running Down the Drain”, Freefalling” became “Three Fouring” (He was 3 1/2). It’s beginning to feel like soon there’s going to be no one left to sing the music I love, the music of my memories!


    1. I hope you explained to your son that “Free Falling” is in 4/4, not 3/4…

      With the availability of recorded music, the artists will live on into eternity. True, they won’t be around to make new music, but the way things change, you’ll probably see new artists who play the same type of music. Maybe not as good, but with the same spirit. Tom Petty’s music, and the music of other classic-rock artists, has the ability to inspire.


You can use Markdown in your comments. Thanks for your comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s