Tom Petty died the other day in his house in Malibu, a long way in time and space from his origin in Gainesville Florida .Well actually he had succumbed to cardiac arrest in his Californian home but pronounced dead the next day, October 2 in a hospital. We the public were still reeling from the tragedy the day before in Las Vegas where a gun man assassinated 59 of our concert going brethren. Then the other confusing news, Tom died, then he was placed on life support, ultimately it was reported Tom Petty left us, physically.
As typically done when a recording artist of some renown passes the radio stations play a few of his/her/ their hits. Even the 11 0’clock news plays a “going to commercial break” with a sound bite of the musician’s work. Record sales go through the roof, as noted in Tom’s case by VVN MUSIC NEWS reporting of AMAZON’S TOP SELLING ALBUMS by VETERAN ARTISTS listing 14 of the top 20 belonging to Tom solo, Heartbreakers,and/or Traveling Wilburys, and better yet, of the Top Ten Tom has the Top 9 spots only to be bested at 10 to Shania Twain’s new release.
After the reports on the shooting in Las Vegas and the reports on Tom Petty’s passing I was thinking about both incidents and the 60 folks (59+1) who passed away in a short period of time. Some were smiling , surrounded by friends, family and fellow concert audience members, the daisy dukes and cowboy boots crowd before a few seconds later tragedy struck for no apparent reason. One can not fathom how or why but it puts a fear in my heart. Those poor souls silenced.
Then Tom Petty dies.
A few nights later SNL at it’s 10PM re-run spot played the November 10, 1979 show starring BUCK HENRY and featuring “musical guests” Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers performing “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That”. I sit in front of the screen silently, but with a slight smile, nodding, yeah, Tom.
The 11 O’Clock nightly news is over and it’s time for SNL. Me, I’m expecting ALEC BALDWIN as #45 throwing rolls of paper towels into the audience. Nope, not tonight America. Jason Aldean, the performer who graced the stage when the gunman hit Las Vegas was the cold opener of Sat Night Live this week and after a heart wrenching intro he led the band with Tom Petty’s I WON’T BACK DOWN. Again, I sat at the screen silently but without a smile. God Bless Us All.