Legendary Rock Star Tom Petty Dead at 66

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed at Xcel Energy Center on June 3

After initial conflicting reports and mass confusion, Tom Petty's long-term manager has officially confirmed the rock legend's death at age 66-years-old. The music focused squarely on the songs themselves: Petty's singing is the center of our attention. It was just one of the vivid tunes Petty wrote and recorded years after many in his position would've stopped searching for inspiration.

Throughout the late 70's, 80's and into the 90's, Petty and his Heartbreakers brought out album after album, attaining more progress than others at that time.

Their hits included "American girl", "Refugee", "Free Fallin'" and "I won't back down". Full Moon Fever went on to sell more than five million copies in the USA, according to the RIAA. "There is a reference to him in everything I've ever written".

Petty had multiple platinum and gold records as the lead singer of his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and was nominated for 18 Grammys.

Everyone there, including myself, have Tom Petty to thank for that memory. Petty made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, and he returned to the Rock Hall in 2004 for that remarkable "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" performance that you probably last watched when Prince died past year.

In 1989, Petty made for a readily adaptable character in the animated music video for his band's hit "Runnin' Down the Dream", as the frontman hurtles through a surreal black-and-white world inspired by Winsor McCay's classic comic strip, "Little Nemo in Slumberland".

Yet if Petty burned bright from the beginning, he maintained a consistency over the next couple of decades that made him the envy of even his idols - several of whom, including Bob Dylan and George Harrison, he joined in the late-'80s supergroup the Travelling Wilburys. "I think it does have an underlying theme of time and what it does to you". On December 6, 2005, Petty received the award during the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

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A fan near the stage for that final concert at the Hollywood Bowl captured Petty's last two songs, Rolling Stone said.

"He just wrote these kind of songs that many people could just see themselves in them", Zanes said.

The rock star's music has since flooded the charts, with his 1993 compilation album, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers Greatest Hits, shooting straight to number one. I love "One Story Town", "Deliver Me", and "You Got Lucky", the subject of the Heartbreakers' first major video.

Petty's influence was so broad and far-reaching as to be rendered slightly invisible, in an odd way: Any bar band can sound like him, though none can do it as well as him.

In the end, Tom Petty found himself satisfied with his body of work-"the soundtrack to his life", as he told Esquire in 2006, taking note of his long and winding journey to success. Petty loved that. He liked knowing another man out there who went to the same church.

"I'm mostly just a reefer guy", he says.

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