Tom Petty dead at 66 | Stories behind 7 songs

Tom Petty net worth

GETTYTom Petty news How much was singer famous for songs like Free Fallin worth

Monday saw the unfortunate loss of one of the most influential musicians of the 80s and 90s, rock legend Tom Petty, who passed away at 66.

"He died peacefully at 8.40pm [4.40am BST] surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends". YouTube user Kim Roberts caught footage of the band's encore, the hit songs "You Wreck Me" and "American Girl".

Petty's music had been that way before punk or new wave began to hit the big time, as is clear on the Heartbreaker's debut album from 1976.

On top of that, nearly one in five songs on the top 100 singles chart - 19 in total - were by Petty and his band. "Just wild", said Petty, who at one point showed a little fe-rocity when he hung his guitar by its strap from his neck while he kicked it in time to the music. "We were doing a run at the Roxie in L.A. And he called me in my room at 3:00 in the morning and we went out to his house". "We are one. I love you dad your songs are dreams manifested". And it's that combination of the material that he wrote and how he brought it to his band that makes him singular. I think it irked my parents, who are devoutly Catholic, but I was at the age where irking your parents was its own form of religion. "I am heartbroken at his passing, and my deep sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones".

Petty's music made an indelible mark on American pop culture, frequently appearing in the soundtracks of movies and TV. "This man delivered a wealth of great songs to his fans and to the world and that is something to celebrate." - rocker Alice Cooper, on Twitter. He never put himself on a different level from his fans with his lyrics, but rather told stories that were all- encompassing that millions could relate to.

"You people are just wild, aren't you?" He sank into heroin addiction in the '90s, though we only know the details of that from a more recent biography by Warren Zanes. "He talked about it as if it was still close to him", Zanes said. I distinctly remember the time I picked up Long After Dark, which was probably the one Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album I didn't have in my collection.

The frontman for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and member of 1980s powerhouse Traveling Wilburys (along with a solid solo career) also wrote many a song referencing reefer during a music career that spanned more than four decades. When you listen to his music or if you were lucky enough to have seen him, you could instantly see the authenticity.

CBS News issued a statement later Monday maintaining that it "reported information obtained officially from the LAPD about Tom Petty". He worked with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

Editor's note: John Covach is director of the University of Rochester's Institute for Popular Music and a professor of music at Rochester and the Eastman School of Music. That's the kind of guy he was. "Maybe it would be one of my favorites if it hadn't become this huge anthem", he said, "but I'm grateful that people like it".

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