As you’ve no doubt heard by now, legendary American musician Tom Petty died yesterday evening at the age of 66 after suffering a heart attack in his Malibu, CA home. He and The Heartbreakers had just wrapped up their extensive 40th anniversary tour one week prior with a typically impressive three-night run at The Hollywood Bowl culminating on Monday, September 25th. At the time, the last of three Hollywood Bowl shows felt appropriately emotional as the graceful culmination of the band’s career milestone. However, with the news of Petty’s passing, the September 25th performance has taken on an extra layer of historical significance–asTom Petty’s final curtain call.
Petty’s death came as a shock to his family, friends, and fans alike. Despite his publicly recognized past struggles with drug abuse, Petty had been on the straight-and-narrow path for some time. He was reportedly in good health prior to the cardiac episode that claimed his life.
The surprise at the sudden nature of his death is understandable. By all publicly apparent factors, Petty was striving at the time of his death. He had experienced spike in popularity and output over the last several years. This decade has been one of the most successful of Petty’s long and storied career. Mojo, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 2010 album, peaked at #2 on the Billboard charts, at that time making their highest-charting record ever. They then broke that record again with 2014’s Hypnotic Eye, whose #1 debut on the Billboard 200 made it Petty’s first ever chart-topping album. Then there’s Mudcrutch, Petty’s long-dormant former band from the early ’70’s who had initially reunited for an eponymous 2007 studio debut LP. Last year, Tom once again got the band back together to record, release, and tour behind their second critically-acclaimed studio album, 2.
All the while, Petty remained active on a near constant basis, gigging extensively, performing at high-profile festivals like Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Mountain Jam, and more, and continuing to run down the dream he’d been living since the 70’s.
As the music world begins to process the sudden passing of one of its longest-tenured, brightest stars, you can begin to say goodbye by reliving Tom Petty’s final performance through the emotional videos below:
“I Won’t Back Down” (via YouTube user Nini McNean):
“Free Fallin'” (via YouTube user Kim Roberts):
“Breakdown” & “Don’t Come Around Here No More“ (via YouTube user Kim Roberts):
“You Wreck Me” & “American Girl” via YouTube user Kim Roberts:
You can also listen to full audio of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ 9/25/17 performance at the Hollywood Bowl–Tom Petty’s final live show–below via YouTube user Paradise Lost Paradise Found 2:
[Cover photo via Instagram user @therealmarklutzkerofficial]