RIP: Tom Petty, 1950-2017

Tom Petty at SPAC, 8/27/2010 by Martin Benjamin
Tom Petty at SPAC, 8/27/2010. Photo by Martin Benjamin

Photographs by Martin Benjamin, Andrzej Pilarczyk

Tom Petty suffered a full cardiac arrest and was found unconscious and not breathing in his Malibu home on Sunday night (October 1). He was taken to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital and put on life support. He died on Monday night at age 66.

The singer-guitarist-songwriter and bandleader of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers recorded such hits as “American Girl,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” “Breakdown,” “Listen to Her Heart,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Refugee” and more. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Petty was also a successful solo artist and a member of the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.

Petty & the Heartbreakers played the first rock concert at the Knickerbocker Arena (now the Times Union Center) on February 3, 1990, and were a regular headliners at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center throughout the years. His last Greater Nippertown performance was as a headliner at Mountain Jam in June.

Tom Petty’s obituary by Jon Pareles at The New York Times

Tom Petty, 9/21/91 by Martin Benjamin
Tom Petty, 9/21/91. Photo by Martin Benjamin

Tom Petty
Tom Petty @ SPAC, 8/27/10

  1. Stan Johnson says

    From the first time I saw Tom and the Heartbreakers in 1980 at Carrowinds Park on the NC/SC border to the last at SPAC, Tom never failed to get the crowd rockin’. Oddly enough, the most vivid memory is when it rained so hard one year at SPAC that we couldn’t even see the stage from the lawn. He said something like, “It raining again. Must be Saratoga!”

  2. Greg says

    Yeah, he had quite a reputation for bringin’ the rain at SPAC. It got to the point that you could use his concerts as a weather forecast. “Oh, Petty’s playing in town tonight? I’d better grab an umbrella…”

  3. Mike Leonard says

    Louisiana Rain was dedicated to SPAC in the very early 80’s!

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