On October second, generations of Tom Petty fans were shocked to hear that the genre-defining rockstar had been rushed to the hospital, unconscious and in full cardiac arrest. Soon afterward, The Rolling Stone announced that Petty had passed away. Countless fans took the time to write personalized status updates on what Tom Petty and his music had meant to them.
“This one hit me hard,” wrote Dan Schultz, a contractor from Louisiana who’s been listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers since they released their first album in 1976. “It’s like losing David Bowie all over again. How do you even deal with that?”
After several hours, publications began redacting their previous statements, apologizing for reporting false news of Petty’s death. He was still in critical condition at the time of the initial reports, but he did pass away later that night.
“Somehow, that made it even worse,” said Facebook user Nicole Stevens. “I’d already been shocked by countless posts saying things like, ‘RIP Tom – Mary Jane’s Last Dance is my jam.’ I mean, obviously I didn’t know him personally, but when a truly talented musician puts their heart on their sleeves the way Tom Petty did, you feel like you do know them, in a way. It sucks to have that little piece of hope, and then have it taken away again.”
As a Petty fan myself, I’ve been finding that the best way to deal with his passing is to celebrate his life through his music. There’s nothing like driving down the interstate with the volume cranked up to 11 while you sing along to Don’t Do Me Like That.
There’s a universal appeal to Tom Petty’s music which really speaks to his songwriting ability. His lyrics are vague enough to apply to most tough situation in your life, but specific enough that you feel like he’s speaking directly to you when you listen to them. Having a rough time? Blast I Won’t Back Down and belt it out at the top of your lungs. Whether you’re dealing with the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or that pesky seasonal affective disorder that just keeps coming back as the days grow longer, you can stand your ground and get through the day.
Whatever your favorite Petty song is – Learning to Fly, Free Fallin’, American Girl, or his countless other hits and B-sides, I’ll bet it’s because you’re able to listen to it and think back to a time when it helped you get through a difficult time in your life.
So do yourself a favor – the next time you’re feeling down about the latest in memoriam post somebody shares on Facebook (I imagine we’ll be seeing them for weeks to come), blast some Tom Petty and get lost in the music. It’s scientifically proven to raise your mood by at least thirty percent.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.