Tom Petty was a key voice of my generation

I’m not young, but every time one of our icons passes, it serves to take me back in time to when the influence those icons bore on me were yet new, and simultaneously, bring me crashing back to the present.

When Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers first burst upon the scene, it was with “Breakdown”, a song that would indelibly etch his band’s style into the conciousness of the rock music world, and one he’d never surrender. As a freshman in high school, I was umbilically attached to our local AOR radio station, where Petty would follow up those inroads with “Refugee”, “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” with the magical Stevie Nicks. Like an indestructable tractor plodding through the corn fields of my youth, Petty’s music wore well-rutted paths in the dusty and impressionable roads of my youthful brain.

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