Former Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan recalls awarding Petty the Key of the City in 2006 when he came back for a 30 year anniversary concert tour. The tributes rolled in through the night and into Tuesday, including tweets from old friends and colleagues like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Mick Jagger.
Courtney Love, Talib Kweli, Kid Rock, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Stanley and Lin-Manuel Miranda were among scores of fans posting remembrances on Twitter, where Petty was the top worldwide trending topic Monday afternoon. It's left her to ruminate on some of his techniques. "A great songwriter and performer, whenever we saw each other, it was like running into a long lost brother", he said.
"Simplicity is the most challenging ... the heart speaks through simplicity".
Tom Petty got a little acoustic Jersey love from the swoon-master himself, Jon Bon Jovi.
His biggest hit was "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around", a duet with Stevie Nicks that reached No. 3 in 1981. After Southern Accents and its 1987 follow-up, Let Me Up (I've Had Enough), were both greeted with lukewarm reception, Petty bounced back with the 5x platinum Full Moon Fever in 1989, after most had already considered his career dead.
"He walked that walk and defied the system". Many people are listening to them again today following news of Petty's death last night at the age of 66.
"It reminds you of your mortality", he added.
A couple of Petty memories: When Stereophile was located in Santa Fe, NM, Heartbreakers bassist Howie Epstein (who'd replaced Ron Blair in 1982) and his then-girlfriend, singer and June Carter Cash progeny Carlene Carter, lived north of town.
The world of music went into mourning after it was reported that Tom Petty had passed away. She said he embodied the Gainesville culture. There seemed to be no doubt the band would easily be able to surpass that milestone.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers sold some 80 million records since breaking through in the 1970s. We will miss you.
I didn't have to do much to listen to some Petty music Monday evening.
And Bryan Adams summed up his feelings with a simple message: "RIP Tom Petty". Hits such as American Girl, Free Fallin' (made famous for a later generation by Tom Cruise in movie Jerry Maguire) and I Won't Back Down are evergreen, classic tunes with deep hearts - the kind that can transport you from a London bus to the wide highways of the USA with the first strum of their opening chords.