When I was young I'd watch VH1 and MTV almost every morning. They played music videos back then, and Tom Petty was on all the time. His song Mary Jane's Last Dance was on as often as anything, and I have to admit the music video freaked me right out. But it was one of the first great songs I had the chance to listen to over and over, and by the time I was a teenager Tom Petty's catalog was already extremely familiar to me - From Damn the Torpedoes with the Heartbreakers to Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers.
Any songwriter from the past couple of decades has more than likely taken something from Tom Petty. And he seems like the guy who'd want you to learn from him. Could you imagine Tom Petty suing someone over copying one of his songs? He wouldn't. He had too many great ones to care, and if anything he wouldn't want to take someone else down. That is so rare, believe me, and it's something we all should learn from.
In closing, we've lost one of the few we'll never replace, and one of the last great Classic Rock songwriters. Sure, there are many left, but few with the integrity of Tom Petty. If MMOC has played roughly 1,000 shows together, I'd guess we've played at least one Tom Petty song at over 950 of them.
We'll miss you, Tom. Thanks for the music.
P.S. Check out the Traveling Wilburys if you haven't had a chance yet - Tom Petty, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Oribson and Jeff Lynne in one band!