Some of my greatest childhood memories are simply riding around with my Dad in the car with Tom Petty blaring out of the speakers. A native Floridian, Petty produced feel-good, pop-centered rock, that was as cool as it was original.
Petty’s reign stretched from the late seventies to present day and some of his best friends included some of the world’s greatest rock stars: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Prince, to name a few.
Petty was what I like to call a “relatable rock star”. His songs are timeless, and for some reason never seem to lose their cool, nostalgia, and are just as fun to sing along too now than they were 20 years ago.
It’s no secret that the life of a rock star, as glamorous and wonderful as it appears to be, comes with a unique set a of difficulties. Constant touring, peer pressure, expectations, and the polarizing limelight is enough to drive any person mad.
Over the past few years we’ve lost countless musicians and this one seems very similar to the way we lost Prince. It is now surfacing that Petty ultimately passed from an accidental drug overdose and not from natural causes, as we all assumed when he was pronounced dead October of last year.
Several credible media sources are disclosing details from Petty’s autopsy which include a cocktail of narcotic drugs. Some of the drugs that were in the report were fentanyl, oxycodone, alprazolam, and Ambien.
Petty’s family has come forward and made claims that by all accounts he was not abusing drugs for their euphoric-like nature. Apparently, according to his family, in the midst of touring at the age of 66, Petty was battling crippling pain stemming from a broken hip and the pain was just too much for him to bare. They believe that the pain caused him to take more medication than was prescribed which ultimately took the guitarists life.
The family has acknowledged the current opioid epidemic the country is facing and is hoping that their loved one’s death can maybe help to further open discussion on the topic at hand.
Tom Petty is without a doubt one of my favorite artists of all time and I hate the fact that opiates took the mans life; he deserved better than that, we all do. Whether dealing with internal or external pain it is no secret that rock stars and lower working-class Americans alike are turning to opiates to cope. The rock stars are the ones that we hear of while the others become just another statistic.
The truth is that no one knows what Petty was really dealing with. I firmly believe that you can never really know another man’s pain or sickness.
In the end, the result ultimately is the same; another iconic life lost to opiates.
His memory will live on forever through his ridiculously impressive catalog of hits. He was cooler than the other side of the pillow and his stature was not of someone larger than life, he seemed like the everyday guy, that just happened to be a rock star for the ages.
Rest in Peace Tom Petty
October 20, 1950 - October 2, 2017