On October 2, the music world lost Tom Petty, one of the greatest rock n’ roll songwriters and performers to ever emerge out of America. He was just 66 and only a short time removed from the conclusion of a 40th anniversary tour with his band, the Heartbreakers.
One of Petty’s many musical cohorts to be stunned by the news of his passing was Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, who learned of Petty’s death while in Las Vegas –hours removed from the fatal Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting.
“The vibe was pretty low – understandably, of course,” said Starr of the experience, during an interview with Billboard. “Then in the middle of this meeting someone turned to me and said, ‘Tom Petty’s dead.’ ‘Oh my God! What else can go down?’ It was a shock. When you first hear it, it’s like, ‘What?!’ Like when I heard Elvis was dead… It has to sink in. It was very sad.”
Starr, who has navigated through the deaths of Beatles bandmates John Lennon and George Harrison, is no stranger to losing friends in which he has shared a stage with. At the same time, however, he realizes it’s also important to recognize those who are still around and making music.
“I’ll miss Tom,” continued Starr. “Tom was a good friend. I played with Tom, Tom Played with me. I got to know him over the years, really got to know him when he was in the [Travelling] Wilburys ’cause of George (Harrison). All through my career we’ve lost really great friends, and people who aren’t my friends, but were great musicians and writers. In our business we’ve lost them very young as well. But overall, there’s still a lot of us out there doing what we do.”
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