No surprise, rock icon Tom Petty inspired many artists with his strong lyrics and countless hits. Petty passed away on Monday (October 2), after suffering a heart attack early that morning. The singer's unexpected death shocked the music world, only hours after news of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the wake of the recent horrific events and Petty's passing, country stars' are taking a moment to reflect and honor a man that meant so much to music. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit have been sharing tributes to the late Petty during their latest string of shows, including a performance on Saturday (October 7) in Memphis, Tennessee, where Isbell and his band performed two of Petty's tunes. The country singer also kicked off the first of a series of shows at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium on Monday (October 9), with another Petty classic.
“I can't think of an important moment in my life without an accompanying Tom Petty song," Isbell posted after Petty's death. “Every night we walk off stage to his music."
On October 5, Chris Stapleton performed a cover of Petty's “Learning to Fly" in Moline, Illinois, to honor the late rock icon. Prior to his performance, Stapleton spoke to the crowd about the singer's surprising death and what his music and his person had meant to him.
“I played with Tom Petty earlier this year," Stapleton told the crowd, “and the last thing he said to me was, 'I hope we get an opportunity to do this again.' And I left there thinking that we might. And I sure am sad that I won't get to."
While many others have paid their respects to Petty with live performances, such as Kip Moore and Dan + Shay, Jason Aldean's rendition of “I Won't Back Down" on Saturday Night Live has been one of the most poignant. Aldean was performing at Route 91 Harvest when the mass shooting took place and utilized Petty's anthem to send a beautiful and strong message to all those affected by the tragedy.