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Posted: October 03, 2017

Tom Petty’s last dance: Watch late rocker play ‘American Girl’ at final concert

The Life of Tom Petty

By Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

LOS ANGELES —

Rock icon Tom Petty’s sudden death on Monday has fans stunned, particularly those fans who saw him and his band, the Heartbreakers, end a 40th anniversary tour just a week before he died.

Rolling Stone reported that Petty’s final concert on Sept. 25 was the culmination of a 53-date tour that kicked off in April. His final song was one of his most popular, and the one that the magazine itself dubbed his greatest: “American Girl.”

Related story: Rocker Tom Petty has died at age 66, manager says

See Petty play his final song below.

Petty and his band ended each show on their final tour with the song, which the rocker first recorded in studio on July 4, 1976.

“The American Girl is just one example of this character that I write about a lot,” Rolling Stone quotes Petty saying about the song. “The small-town kid who knows there something more out there, but gets (expletive) up trying to find it. I always felt sympathetic with her.”

Shortly before the final tour began, Petty told the magazine, “If I was a fan, and they didn’t play, ‘American Girl’ or ‘Free Fallin,’ I’d be disappointed.” 

>> Read more trending news

A fan near the stage for that final concert at the Hollywood Bowl captured Petty’s last two songs, Rolling Stone said. He and the band played an encore of “You Wrecked Me,” followed by “American Girl.”

Kim Roberts, who posted the video to YouTube the day after the concert, wrote that her “tears (were) falling down” as she wrote Monday about Petty’s death.

“Tom Petty, you were a shining light in this world, a very special human being whose music impacted so many,” Roberts wrote

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sacks & Co
Tom Petty performs April 25, 2017, during Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' 40th Anniversary Tour. The performance at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville was the fourth in a 53-date tour that ended up being Petty's last tour before his death Oct. 2 at the age of 66.

Petty told Rolling Stone in December that he believed the upcoming tour would be the last big one for him and the band.

“I’m thinking it may be the last trip around the country,” Petty told the magazine. “It’s very likely we’ll keep playing, but will we take on 50 shows in one tour? I don’t think so. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one.”

Petty talked about how he and his bandmates were aging, all moving into the “backside of (their) sixties.”

“I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road,” he said. “This tour will take me away for four months. With a little kid, that’s a lot of time.”


Related

Rocker Tom Petty has died at age 66, manager says

UPDATE Oct. 3 12:05 a.m. EDT:

Musician Tom Petty has died at age 66, longtime Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers manager Tony Dimitriades, confirmed late Monday. The Los Angeles Times reported the news.

>> PHOTOS: Tom Petty through the years

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017

>> Read more trending news

“On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty. He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40 p.m. PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.”

A cause of death has not been announced.

TMZ reported Monday that he had been “clinging to life” after he was rushed the the hospital Sunday after going into full cardiac arrest. The site said the 66-year-old singer was found unconscious. 

WATCH: Tom Petty's acoustic version of 'Learning to Fly'

Tom Petty, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician whose songs touched generations of fans, died Monday evening surrounded by his family and bandmates. He was 66.

>> PHOTOS: Tom Petty through the years

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017

In 1994, Petty and the Heartbreakers played a benefit for the Bridge School in Mountain View, California.

>> Rocker Tom Petty has died at age 66, manager says

“When I think in my life of all the stages we’ve been on, this is certainly the most beautiful set I’ve ever been on – to be up here with these beautiful children,” Petty told the crowd.

>> Read more trending news

This is the song he and the Heartbreakers played next:

>> Watch the clip here

>> On KIRO7.com: Watch Petty's last performance in Seattle

  Rocker Tom Petty has died at age 66, manager says
  Photos: Tom Petty through the years
  Photos: Notable deaths 2017
 
Photos: Tom Petty through the years

Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Photos: Tom Petty through the years

Musician Tom Petty has died at age 66, longtime Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers manager Tony Dimitriades confirmed Oct. 2, 2017.

This duet between Tom Petty and Bob Dylan is so much sadder today

During his life, American music icon Tom Petty partnered with his contemporaries to create incredible musical collaborations. One such example is with folk-rock music idol Bob Dylan.

>> Rocker Tom Petty has died at age 66, manager says

In 1986, the two went on tour, performing 60 shows. The True Confessions Tour, which spanned from February to August, included stops in New Zealand, Australia and Japan, as well as 41 stops in North America.

>> On Rare.us: Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Bacon sing this version of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” that you never knew existed

A performance from that tour of the two musicians singing “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” rings especially dear in light of the Petty's death.

>> Watch the performance here

Petty suffered a full cardiac arrest and later died, manager Tony Dimitriades confirmed late Monday. Petty had just finished his 2017 tour, which was intended to be his last.

>> PHOTOS: Tom Petty through the years

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one,” he told Rolling Stone late last year. “We’re all on the backside of our 60s … I don’t want to spend my life on the road.”

>> Read more trending news

During his career, Petty collaborated with acts including Stevie Nicks, Eric Clapton and the Grateful Dead.

  Rocker Tom Petty has died at age 66, manager says
  Photos: Tom Petty through the years
  Photos: Notable deaths 2017
  WATCH: Tom Petty's acoustic version of 'Learning to Fly'
 
 
 

 

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