Tom Petty had a long and fruitful career with Warner Bros. Records — following a fruitful but contentious one with MCA — and on Tuesday (Oct. 3) the WMG imprint’s chairman & CEO, Cameron Strang, offered a statement to Billboard paying homage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who died on Monday (Oct. 2) at age 66.
“Tom’s sudden passing is a stunning loss to everyone at Warner Bros. Records. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom, his family, the Heartbreakers, and his millions of fans across the globe who loved him and his music. An artist and songwriter of incredible power and unmistakable character, his music will forever be part of America’s cultural heritage. Thank you, Tom, for being a man of deep soul, grace and humility.”
Also honoring Petty was SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein, who paid tribute to the satellite network’s relationship with the rocker through his eclectic “Tom Petty’s Buried Treasure” show and a dedicated channel.
“We are deeply saddened at the passing of Tom Petty. SiriusXM has had a long and rewarding creative relationship with Tom, working with him on the creation of his own channel starting in 2015 and before that on his beloved radio show Tom Petty’s Buried Treasure, starting in 2005. Tom was intensely involved in curating and presenting Tom Petty Radio, using his passion and humor to shape one of our most unique music channels. He will be greatly missed but will forever live on through his incredible, timeless music.”
Live Nation, a longtime collaborator of Petty’s, including on his final tour, released a statement early Tuesday.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of Tom Petty’s passing. He was a titan of rock and roll, an extraordinary songwriter and performer and an American legend. It was an honor to work with him over the years and particularly on his recent 40th anniversary tour. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and all fans of this gifted artist.”
ASCAP president Paul Williams also paid tribute to Petty, a 2014 recipient of the org’s prestigious Founders Award.
“It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to one of our all-time great songwriters, Tom Petty. Tom mined one of the richest veins of creativity for more than four decades and, whether performing solo or with his longtime band of collaborators, The Heartbreakers, gave the world some of the most indelible songs ever written: ‘American Girl,’ ‘Free Falling,’ ‘Refugee,’ ‘The Waiting,’ ‘I Need to Know’ and so many more. He passionately carried the torch for rock ‘n’ roll and taught us all how to ‘keep this world from dragging me around.’ He never stopped writing new songs, performing, touring and inspiring new generations of songwriters. He never backed down. And thanks to his life in music, neither will we.”
In his statement, RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman called Petty a “dedicated advocate for music” who’ll be missed by all.
“Rock & Roll has lost one of its godfathers. For more than 40 years, Tom Petty blazed a trail through music, writing and recording a slew of timeless songs. From the familiar intro guitar licks on “American Girl” to the psychedelic drum beats on “Don’t Come Around Here No More” to his soaring vocals on “Free Fallin” and so many other classics, Tom Petty’s signature voice and sound changed American music. Aside from his numerous Gold & Platinum achievements, Mr. Petty was a multi-talented performer and a dedicated advocate for music. We will all miss him. Our hearts go out to his family and countless fans across the world.”
?The Recording Academy, which named Petty the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year, honoring his creative and philanthropic achievements, released a statement as well.
“Tom was a true rock and roll purist, both in his music and his defiant spirit,” said president and CEO Neil Portnow. “With the Heartbreakers, his infectious riffs, rebellious personality, and inventive songwriting brought a new urgency to rock traditions and fueled a now legendary career and some of the most memorable music of the last four decades… Tom will be remembered as much for his humanity as his music. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues as they look to find comfort during this difficult time.”