Word came down late Monday that rock ‘n’ roll legend Tom Petty died after suffering a cardiac arrest at his Southern California home. He was 66.
I’ll let others wax poetic about his marvelous career, including one of my favorite music writers at the Chicago Tribune.
But it’s almost a given Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers band made a slew of tunes tailor-made for driving down Route 66 over their 40-plus years.
Let’s start it off with their cover of Bobby Troup’s “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.” Petty and his band often played it as a warm-up tune, but here’s a 1977 show where they included it in their set list.
Next on the list is 1989’s “Running Down a Dream,” which technically didn’t include the Heartbreakers but featured his longtime lead guitarist, Mike Campbell, raking a Hall-of-Fame solo.
Then there’s “American Girl,” from Petty’s first album in 1976 that wasn’t a big hit at the time but eventually became a staple of shows and rock radio.
A Route 66 link: Shelter Records released the album, which was co-owned by Tulsa music legend Leon Russell.
Finally, Petty’s biggest hit, 1989’s “Free Fallin’,” remains a quintessential song about Los Angeles streets and highways.
What are some of your favorite Tom Petty road songs?
(Image of Tom Petty in 2010 by Elvis Kennedy via Flickr)