Warren Zanes is the author of Petty: The Biography. He first met the singer in 1986, when Zanes’ band, the Del Fuegos, opened for Petty and the Heartbreakers.
I was standing in my kitchen when I heard about Tom Petty’s death. The message came from a friend who had worked at WBCN in Boston. WBCN — that’s where, at age 12, I heard Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ first single, “Breakdown.” Tell me this isn’t true. That was the message from my friend. I’m not sure how the constellations of thought come together, but they form quickly. Just that fast, I knew Tom Petty had died. And then the street outside my window looked different.
Read more of Zanes’ thoughts on Tom Petty’s untimely death here.