Musicians

12 Inspiring Quotes From Rock Icon Tom Petty

The legendary frontman of The Heartbreakers passed away on Monday.
12 Inspiring Quotes From Rock Icon Tom Petty
Image credit: Andrew Chin | Getty Images
Tom Petty
4 min read

Leaving a major footprint in the music industry, legendary rock icon Tom Petty passed away on Oct. 2. As the frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, a solo artist and even and actor and radio host, Petty was a major influence in both the rock and entertainment worlds.

He wooed people with his soft, pleasant voice on hit songs such as “The Waiting,” “You Got Lucky,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “Free Fallin’.” His 13 albums with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and three solo albums topped Billboard charts and many became gold and platinum records. In 1988, Petty joined fellow musicians Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne to form the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, which released two studio albums. The band was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

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However, his accomplishments go beyond the recording studio. Petty also got his feet wet in front of the camera, making an appearance in 1987 comedy Made in Heaven and in the 1997 film The Postman starring Kevin Costner. He also launched his own Sirius XM radio show, “Tom Petty’s Buried Treasure,” in 2005.

With a four-decade-long music career, Petty’s reputation stands strong. In fact, just this year, The Heartbreakers wrapped up its final tour celebrating their 40th anniversary.

While the public responds to the 66-year-old’s sudden passing, fellow rock and roll star Dylan told Rolling Stone, “It’s shocking, crushing news. I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend and I’ll never forget him.”

To remember the rock legend, here are 12 Tom Petty quotes.

On staying strong

"I got just one life in a world that keeps on pushin' me around. But I stand my ground and I won't back down."

On following your dreams

"Do something you really like, and hopefully it pays the rent. As far as I'm concerned, that's success."

On authenticity

“If you're phony, they will feel it in the farthest row of the arena. You have to really care. And you have to make yourself care time and time again.”

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On mindset

“I like to be an optimist, but I like to be a realist, too.”

On luck

“Baby even the losers get lucky sometimes.”

On taking chances

“Some say life will beat you down. Break your heart, steal your crown. So I've started out for God knows where, I guess I'll know when I get there.”

On life’s ups and downs

“Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks.”

On learning from experience

“The only good thing about getting older is you get smart enough to avoid unnecessary problems. You know what’s worth spending time on and what’s not. If I had known that at 20, life would have been so much easier, but you have to experience all these things so you figure out how to find your way through the woods.”

On passion

“Go after what you really love and find a way to make that work for you, and then you’ll be a happy person.”

On his love for music

“Music is probably the one real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.”

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On time

“Time to move on, time to get going. What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing. But under my feet, baby, grass is growing.”

On purpose

“You belong somewhere you feel free.”

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