Tom Petty, the one true Heartbreaker-in-chief, passed away in Los Angeles at age 66 on October 2, 2017, following a cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu. His death was confirmed in a statement released by his longtime manager Tony Dimitriades, who said, “On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend, Tom Petty.” (Tony’s full statement is shown here.)
Petty leaves behind a rich and uncompromising recorded legacy, with virtually his entire catalog available in 96/24 hi-res options, all personally remastered by Tom’s long-serving, trusted producer/engineer, Ryan Ulyate. In addition to that, Ulyate also recently remastered Petty’s complete studio catalog for vinyl. Ulyate and Petty also shepherded three hi-res surround-sound mixes on Blu-ray for 1979’s Damn the Torpedoes, 2010’s Mojo, and 2014’s Hypnotic Eye. BTW, my personal favorite Petty track in 5.1 is Mojo‘s “First Flash of Freedom.” (Second fave? Torpedoes‘ “Here Comes My Girl.” Third fave? Hypnotic Eye‘s “Red River.”)
It was an honor and a privilege to have been able to interview Petty three times over the years: twice by phone, and once in person at his Malibu home on April 1, 2010. April 1 happened to be a very specific, auspicious day in the band’s history, in fact, as on that date in 1974, Tom and the band left their homebase in Gainesville, Florida to head out West, albeit with a stop in Oklahoma first to meet with Denny Cordell of Shelter Records fame. “That’s right,” Tom confirmed to me. “Yeah, we did that in ’74. We set out for L.A., and never went back. (chuckles) Never went back. And getting a record deal kind of changed everything around.”
I’ll be doing a deeper dive into Tom’s storied recorded output this Friday in my weekly Audiophile column over on our partner site, Digital Trends, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here’s a YouTube clip of Tom discussing the value of hi-res audio. Rest in peace, brother Tom.