A Tribute to Tom Petty, As Told Through His Homes


Today, the world lost a rock icon. Heartbreakers frontman Tom Petty died on Monday after suffering a full cardiac arrest. He was 66. Here’s a tribute to Tom, as told through some of the places he’s lived.

Born in 1950 in Gainesville, Florida, Petty had a rough childhood, but a handshake from Elvis at age 17 sparked an interest in rock music. David Rolland of the Broward Palm Beach New Times went on a trek to visit places important to Petty back in 2014, including his childhood home:

(Image credit: Sean Rolland)

Petty’s first band, Mudcrutch, lived on a farm in Gainesville that was “dirt cheap” and “far from any neighbors who might complain about the noise,” the Gainesville Sun wrote in 2008.

Red Slater, a friend of the band who lived at the farm for a few years, told the Sun:

The whole rental was $75 a month. It was just a rundown house. It didn’t have hot water, the fridge didn’t work. At the time, it was quite a way from Gainesville, so it was a hike into town. It was just a place to hang out for a low-profile band.

The band moved to California in 1974 to make it big, but the band broke up, and a few former members came together to form Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the rest, as they say, is history (though Mudcrutch reunited in 2007 and released two albums).

Petty’s Encino, California home has quite the history. In 1987—one year before the Traveling Wilburys (the super group Petty formed with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne) released their debut—an arsonist set the property’s wooden stairs on fire, and nearly everything except for the basement recording studio was lost. Petty and family rebuilt the place and according to Realtor.com:

The style was eclectic, with secret passageways and nooks, and ladders and lofts. And as much as the rocker enjoyed it, his ex-wife, Jane, acquired it in their 1996 divorce settlement. She converted the basement studio into an apartment, and put the five-bedroom, eight-bath house on the market in 2013 for $3.58 million.

And we come to Petty’s Lake Sherwood retreat. It was listed for sale back in May, and is still on the market for $5.895 million. Called Casa Della Madonna, the place was built in 1931 and feels more like Lake Como than California. The 5,300 square foot property is on nearly an acre with a private dock. The living room features walls made of local fieldstone, and a 2004 addition added a tranquil master suite with a deep stone tub and a balcony with a fireplace.

The band had just wrapped their 40th anniversary tour at the Hollywood Bowl last week, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

To quote the man himself:

I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground
And I won’t back down

RIP, Tom Petty.

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