The shock of Tom Petty’s death had led the world into a cataclysmic downfall. Tom Petty was the last American rock star… Every day I hear or read that rock and roll is dead! Who’s left? I dunno? The outpour of feelings only got greater after the massacre in Las Vegas the night before at a country music festival… All those poor people shot… what kind of world are we living in? Petty’s music became the soothing drug that came to our rescue… I was a Petty fan from day one… seeing his first appearance at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go… Imagine in just a two week span… Petty… The Ramones and Blondie had their L.A. debut’s too. Anyone who knew me, knew that I’d be at every show… I probably should’ve just slept in my car… Rock and roll was my life and I never looked back…
Poster of Petty Gig at the “Whiskey” .. yes it tis’ spelled wrong!
Petty had some of the most improbable events occur in his life… yes, he filed for bankruptcy.. yes, he sued his record company, and yes he had his bouts with drugs… But who would’ve thought that someone would set his house on fire while he and his family were inside???
The Heartbreakers Backstage at the Whisky A Go Go
Back in May of 1987 while having breakfast he smelled smoke and got his wife, daughter and housekeeper immediately. He home broke out in flames and only the maid suffered injury when her wig started on fire. The entire house was engulfed in flames! Petty later remembered picking up a hose only to have it melt in his hands. Firefighters did their best, but the fire burned through the house quickly. The only room that went unscathed was Petty’s basement studio.
More shocking than the loss of their home and possessions (estimated at about $1 million) was the fact that investigators determined that the fire was not an accident. According to a report, an arsonist had drenched the house’s back staircase in lighter fluid. Petty and his family were deeply disturbed by the fact that someone had wanted to kill them. Petty said that, as a result of the blaze, he had trouble using the word “fire” in his lyrics. But he did write one of his most famous tunes about the experience: “I Won’t Back Down,” which appeared on 1989’s Full Moon Fever, was inspired by defiant feelings toward his attacker. “I’ll stand my ground / And I won’t back down,” he sang.
He rebuilt the home and lived there till 2013 when he moved to Malibu. The style was eclectic, with secret passageways and nooks, and ladders and lofts. And as much as the rocker enjoyed it, his ex-wife acquired it in their divorce settlement. The asking prices was $3.58 mil….As for the person who set the near-fatal fire, no suspect was ever charged. The case remains unsolved.