The Gators paid tribute to local legend Tom Petty by playing “I Won’t Back Down” at the end of the third quarter of Saturday’s homecoming game against LSU. The crowd of 88,000-plus sang along as the hit was played over the sound system at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Petty died Oct. 2 at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles a day after he suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, California. He was 66.
Born and raised in Gainesville, Petty once worked as a groundskeeper at the University of Florida as he tried to make it in the music industry.
Videos of the tribute have gone viral and appeared on television news programs, including “Good Morning America” on Monday.
“It was hard not to notice it,” UF coach Jim McElwain said Monday of the Petty tribute. “To hear that place in unison. It was special.”
Tribute to Tom
Posted by Gatorsports on Saturday, October 7, 2017
What a classy goodbye to Gainesville’s son. Free Fallin’ needs to find its own place in all home games between a quarter. This awesome song by one of the great entertainers of our time seemed to bring the sometimes tough Gator crowd closer together. The stadium had a true feeling of unity after the tribute to Tom. I thought this choice to play his song was a “home run” with the young and old alike!!
Of course the disrespect by the LSU band of playing during that tribute was disappointing to say the least.
Thanks for a lifetime of great music Tom Petty. May you always rest peacefully!