Tom Petty is on the cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone as the magazine pays tribute to him.
Interviewed are original Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench.
Campbell says, "I'm just so sad to think that I'm not going to play those songs again... Tom never settled for anything but the best, on any level. That was one of the great things about him. He didn't settle for just being OK... [He] was so smart [and] one of the funniest people I've ever known. And he had a good heart."
Campbell adds that their last conversation came flying home to L.A. after a show last month in San Diego. "Tom got up and made a little speech like, 'This has been the best tour. You guys were great. We're not going to do any more long tours like this, but we have a lot of stuff we're gonna do, because this is the best the band has ever been.' When he walked past me I put my arm out, I pulled him close to me and said, 'I'm so proud of you."
Keyboardist Benmont Tench says, "I never want this guy to be thought of as 'OK, we've put him in the file, that's done.' Because he resonates. There's a reason why he was in The Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and a Beatle (George Harrison). He was a real cat. He wasn't a dilettante, trying something on. He was for real."
Also commenting is Bruce Springsteen, who says, "Tom was a great classicist and The Heartbreakers were a real guitar band. The music was beautifully written, beautifully constructed. But Tom's attitude and personality gave it a modern edge. It's sad that he's gone, but it was nice to be alive in his lifetime. Good songs stay written. Good records stay made. They are always filled with the promise and hope and life essence of their creator. Tom made a lot of great music, enough to carry people forward."
Petty's manager Tony Dimitriades says up next before his unexpected death was treatment for a hairline fracture on his hip. And on the musical side, he was going to oversee the reissue of his Wildflowers album and tour behind it with special guests, including Norah Jones.