Rock icon Tom Petty passed away on October 2nd due to a cardiac arrest. Shortly after the musician’s sudden passing, country music hit-maker Chris Stapleton covered the late artist’s classic “Learning To Fly” while performing in Illinois. Stapleton informed the audience that he and Petty just recently played together this past summer. The last thing that Tom said to Stapleton was, “I hope we get an opportunity to do this again.” The country entertainer admitted that he left that night thinking the two would get the chance to perform together again. “I sure am sad we’re not going to get to,” Stapleton shared with the crowd.
Stapleton’s version of “Learning To Fly” is a bit slower that the rock legend’s. Starting acoustically, his deep voice gets the song’s strong meaning across which added specialty to his tribute. Stapleton requested that the crowd sang along, and when they did, a moving live moment was created.
See full video below!
What many fans don’t know is that Stapleton and Petty have a history other than their performance this summer. Back in 2013, Rolling Stone interviewed Petty about his thoughts on modern country music. Tom didn’t hold back when he stated that modern country music sounded like “bad rock with fiddle.”
Stapleton heard this interview and responded to Petty with an open letter, letting him know how influential Petty has been to not only Chris himself but to many other country stars as well. It took a few years, but the two singers finally got the chance to play together and grew quite fond of one another.
The Kentucky native’s cover of “Learning To Fly” represented Tom Petty’s legacy exceptionally well, and we’re sure the rocker himself would agree!
“Learning To Fly” Lyrics
Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still
I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing
Well the good ol’ days may not return
And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn
Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I’ve started out for God knows where
I guess I’ll know when I get there
I’m learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up must come down
Share this moving moment with other fans of Stapleton and Petty!