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Tom Petty’s Life Was Forever Changed When He Met Elvis Presley

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Tom Petty was an iconic musician responsible for hits such as “Free Fallin'” and “American Girl.” While he passed away in 2017, he still remains one of the most popular singer-songwriters of all time. Turns out he was influenced by another music icon early on: Elvis Presley.

When Tom was just a little boy, he actually met Elvis and it changed his life’s course forever. Tom’s uncle was working on Elvis Presley’s movie called Follow That Dream back in 1961. Before he died, Tom recalled visiting his uncle and getting to meet the famous musician/movie star.

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Tom Petty was influenced to start a music career by Elvis Presley

THE POSTMAN, Tom Petty, 1997 / Everett Collection

He said, “He arrived in a fleet of white Cadillacs. People were screaming, handing records over a chain-link fence for him to sign. I remember his hair was so black that the sunshine was glowing off of it. Just a nod and a hello made your skin tingle. I was high for weeks. It lit a fever in me to get every record I could, and I really digested it. Elvis became the soundtrack of my early years.”

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RELATED: The Late Tom Petty Discusses Elvis Presley For HBO’s ‘The Searcher’ In Rare Audio

FOLLOW THAT DREAM, Elvis Presley, 1962 / Everett Collection

Eventually, Tom dropped out of high school to focus on his band. He started several bands before finding success as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Their first album of the same name was released in 1976. Tom went on to release 13 albums with the band, three solo albums, and a few albums with the groups the Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch.

ECHO IN THE CANYON, Jakob Dylan, Tom Petty, 2018. © Greenwich Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

For years, Tom dabbled in both pop and rock and proved that he could bend genres. Even after his passing, his music lives on and he inspires generations of future musicians.

RELATED: Did You Know Prince Inspired A Popular Tom Petty Song?

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