Tom Petty

My three weeks on Tristan da Cunha were essentially news-free. I was off-line as well during the weeklong trips to and from the island. Therefore I was pretty out of the loop by the time I arrived back in Cape Town last Thursday. I managed to find a flight to Toronto (via Amsterdam and Boston) that left the same evening.

I never talk to my fellow passengers on flights. I bury my head in a book and ignore whoever is sitting next to me–not even exchanging pleasantries–for the entire flight. I could not resist, however, asking my seatmate travelling to Toronto from Boston about any news that I might have missed. I was mainly interested in finding out about any deaths. He told me that Gord Downie had died, and Tom Petty! I only found out about both of their deaths this past Friday!

From 1983 to 2001 I maintained a weekly Top Ten Singles Chart and kept a Top Ten Albums Chart for a full twenty years. Tom Petty did not appear on my albums chart yet had two hits on my singles chart. He appeared more often on my charts as one fifth of the Traveling Wilburys.

by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers:

“Jammin’ Me” peaked at #5 on 4 July 1987
“Learning to Fly” peaked at #8 on 21 September 1991

by the Traveling Wilburys:

“Handle with Care” peaked at #1 for 5 weeks starting 31 December 1988
“End of the Line” peaked at #1 for 3 weeks starting 1 April 1989
“She’s My Baby” peaked at #6 on 9 March 1991

Both Traveling Wilburys albums peaked at #1. Volume One topped the chart for 16 consecutive weeks starting 17 December 1988 and Vol. 3 for a single week on 8 December 1990.

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