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People: Key To The City
Toledo Blade — September 23, 2006
Tom Petty has come home.
“Every corner you turn is some kind of memory,” said the 55-year-old rocker, who grew up in Gainesville, Fla., but hasn’t played here in 13 years.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ concert at the O’Connell Center on the University of Florida campus Thursday night sold out in 10 minutes.
The long delay between Gainesville concerts was the result of the band’s summer tour schedule, Petty said. He said the band decided to expand its tour schedule this year.
Guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench were born and raised in and around Gainesville, and bassist Ron Blair lived in the area for many years.
Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan presented each band member with a key to the city. “It’s a lot nicer than the one we got in Chicago,” Petty quipped.
Although he never attended the University of Florida, Petty was once a member of the grounds crew. While working at the school, he planted a tree that is now called the Tom Petty Tree.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.