By: Eric Tenner Brown
Two greats united to honor iconic rocker Tom Petty at the Grammy Awards in New York City on Sunday. Chris Stapleton and Emmylou Harris performed “Wildflower” at Madison Square Garden in tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who died in October at the age of 66.
When Petty hit the road in 2017 for what would become his final tour, Stapleton opened multiple dates. “The last thing he said to me was, ‘I hope we get to do more of this,’” Stapleton said after Petty’s death. “I left there thinking that we would get to do more of it, and I’m so heartbroken and sad that he’s no longer with us. He’s given us so much music — and brought so much joy to so many people who have listened to his songs and his songwriting, and his singing and his guitar playing.”
For her part, Harris honored Petty shortly after his death when she performed “Refugee” along with Dave Matthews, Steve Earle, and Patty Griffin at a Seattle concert. Harris also covered Petty’s “Thing About You” on her 1990 album Duets.
Earlier this month, Petty’s family shared the cause of his death. The rocker died due to an accidental overdose from a combination of pain medications.
The Petty tribute segued into the awards show’s more traditional In Memoriam, where artists including Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, Gregg Allman, Eddie Clark, Don Williams, Jerry Lewis, Prodigy, Lil Peep, Chris Cornell, and Chester Bennington were remembered. Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid then took the stage to honor those in music who died in the last year, performing the nominated track “1-800-273-8255.”