A Tribute to Tom Petty from Reverb's CEO, David Kalt

I know I’m not alone in feeling like the world got a little smaller with the passing of Tom Petty. While all of us lost an American rock music icon, I’m in the camp that also lost a personal hero.

Ever since I carefully placed the needle on my Damn the Torpedoes record back in 1979, I’ve felt a deep connection to Petty that no hero has ever surpassed. It was that record that inspired me to pick up a guitar at 12 years old. It was Tom Petty who fostered a love and appreciation for music that I’ve carried with me since.

David Kalt and Tom Petty

The attitude and sensibility that Tom’s music instilled in me has been my compass in business, love, and life for over 35 years. I’ve internalized his messages about dreaming big and standing your ground — so much so that much of my life could be set to a Petty soundtrack. His words have even helped me draft mission statements for my businesses and address my companies when my own words wouldn’t do.

For my birthday a few months ago, the Reverb team gathered together while I was out of the office and recorded their own rendition of “I Won’t Back Down.” It was an incredible gift: To see the music that I love so powerfully resonate with my whole team.

I’m glad to know that here at Reverb, as in the lives of many around the world, Tom Petty’s music will live on. I can’t thank Tom enough for his words, lessons, and for always being a guiding voice in my life. My heart goes out to Tom’s family, bandmates, and friends at this trying time.


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