Chris Stapleton Pays Tribute to Tom Petty With ‘Learning to Fly’ [Watch]
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Like many music fans, Chris Stapleton is mourning the loss of Tom Petty, who died on Oct. 2, 2017. At a concert on Oct. 5 in Moline, Ill., the country singer paid tribute to the late rocker with a cover of “Learning to Fly.”
“I had the opportunity to play with Tom Petty earlier this year and the last thing he said to me was, ‘I hope we get an opportunity to do this again,’” Stapleton tells the audience in the above clip before performing the song. “And I left there thinking that we might. And I sure am sad that I won’t get to.”
Stapleton’s version of “Learning to Fly” is slightly slower than Petty’s original, with the vocalist on acoustic guitar. His powerful and deep voice gets the song’s meaning across, however, and when he asks the crowd to sing along with him, they oblige, creating a moving live moment.
Petty died on Oct. 2 after suffering cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, Calif. He was 66.
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This is far from the first time Stapleton has covered Petty live in concert. In 2016, Stapleton took Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium stage to perform one of Petty’s most beloved hits, “Free Fallin’,” from his 1989 album Full Moon Fever. During that set, Stapleton invited opening act Maren Morris to join him to sing a duet of the tune. In awe of their performance, the Ryman audience responded with a standing ovation.
On Saturday night (Oct. 7), Jason Aldean paid tribute to the victims of the Oct. 1 Las Vegas shooting during an appearance on Saturday Night Live by performing another one of Petty’s tunes, “I Won’t Back Down.”
“When America is at its best, our bond and our spirit is unbreakable,” Aldean says.