Florida approves historical marker to honor late rocker Tom Petty

Florida officials had a change of heart and decided to honor Tom Petty with a historical marker in his hometown of Gainesville.

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Petty was inducted along with his Heartbreakers band members into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. A historical marker will be erected at a park named for the rocker, who died Oct. 2, 2017, after a drug overdose, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

The Florida Historical Marker Council voted Friday to erect the marker in the Duckpond neighborhood, near where Petty grew up, The Gainesville Sun reported. The marker will be unveiled Oct. 20, Melanie Barr. of the council ,told the Democrat.

It was the second time Florida officials attempted to honor the singer-songwriter, who was 66 when he died.

Shortly after Petty's death, Florida state Sen. Keith Perry, of Gainesville, tried to have a section of U.S. 441 in Alachua County named for the singer, the Sun reported. Perry wanted to honor Petty's reference to the highway in his 1977 hit single, "American Girl," when he sang "she could hear the cars roll by, out on 441, like waves crashin' on the beach."

Some of Petty's other hits, with the band and as a solo artist, included "Refugee," "Breakdown," "Free Fallin'," "The Waiting," "Don't Do Me Like That," "Runnin' Down a Dream," "You Got Lucky" and "Change of Heart."

The historical marker's metal plaque with raised letters cost $2,300, the Sun reported. Petty played in the neighborhood park as a boy before forming the band Mudcrutch as a teenager, the newspaper reported. The group changed its name and left for Los Angeles in 1974.

The plaque will be unveiled on what would have been Petty's 69th birthday, the Sun reported.

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