University of Florida offering Tom Petty course this fall

Tom Petty .jpg

With more than 80 million records sold worldwide, Tom Petty was one of the best selling music artists of all time -- but before the stardom and fame Petty was a Gainesville native. Now his story and his start in Gainesville has captured the attention of University of Florida journalism professor Clay Calvert who will be teaching a class dedicated to his career.

" I think some students are going to wonder why do we care so much about Tom Petty in Gainesville. Who was he? Well this book provides an excellent glimpse of who he was, how he became a success and generally his whole life story," Prof. Calvert said.

In the fall of 2018 Prof. Calvert's class called Petty: The Biography will focus on the highs and lows of Tom Petty's life and music.

"The biography about him is really a warts- and- all kind of tale. It shows the highlights and lowlights and talks about what it takes to be a success in the music industry."

The class is offered to students in the UF honors program and will include reading assignments, analyzing lyrics and even field trips.

" Students will analyze lyrics from Tom Petty songs and also find and locate places in Gainesville where Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had some connection to it, "Calvert said. " Either a house or a building or a venue and try to find connections that are sprinkled throughout Gainesville with Tom Petty."

However Prof. Calvert said its not just about the music. There is a lesson that can be learned from Petty's life and there are some key principles that he wants students to take away from the course.

" Becoming a success in any field depends upon certain characteristics and those include drive,passion, hard work and determination. The road to success is often paved with up's and downs, its not always a smooth road to get there and you have to overcome it and persevere. I think that's really the life story of Tom Petty."

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