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Taylor Swift Says Tom Petty ‘Motivated’ Her to Learn Guitar

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Theo Wargo, Getty Images

While the music world is still reeling over Tom Petty’s death, artists have come out in droves to pay their respects to the late rock legend and share what he and his music meant to them. To Taylor Swift, he was an idol.

“To me, Tom Petty represented a kind of songwriting I idolized: complex simplicity,” Swift told Rolling Stone. “It said so much in the lyrics, the concepts, the stories, the message, the nuances… but always brought you back to a hook that got stuck in everyone’s head.”

She continued to discuss how she not only praised his songwriting, but his guitar prowess as well. “He motivated thousands of guitarists to learn to play just because they wanted to be able to play ‘Free Fallin.’ Count me as one of them,” she said.

Petty passed away from cardiac arrest on October 2. He was 66.

During 2009’s Fearless Tour, Swift covered and recorded Petty’s hit “American Girl.” Listen to her version, below:

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