Watch Tom Petty’s MusiCares Speech; Event Raises $8.5 Million and Counting

By Karen Bliss 2/11/17 |

Tom Petty accepts MusiCares Person of the Year honour — photo credit: screenshot.

The Music Cares Person of the Year tribute to the legendary Tom Petty on Friday night (Feb. 10, 2017) at the Los Angeles Convention Center raised $8.5 million (USD) “and counting” for MusiCares, according to an early tally given to Samaritanmag on Saturday evening by the Grammy Foundation/MusiCares.

Established in 1989 by America’s National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), best known for the Grammy Awards, MusiCares “provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares' services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical, and personal emergencies.”

In his 11-minute acceptance speech, Petty, now 66, said, “I’m just so beyond honoured to be here for MusiCares, for something that does something for musicians. I know people that this has directly affected and they know how to do it. They don’t ask for a lot of paperwork and the money shows up. They’ve helped so many people.”

Petty, who has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has charted albums in the top 5 on the Billboard 200 chart all five decades he has been working as a musician, recalled getting into rock ‘n’ roll at age 10, as a record collector, then “joining the conspiracy to put black music on white popular radio.”

(Watch the full speech below, which includes reverence to the musicians he has played with throughout his career and a story about hanging with George Harrison and Jeff Lynne at Mo Austin’s house, and the rejection of “Free Fallin’” by MCA).

Petty was honoured for his “extraordinary creative accomplishments and significant charitable work,” over his 40-year career, such as the Fender Music Foundation, which provides grants for music education; Midnight Mission, a help program to assist the homeless and/or those with addictions; Rock the Earth, an environmental advocacy organization; Safety Harbor Kids, which helps orphan, foster and homeless children with their education needs; the Special Olympics, as well as the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares.

The more than $8 million dollars was raised by a combination of ticket sales and auction items.

Tom Petty, MusiCares Person of the Year speech — photo credit: screenshot.
Now in its 27th year, the gala began with a  reception and silent auction offering an exclusive luxury items, VIP experiences, and one-of-a-kind celebrity memorabilia. It was followed by a gala dinner, sponsored by AEG; a live auction featuring items including a custom Acura NSX supercar, the MusiCares vehicle of the year; a tribute concert overseen by musical director T. Bone Burnett, featuring Foo Fighters, Don Henley, Norah Jones, Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne, Randy Newman, and many more. And of course the presentation to Petty, followed by a performance by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers to close out the evening.

This year, for the first time, a limited number of VIP experience tables were available for $75,000 that included 10 seats, red carpet entrance, access to artist rehearsal and special backstage area (day before event), private pre-show reception with dedicated staff and personal auction bidding kiosk, front-row table placement, enhanced dining experience, and exclusive gift bag with a limited-edition commemorative item.

The MusiCares Foundation “offers programs and services to members of the music community, including emergency financial assistance for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, and car payments; medical expenses including doctor, dentist, and hospital bills; psychotherapy; and treatment for HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, hepatitis C, and other critical illnesses.

Further, it “offers nationwide educational workshops covering a variety of subjects, including financial, legal, medical, and substance abuse issues, and programs in collaboration with health care professionals that provide services such as flu shots, hearing tests, and medical/dental screenings.

“The MusiCares MAP Fund allows access to addiction recovery treatment and sober living resources for members of the music community. Staffed by qualified chemical dependency and intervention specialists, MusiCares offers Safe Harbor Room support, sponsored in part by the Bohemian Foundation and RBC Capital Markets, to provide a network to those in recovery while they are participating in the production of televised music shows and other major music events.

“MusiCares holds weekly addiction support groups for people to discuss how to best cope with the issues surrounding the recovery process. The MusiCares Sober Touring Network is a database of individuals across the United States who take music people to recovery support meetings while on the road.”

Past MusiCares Person of the Year honorees include: Tony Bennett, Bono, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins, David Crosby, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin, Don Henley, Billy Joel, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Carole King, Paul McCartney, Luciano Pavarotti, Bonnie Raitt, Lionel Richie, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, and Neil Young.



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