"Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out. Hey, I will stand my ground and I won't back down!"
The familiar lyrics to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "I Won't Back Down" make one heck of an anthem for an arena full of sports fans. And at Saturday's Florida Gators-LSU Tigers game, those words made a powerful tribute to Petty himself, just days after the world said goodbye to the rock legend.
Fans filled Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida — which holds 90,000 people — with a musical tribute to Petty, who was born in Gainesville and briefly worked at the University of Florida as a groundskeeper.
"This one’s for you, @TomPetty," the official Gators Twitter account captioned a video of the crowd singing and swaying to "I Won't Back Down."
Cody Worsham, an editor for LSU sports publication Tiger Rag, told The Hollywood Reporter that the massive singalong was unplanned. "Clearly every fan in the building knew every word," he said.
The sight of the enormous crowd coming together in song is staggering!
Jason Aldean later performed the same song on "Saturday Night Live," a tribute to both Petty and the victims of last Sunday's shooting at a Las Vegas music festival.
Petty died on Monday at 66 after going into cardiac arrest. Many others have paid tribute to him this week — including Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus, who covered "Wildflowers" on Thursday's "Tonight Show."