When I heard the news that Tom Petty had been rushed into hospital after cardiac arrest I felt awful.
The ensuing media frenzy to get the headline first made thing even worse with the premature announcement of his death. A friend posted on my Facebook wall that he was not dead that there had been a terrible mistake, to which I replied 'I do hope I'm wrong.' I hoped for a miracle but deep inside anticipated the worst.
Tom Petty was one of my heroes.
To my mind, Tom Petty was one of the few songwriting legends that hadn't sold out or become some eccentric old parody of his younger self.
Tom was the walking personification of the things I love about America. As a musician he made me feel it was possible for ordinary people to do extraordinary things - after all, isn't that the core of the American dream?
Like any great songwriter, it was his songs that had hooked me. Yes, the sound of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is unmistakable, you can't separate the songs from the music, for example, the gorgeous guitar riff at the start of 'Free Fallin' is a masterclass in arrangement, playing and production.
I started to wonder why I was so upset by the passing of Tom, a man I didn't really know, but it was as if I had lost a close friend. So much so that when my wife walked into the lounge, and I said 'Tom's dead' as if I was talking about a family member.
It then made me wonder why the death of greats like Tom Petty, Prince, David Bowie and others hit us so badly.
At that moment I had memories going through my head, all of them were playing out with Tom Petty songs as the soundtrack. It was then it hit me.
The reason we mourn the passing of people like Tom Petty is their songs enable us to travel in time.
Full Moon Fever became the soundtrack to a period of my life and had such an impact that every time songs like 'I Won't Back Down', or 'Runnin' Down A Dream' play then I'm immediately taken back to a moment in my past. It's as if I'm back there, the smells, sounds and sights are tangible. I'm 23 again.
Great songs not only take us back, but they also enable us to believe in bigger things, a brighter future. They help us to look beyond the mundane and to imagine something that is often bigger than us. Even in the here and now great songs transform the ordinary, I defy anyone to drive with 'Runnin' Down A Dream' playing loud and not feel as unstoppable as the lyric in the song.
Songs are the soundtracks of critical moments in our lives. There's a song that transports me back to a rainy night stood at a bus stop kissing a girl, another my wedding day, the birth of my kids; the list goes on. They don't just remind me of those moments; they take me back to them.
I know that in many ways the work we do in making records pales in comparison with the work of nurses, teachers and many other essential roles. But let's not dismiss the part our songs play in the human experience.
Science is wrong, time travel is possible, and great songwriters like Tom Petty prove it.