Jeff Goldstein remembers 20-year-old Tom Petty — before the stardom.
The late American rock legend and Gainesville native was just “Tom” from the five-man group Mudcrutch in the early ’70s, Goldstein said. Petty’s young country-rock quintet played bars and house shows before they met Goldstein from The Rose Community Center, a student-run music booking group.
That’s when Petty started rising to local fame, playing for thousands of fans on the Plaza of the Americas and in the University Auditorium between 1970 and 1974, Goldstein said.
Now, Goldstein, a UF alumnus and retired computer engineer, wants to build a music history museum downtown to display the history of talent that emerged from Gainesville in the last 60 years.
“Some of the best music ever produced in the history of the planet came from Gainesville, Florida,” Goldstein, 65, said. “We want to document it, archive it and present it for posterity.”
Goldstein said he got the idea for the museum about three years ago and thinks it’s needed even more after Petty’s death Oct. 2.
The museum will include data and song selections from local artists, he said. It will also display music from other genres, such as Rhythm-and-Blues artist Charles Bradley and Ellas “Bo Diddley” McDaniel, the late singer for which Bo Diddley Community Plaza is named.
Goldstein said he hopes to start fundraising for the project early next year.
Shelby Rubin said she grew up on Tom Petty’s music.
As a little girl, she remembers her mom, Diane, playing “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” performed by Petty and singer Stevie Nicks, in the car or at family hangouts in West Palm Beach.
Rubin, a 20-year-old UF telecommunication junior, said she’d love to see a museum dedicated to Gainesville music. From old legends to current local artists playing at High Dive and Heartwood Soundstage, she said Gainesville music deserves to be documented.
“I’m amazed at how many legends have come through here, the amount of people that have come through here that are so extremely talented,” she said.