Chris Stapleton won a slew of country music Grammy awards on Sunday, but was most emotional when paying tribute to the late Tom Petty.


Petty died suddenly last October of an accidental prescription pill overdose. He was 66. “I got to be on tour with him this past year… and I got to play three shows with him… I only got to have a brief conversation with Tom,” Stapleton told reporters backstage. “He was very kind and the last thing he said to me was ‘I hope we can do this again.’ And that was such a thrill for me. It was a really hard thing for me to do tonight. I was tearing up.”

Stapleton, who always dons a cowboy hat, removed the cap for his tribute to Petty. He and 13-time Grammy winner Emmylou Harris teamed up for a take on Petty’s classic title 1994 solo album. “You belong among the wildflowers / You belong in a boat out a sea / You belong somewhere you feel free,” they sang.

Stapleton later shared with People that that is his favorite album of all time. “It was really hard for me [to perform]… It’s tough,” he added. “We lost a lot of great artists this year.”

Petty’s longtime friend Stevie Nicks gave a touching speech about the singer during a pre-Grammy tribute last Friday. “The loss of Tom Petty has just about broken my heart,” she said at Radio City Music Hall.

Stapleton won all three of the awards for which he was nominated on Sunday, including best country album for From a Room: Volume 1. Stapleton has won the category three times total.


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