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#ICYMI Jason Aldean Makes Powerful Surprise Appearance On Saturday Night Live To Pay Tribute To The Las Vegas Shooting Victims

Country star Jason Aldean made a powerful surprise appearance on S43/E02 of  NBC’s Saturday Night Live on October 7, 2017. (Gal Gadot/Sam Smith) The episode that was originally only supposed to feature Sam Smith as musical guest, gave Jason the spotlight in the cold opening of the show to pay tribute to the Las Vegas shooting victims. On October 1, 2017, it was Aldean who was on stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival on the Las Vegas Strip, when his performance became the site of the United States’ worst mass shooting, killing at least 59 people and wounding nearly 500.

In that opening, Aldean is seen in a black shirt and a black cowboy hat, as he looked into the camera and said:

“I’m Jason Aldean. This week we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history. Like everyone I’m struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal. So many people are hurting – there are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends. They’re all part of our family, so I want to say to them we hurt for you and we hurt with you, and you can be sure we’re going to walk through these tough times together every step of the way. Because when America is at its best our bond and our spirit is unbreakable.”

The tribute then continued with music when Aldean was also able to give a nod to the passing of singer/songwriter, Tom Petty, as he and his band gave a moving performance of Petty’s 1989 hit about strength and defiance, “I Won’t Back Down.” Tom Petty died the day after the Las Vegas shooting at 66 years old on October 2nd from cardiac arrest.

“I Won’t Back Down” was originally released in April of 1989 as the first single from Tom Petty’s debut solo album, Full Moon Fever.

Related Media 

Tom Petty 

“I Won’t Back Down”

From Full Moon Fever

MCA Records

Jason’s performance of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t back Down” oddly took place on the same night when Sam Smith was coincidentally the musical guest. Fans of both Petty and Smith will remember that In January 2015, a settlement had been reached with Petty’s publishing company to add Petty and Jeff Lynne as co-writers to Sam Smith’s 2014 smash hit, “Stay With Me.” This granted them a 12.5% songwriting credit after Petty’s publisher noticed a likeness between “Stay with Me” and the melody of “I Won’t Back Down.”


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Sam Smith

“Stay With Me”

From In The Lonely Hour

Capitol Records