Jason Aldean opens Saturday Night Live with tributes to Tom Petty and Las Vegas dead

Country star Jason Aldean opened American TV show Saturday Night Live with a tribute to Tom Petty and the victims of the Las Vegas festival massacre.

Aldean was onstage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last weekend (01Oct17) when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the audience, killing 59 people and injuring more than 500 others.

The singer/songwriter scrapped a string of California dates this weekend as a mark of respect to the victims, but hit the SNL stage on Saturday for a special double tribute.

He performed I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty, who died on Monday (02Oct17) after suffering a cardiac arrest, as music fans were still coming to terms with the Las Vegas tragedy.

Wearing a black shirt and a black cowboy hat, a sombre Aldean 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."

Prior to this week's Saturday Night Live, NBC bosses aired a 1979 episode, which featured Tom Petty as musical guest.

Ironically, the new show's musical guest was Sam Smith, who agreed to credit Petty and Jeff Lynne as co-writers of his 2015 hit Stay With Me after Petty’s publishing company bosses argued the song was very similar to the rocker's I Won’t Back Down.

Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot was the show's guest host.

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