Jason Aldean
Screengrab via Twitter

Jason Aldean Opens Saturday Night Live with Powerful Cover of 'I Won't Back Down'


Jason Aldean was the surprise guest on tonight's (Oct. 7) episode of Saturday Night Live. In his first performance since the shooting during his headlining set at Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, he shared an inspiring message to those affected by the devastating attack.

"So many people are hurting. They're our children, parents, brothers, sisters... they're all part of our family." Aldean said. "We hurt for you, and we hurt with you. But you can be sure that 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."

Then, Aldean and his band performed a portion of Tom Petty's 1989 hit, "I Won't Back Down." Petty unexpectedly passed away just hours after the Route 91 Harvest Festival from unrelated cardiac arrest. The loss ran shockwaves through an already devastated music industry.

The trademark hit from Petty was incredibly powerful and fitting, representing Aldean and our country's strength and determination to keep going after a such an unimaginable tragedy.

Aldean cancelled his shows scheduled for this weekend after the shooting. He'll return to the stage for his first full performance since Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 12 in Tulsa, Okla.