Tom Petty


Tom Petty (born 20.10.1950)

Tom Petty is an American rock 'n' roll songwriter and singer. He has played in a number of bands, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch.

Tom Petty: Childhood

Tom Petty was born in Gainesville, Florida, where he attended Gainesville High School. At the age of 10, Petty met the celebrated rock 'n' roll star, Elvis Presley and thus began his love of music. Another defining moment for Petty was watching The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. One of Petty's first guitar tutors was Don Felder, later a member of The Eagles.

Tom Petty: Musical Career

When his involvement with his early bands (The Epics, The Sundowners and Mudcrutch) had ceased, Petty began working with The Heartbreakers. In 1976, they released their debut album on Shelter Records, titled Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. The line-up of the band was Ron Blair, Benmont Tench, Stan Lynch and Mike Campbell.

The Heartbreakers' second album, You're Gonna Get It! became their first Top 40 album, whilst its follow-up Damn the Torpedoes went platinum and sold almost two million copies. It was this album that launched their breakthrough tracks, 'Refugee' and 'Don't Do Me Like That.'

In 1981, the band released Hard Promises, which became a Top 10 hit and featured a duet with Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, entitled 'Insider.'

By the time of The Heartbreakers' fifth studio album, Long After Dark (1982), Ron Blair had left the band and had been replaced by Howie Epstein. They performed at 1985's Live Aid concert in Philadelphia. The band's next album, Southern Accents, launched the Dave Stewart-produced 'Don't Come Around Here No More.' Bob Dylan invited the band to support him on his True Confessions Tour and they also played with The Grateful Dead in 1986-7. In 1987, the band released 'Jammin' Me', which was co-written by Petty and Dylan. It was included on the album Let Me Up (I've Had Enough).

Along with George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Bob Dylan, Tom Petty founded Traveling Wilburys. The band's debut album, Traveling Wilburys Vol.1 was released, followed by the confusingly-titled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, which was recorded without Orbison, as he had passed away by that point in time.

As a solo artist, Tom Petty released Full Moon Fever in 1989. Most of Traveling Wilburys, apart from Bob Dylan, appeared on the album so many fans consider it to be an unofficial Wilburys album. For his next album release, Petty rejoined The Heartbreakers and released Into The Great Wide Open in 1991. The single of the same name featured Faye Dunaway, Johnny Depp and Matt Le Blanc in the video.

Tom Petty signed a secret deal with Warner Bros. in 1989, despite still being signed to MCA. In 1994, Warner Bros. released Wildflowers, with Rick Rubin on production duties. The album sold over three million copies in the USA alone.

Petty's next venture with the Heartbreakers was the soundtrack to She's The One, which starred Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston. Also featured on the album were Lindsey Buckingham (on 'Walls (Circus)', a song entitled 'Change the Locks', written by Lucinda Williams and a cover of Beck's 'Asshole.'

The band joined up with Rubin again to record Echo, which spawned the singles 'Free Girl Now' and 'Room At The Top.'

In 2002, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released The Last DJ, which featured a number of attacks on the music industry.

In 2007, Mudcrutch, one of Petty's early bands, reunited and released an album in April 2008.

Tom Petty: TV Appearances

Tom Petty has appeared as a voice actor in The Simpsons, as well as in his recurring role in King of the Hill as a character named Lucky.

Tom Petty: Personal Life

In 1999, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were awarded a star upon Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

In 1987, Tom Petty's house was ruined by an arson attack. The basement studio was unharmed.

Tom Petty was married to Jane Benyo for 22 years. They had two daughters together, Adria and Anna Kim.

In 2001, Petty married Dana York.

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17th May 2013 -


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This year’s Bonnaroo Festival takes place in Manchester, Tennessee, on June 13-16 and the lineup is boasting some pretty heavyweight talent, with the likes of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Mumford & Sons and Sir...

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PettyFan's picture


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakrs is the best band that has ever played. Tom Petty is the best musician, Campbell is an unbelieveable guitar player, Tench is great on keyboards, Thurston is great on vocals and guitar, ferrone is unbelieveable drumer and blair (on the occasion he plays) is a great Heartbreaker. TOM PETTY IS THE BEST. KEEP IT UP TOM!!!! CAN'T WAIT UNTIL HIGHWAY COMPANION.

8 years 7 months ago
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mediaman2004's picture


I must agree. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are the best! I've seen them only 7 times, but this last time at the DTE in Clarkston, MI was the ULTIMATE!!! I was in second row center stage. At the end of the show, TP and HB walked up to the front of the stage to take their bows. I held my hand out, and Tom tossed his guitar pick to me. Hit my hand, but picked it up quickly! 30th anniversary Heartbreaker pick. That's my new guitar pick I record with now!! (for luck(?)). Yeah! What a way to see a (possibly my last) Tom Petty concert! Ya gotta come back, Tommy!

8 years 2 weeks ago
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