Tom Petty is an American rock and roll singer and songwriter whose career focuses on classic rock and roll. Petty has been performing since the early 1970’s and, for most of this time, has been supported by his band, the Heartbreakers.
Tom Petty was born Thomas Earl Petty in Gainesville, Florida on October 20, 1950. Petty grew up near Gainesville and graduated from Gainesville High School in 1968. Petty was first inspired to pursue a career in music after seeing Elvis Presley film “Follow that Dream” close to Petty’s home town. Prior to the Heartbreakers, Petty played with The Sundowners which eventually turned into The Epics and then into Mudcrutch. Soon Petty, Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell, Ron Blair and Stan Lynch formed the Heartbreakers.
Petty and the Heartbreakers released their first rock and roll album titled Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in 1976. This debut album took about a year to become a full-fledged hit. Petty and the Heartbreakers second album, You’re Gonna Get It! was a huge it, but shortly after the release of this album, Petty was involved in a legal dispute with his record label which eventually led him to file for bankruptcy. The dispute was eventually settled and Petty and the Heartbreakers went on to release many more hit albums. Throughout the years to come, Petty and the Heartbreakers would become very well known for their classic American rock and roll.
Over the years, Petty has also worked with a number of other artists and stars. Petty recorded the duet “Insider” with Stevie Nicks. Petty and the Heartbreakers toured with Bob Dylan on Dylan’s True Confessions Tour in 1986 and 1987. Petty and the Heartbreakers performed a tour in 1989 which included the rock and roll band, The Replacements. Petty also worked with the band, the Traveling Wilburys, which included Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Roy Orbison.
Petty and the Heartbreakers are involved in many social causes including Greenpeace, AmFAR (the American Foundation for AIDS Research) and USA Harvest.
The current members of the Heartbreakers joining Tom Petty are Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Ron Blair, Steve Ferrone and Scott Thurston. Former members include Howie Epstein and Stan Lynch.
Music / Albums
Tom Petty has released a number of hit albums including: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976), You're Gonna Get It! (1978), Damn the Torpedoes (1979), Hard Promises (1981), Long After Dark (1982), Southern Accents (1985), Pack Up the Plantation: Live! (1986), Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) (1987), Full Moon Fever (1989), Into the Great Wide Open (1991), Greatest Hits (1993), Wildflowers (1994), Playback (1996), Songs and Music from “She’s the One” (1996), Echo (1999), Anthology: Through The Years (2000), The Last DJ (2002), Live at the Olympic: The Last DJ (2003), Highway Companion (2006).
After releasing Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and You’re Gonna Get It!, Petty’s third album, Damn the Torpedoes became a multi-platinum hit. Hard Promises was also a huge hit and included the hit single “The Waiting.” Petty took a break for awhile after releasing Long After Dark. When he returned, Petty and the Heartbreakers released Southern Accents which included the single “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” The video for “Don’t Come Around Here No More” included references to “Alice in Wonderland” and caused controversy with some feminist groups. Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) is a studio album that was made to sound like a live recording. Into the Great Wide Open includes the hit singles “Into the Great Wide Open” and “Learning to Fly.” Playback is a six CD box set of music by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers which includes some songs that appear on other albums and some songs that are demos and live tracks. Songs and Music from “She’s the One” was the soundtrack to the movie “She’s the One” with Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz. The album The Last DJ is understood to reflect Petty’s strong views on the modern music business. Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers and Highway Companion are Petty’s solo albums.
Tom Petty also released the following albums with The Traveling Wilburys: Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 (1988) and Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 (1990).
Tom Petty appeared on “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” in the late 1980’s. In 1987, Petty appeared in the movie “Made in Heaven” and in 1997, Petty appeared in the movie “The Postman.” In 2002, Petty voiced himself in an episode of the television show, “The Simpsons.” He has a role in the television show, “King of the Hill.” Petty hosts a show titled “Buried Treasure” on XM Radio.
Tom Petty has won numerous Grammy Awards. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were induced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Petty and the Heartbreakers have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In September 2006, Petty and the Heartbreakers received honorary keys to the City of Gainesville, Florida.
Petty is touring the United States in 2008 with the Heartbreakers .