Tom Petty

Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch. He was also a member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.

Petty recorded a number of hit singles with the Heartbreakers and as a solo artist. In his career, he sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.[1] He and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Petty died at the age of 66, of an accidental overuse of prescription drugs, one week after the completion of the Heartbreakers' 40th anniversary tour.[2]

Tom Petty
Tom Petty Live in Horsens (cropped2)
Petty performing in June 2012
Thomas Earl Petty

October 20, 1950
DiedOctober 2, 2017 (aged 66)
Cause of deathAccidental drug overdose
Other names
  • Charlie T. Wilbury Jr.
  • Muddy Wilbury
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • multi-instrumentalist
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active1968–2017
Jane Benyo
(m. 1974; div. 1996)

Dana York (m. 2001)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Associated acts

Early life

Petty was born October 20, 1950, in Gainesville, Florida, the first of two sons of Kitty (Katherine) Petty, a local tax office worker, and Earl Petty, who worked in a grocery store.[3][4][5] He had a brother, Bruce, who was seven years younger.[3] His interest in rock and roll music began at age ten when he met Elvis Presley.[6] In the summer of 1961, his uncle was working on the set of Presley's film Follow That Dream, in nearby Ocala, and invited Petty to watch the shoot.[7] He instantly became a Presley fan, and when he returned that Saturday, he was greeted by his friend Keith Harben, and soon traded his Wham-O slingshot for a collection of Elvis 45s.[8] Of that meeting with Presley, Petty said, "Elvis glowed."[9] In a 2006 interview, Petty said he knew he wanted to be in a band the moment he saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.[10] "The minute I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show—and it's true of thousands of guys—there was the way out. There was the way to do it. You get your friends and you're a self-contained unit. And you make the music. And it looked like so much fun. It was something I identified with. I had never been hugely into sports. ... I had been a big fan of Elvis. But I really saw in the Beatles that here's something I could do. I knew I could do it. It wasn't long before there were groups springing up in garages all over the place."[11] He dropped out of high school at age 17 to play bass with his newly formed band.[4]

In an interview with the CBC in 2014, Petty stated that the Rolling Stones were "my punk music".[12] He credited the group with inspiring him by demonstrating that he and musicians like him could make it in rock and roll.[12]

One of his first guitar teachers was Don Felder, a fellow Gainesville resident, who later joined the Eagles.[13][14] As a young man, Petty worked briefly on the grounds crew of the University of Florida, but never attended as a student. An Ogeechee lime tree that he allegedly planted while employed at the university is now called the Tom Petty tree (Petty stated that he did not recall planting any trees).[15][16][17] He also worked briefly as a gravedigger.[17]

Petty also overcame a difficult relationship with his father, who found it hard to accept that his son was "a mild-mannered kid who was interested in the arts" and subjected him to verbal and physical abuse on a regular basis. Petty was close to his mother and remained close to his brother, Bruce.[18][19][20]


1976–1987: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Shortly after embracing his musical aspirations, Petty started a band known as the Epics, later to evolve into Mudcrutch. The band included future Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench and was popular in Gainesville, but their recordings went unnoticed by a mainstream audience. Their only single, "Depot Street", released in 1975 by Shelter Records, failed to chart.[21]

After Mudcrutch split up, Petty reluctantly agreed to pursue a solo career. Tench decided to form his own group, whose sound Petty appreciated. Eventually, Petty and Campbell collaborated with Tench, Ron Blair and Stan Lynch, forming the first lineup of the Heartbreakers. Their eponymous debut album gained minute popularity amongst American audiences, achieving greater success in Britain. The single "Breakdown" was re-released in 1977, and peaked at No. 40 in early 1978 after the band toured in the United Kingdom in support of Nils Lofgren. The debut album was released by Shelter Records, which at that time was distributed by ABC Records.[22]

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 1977
Petty (center) with the Heartbreakers in 1977

Their second album, You're Gonna Get It!, was the band's first Top 40 album,[22] featuring the singles "I Need to Know" and "Listen to Her Heart". Their third album, Damn the Torpedoes, quickly went platinum, selling nearly two million copies; it includes their breakthrough singles "Don't Do Me Like That", "Here Comes My Girl" and "Refugee".[23]

In September 1979, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed at a Musicians United for Safe Energy concert at Madison Square Garden in New York.[24] Their rendition of "Cry to Me" was featured on the resulting album, No Nukes.[25]

The 4th album Hard Promises, released in 1981, became a top-ten hit, going platinum and spawning the hit single "The Waiting". The album also featured Petty's first duet, "Insider" with Stevie Nicks.[26]

Bass player Ron Blair quit the group and was replaced on the fifth album, Long After Dark (1982), by Howie Epstein; the resulting lineup lasted until 1994. In 1985, the band participated in Live Aid, playing four songs at John F. Kennedy Stadium, in Philadelphia. Southern Accents was also released in 1985. This album included the hit single "Don't Come Around Here No More", which was produced by Dave Stewart. The song's video featured Petty dressed as the Mad Hatter, mocking and chasing Alice from the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, then cutting and eating her as if she were a cake. The ensuing tour led to the live album Pack Up the Plantation: Live! and an invitation from Bob Dylan—Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers joined him on his True Confessions Tour. They also played some dates with the Grateful Dead in 1986 and 1987. Also in 1987, the group released Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) which includes "Jammin' Me" which Petty wrote with Dylan.[27]

1988–1991: Traveling Wilburys and solo career

In 1988, Petty joined George Harrison's group, the Traveling Wilburys, which also included Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. The band's first song, "Handle with Care", was intended as a B-side of one of Harrison's singles, but was judged too good for that purpose and the group decided to record a full album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1. A second Wilburys album, mischievously titled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 and recorded without the recently deceased Orbison, followed in 1990. The album was named Vol. 3 as a response to a series of bootlegged studio sessions being sold as Travelling Wilburys Vol. 2. Petty incorporated Traveling Wilburys songs into his live shows, consistently playing "Handle with Care" in shows from 2003 to 2006, and for his 2008 tour adding "surprises" such as "End of the Line" to the set list.[28]

In 1989, Petty released Full Moon Fever, which featured hits "I Won't Back Down", "Free Fallin'" and "Runnin' Down a Dream". It was nominally his first solo album, although several Heartbreakers and other well-known musicians participated: Mike Campbell co-produced the album with Petty and Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra, and backing musicians included Campbell, Lynne, and fellow Wilburys Roy Orbison and George Harrison (Ringo Starr appears on drums in the video for "I Won't Back Down", but they were actually performed by Phil Jones).[29]

Petty and the Heartbreakers reformed in 1991 and released Into the Great Wide Open, which was co-produced by Lynne and included the hit singles "Learning To Fly" and "Into the Great Wide Open", the latter featuring Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway in the music video.[30]

Before leaving MCA Records, Petty and the Heartbreakers got together to record, live in the studio, two new songs for a Greatest Hits package: "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air". This was Stan Lynch's last recorded performance with the Heartbreakers. Petty commented "He left right after the session without really saying goodbye." The package went on to sell over ten million copies, therefore receiving diamond certification by the RIAA.[31]

1991–2017: Move to Warner Bros. Records

In 1989, while still under contract to MCA, Petty secretly signed a lucrative deal with Warner Bros. Records, to which the Traveling Wilburys had been signed.[32] His first album on his new label, 1994's Wildflowers (Petty's second of three solo albums), included the singles "You Don't Know How It Feels", "You Wreck Me", "It's Good to Be King", and "A Higher Place". The album, produced by Rick Rubin, sold over three million copies in the United States.[31]

In 1996, Petty, with the Heartbreakers, released a soundtrack to the movie She's the One, starring Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston (see Songs and Music from "She's the One"). The album's singles were "Walls (Circus)" (featuring Lindsey Buckingham), "Climb that Hill", and a song written by Lucinda Williams, "Change the Locks". The album also included a cover of "Asshole", a song by Beck. The same year, the band accompanied Johnny Cash on Unchained (provisionally entitled "Petty Cash"), for which Cash would win a Grammy for Best Country Album (Cash would later cover Petty's "I Won't Back Down" on American III: Solitary Man).[33]

Tompetty indy
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performing live at the Verizon Amphitheatre, Indianapolis, 2006

In 1999, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their last album with Rubin at the helm, Echo. Two songs were released as singles in the U.S., "Room at the Top" and "Free Girl Now". The album reached number 10 in the U.S. album charts.[34]

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played "I Won't Back Down" at the America: A Tribute to Heroes benefit concert for victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The following year, they played "Taxman", "I Need You" and "Handle with Care" (joined for the last by Jeff Lynne, Dhani Harrison, and Jim Keltner) at the Concert for George in honor of Petty's friend and former bandmate George Harrison.[35]

Petty's 2002 release, The Last DJ, was an album-length critique of the practices within the music industry.[36] The title track, inspired by Los Angeles radio personality Jim Ladd, bemoaned the end of the freedom that radio DJs once had to personally select songs for their station's playlists.[36][37] The album peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200 album chart in the United States.[34]

In 2005, Petty began hosting his own show "Buried Treasure" on XM Satellite Radio, on which he shared selections from his personal record collection.[38]

Tom Petty
Petty performing at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia, 2006

In 2006, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers headlined the fifth annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival as part of their "30th Anniversary Tour". Special guests included Stevie Nicks, Pearl Jam, the Allman Brothers Band, Trey Anastasio, the Derek Trucks Band, and the Black Crowes. Nicks joined Petty and the Heartbreakers on stage for "a selection of songs" including "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around".[39][40]

In July 2006, Petty released a solo album titled Highway Companion, which included the hit "Saving Grace". It debuted at number four on the Billboard 200, which was Petty's highest chart position since the introduction of the Nielsen SoundScan system for tracking album sales in 1991. Highway Companion was briefly promoted on the tour with the Heartbreakers in 2006, with performances of "Saving Grace", "Square One", "Down South" and "Flirting with Time".[41]

During the summer of 2007, Petty reunited with his old bandmates Tom Leadon and Randall Marsh along with Heartbreakers Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell to reform his pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch. The band originally formed in 1970 in Gainesville, Florida, before relocating to California where they released one single in 1975 before breaking up. The quintet recorded an album of 14 songs that was released on April 29, 2008 (on iTunes, an additional song "Special Place" was available if the album was pre-ordered). The band supported the album with a brief tour of California in the spring of 2008.[42]

Tom Petty 2016 - Jun 20
Petty performing in San Francisco in 2016

In 2007, Petty and the Heartbreakers’ contributed a cover of "I'm Walkin'" to the album Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino. The album's sales helped buy instruments for students in New Orleans public schools and they contributed to the building of a community center in the city's Hurricane Katrina-damaged Ninth Ward.[43]

On February 3, 2008, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed during the halftime-show of Super Bowl XLII at the University of Phoenix Stadium. They played "American Girl", "I Won't Back Down", "Free Fallin'" and "Runnin' Down a Dream".[44] That summer, the band toured North America with Steve Winwood as the opening act. Winwood joined Petty and the Heartbreakers on stage at select shows and performed his Spencer Davis Group hit "Gimme Some Lovin'", and occasionally he performed his Blind Faith hit "Can't Find My Way Home". In November 2009 the boxed set The Live Anthology, a compilation of live recordings from 1978 to 2006, was released.

The band's twelfth album Mojo was released on June 15, 2010, and reached number two on the Billboard 200 album chart.[34] Petty described the album as "Blues-based. Some of the tunes are longer, more jam-y kind of music. A couple of tracks really sound like the Allman Brothers—not the songs but the atmosphere of the band."[45] To promote the record, the band appeared as the musical guests on Saturday Night Live on May 15, 2010.[46] The release of Mojo was followed by a North American summer tour. Prior to the tour, five of the band's guitars, including two owned by Petty, were stolen from their practice space in Culver City, California in April 2010. The items were recovered by Los Angeles police the next week.[47]

In 2012, the band went on a world tour that included their first European dates in 20 years and their first ever concerts in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.[48][49]

On July 29, 2014, Reprise Records released Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' thirteenth studio album, Hypnotic Eye. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, becoming the first Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album to ever top the chart.[50] On November 20, 2015, the Tom Petty Radio channel debuted on SiriusXM.[51]

In 2017, the Heartbreakers embarked on a 40th Anniversary Tour of the United States.[52] The tour began on April 20 in Oklahoma City and ended on September 25 with a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California.[52][53] The Hollywood Bowl concert, which would ultimately be the Heartbreakers' final show, ended with a performance of "American Girl".[54]

On September 28, 2018, Reprise Records released An American Treasure, a 60-track career-spanning box set featuring dozens of previously unreleased recordings, alternate versions of classic songs, rarities, historic live performances and deep tracks. The box set was preceded by the first single, "Keep A Little Soul", in July 2018. The song is an unreleased outtake originally recorded in 1982 during the Long After Dark sessions.[55]


Petty's first appearance in film took place in 1978, when he had a cameo in FM.[56] He later had a small part in 1987's Made in Heaven and appeared in several episodes of It's Garry Shandling's Show between 1987 and 1990, playing himself as one of Garry Shandling's neighbors.[56] Petty was also featured in Shandling's other show, The Larry Sanders Show, as one of the Story within a story final guests. In the episode, Petty gets bumped from the show and nearly comes to blows with Greg Kinnear.[57]

Petty appeared in the 1997 film The Postman, directed by and starring Kevin Costner, as the Bridge City Mayor (from the dialogue it is implied that he is playing a future history version of himself).[56] In 2002, he appeared on The Simpsons in the episode "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation", along with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, and Brian Setzer. In it, Petty spoofed himself as a tutor to Homer Simpson on the art of lyric writing, composing a brief song about a drunk girl driving down the road while concerned with the state of public schools. Later in the episode, he loses a toe during a riot.[58]

Petty had a recurring role as the voice of Elroy "Lucky" Kleinschmidt in the animated comedy series King of the Hill from 2004 to 2009.[56] In 2010, Petty made a five-second cameo appearance with comedian Andy Samberg in a musical video titled "Great Day" featured on the bonus DVD as part of The Lonely Island's new album Turtleneck & Chain.[59]

Views on artistic control

Petty was known as a staunch guardian of his artistic control and artistic freedom. In 1979, he was involved in a legal dispute when ABC Records was sold to MCA Records. He refused to be transferred to another record label without his consent. In May 1979, he filed for bankruptcy and was signed to the new MCA subsidiary Backstreet Records.[60]

In early 1981, the upcoming Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, which would become Hard Promises, was slated to be the next MCA release with the new list price of $9.98, following Steely Dan's Gaucho and the Olivia Newton-John/Electric Light Orchestra Xanadu soundtrack. This so-called "superstar pricing" was $1.00 more than the usual list price of $8.98.[61] Petty voiced his objections to the price hike in the press and the issue became a popular cause among music fans. Non-delivery of the album and naming it Eight Ninety-Eight were considered, but eventually MCA decided against the price increase.[62]

In 1987, Petty sued tire company B.F. Goodrich for $1 million for using a song very similar to his song "Mary's New Car" in a TV commercial. The ad agency that produced the commercial had previously sought permission to use Petty's song but was refused.[63] A judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting further use of the ad and the suit was later settled out of court.[64]

Some have claimed that the Red Hot Chili Peppers single "Dani California", released in May 2006, is very similar to Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance".[65][66] Petty told Rolling Stone Magazine, "I seriously doubt that there is any negative intent there. And a lot of rock 'n' roll songs sound alike. Ask Chuck Berry. The Strokes took 'American Girl' for their song 'Last Nite', and I saw an interview with them where they actually admitted it. That made me laugh out loud. I was like, 'OK, good for you' ... If someone took my song note for note and stole it maliciously, then maybe [I'd sue]. But I don't believe in lawsuits much. I think there are enough frivolous lawsuits in this country without people fighting over pop songs."[67]

In January 2015, it was revealed that Petty and Jeff Lynne would receive royalties from Sam Smith's song "Stay with Me" after its writers acknowledged similarities between it and "I Won't Back Down". Petty and co-composer Lynne were awarded 12.5% of the royalties from "Stay with Me", and their names were added to the ASCAP song credit.[68] Petty clarified that he did not believe Smith plagiarized him, saying, "All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen. Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by. Sam's people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement".[69]

Personal life

Petty married Jane Benyo in 1974, and they divorced in 1996.[4] Benyo once told mutual friend Stevie Nicks that she had met Petty at "the age of seventeen". Nicks misheard Benyo's North Florida accent, inspiring the title of her song "Edge of Seventeen".[70] Petty and Benyo had two daughters: Adria, a director, and Annakim, an artist.[71] In 2015, Petty publicly disclosed that he had struggled with heroin addiction following the end of his first marriage.[72] Petty married Dana York on June 3, 2001,[73] and had a stepson, Dylan, from York's earlier marriage.[71]

In May 1987, an arsonist set fire to Petty's house in Encino, California. Firefighters were able to salvage the basement recording studio and the original tapes stored there, as well as his Gibson Dove acoustic guitar. His signature gray top hat, however, was destroyed. Petty later rebuilt the house with fire-resistant materials.[74][75]

Petty spoke in 2014 of the benefits from his practice of Transcendental Meditation.[76]


Petty was found unconscious at his home, not breathing and in full cardiac arrest, early in the morning of Monday, October 2, 2017. He was resuscitated and taken to the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, where he died at 8:40pm PDT, (3:40am GMT), eighteen days away from his 67th birthday.[77]

After reports of Petty's hospitalization, premature reports of his death spread quickly and widely,[78][79] and without official denial or confirmation, continued throughout the day until the band's management issued official confirmation shortly after Petty's actual death Monday evening.[80] While the official announcement said Petty collapsed early Monday morning, original reports claimed the incident happened Sunday night.[81]

On October 16, 2017, a memorial service was held at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades.[82]

On January 19, 2018, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced that Petty had died accidentally from mixed drug toxicity,[83] a combination of fentanyl, oxycodone, acetylfentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl (all opioids); temazepam and alprazolam (both sedatives); and citalopram (an antidepressant).[84]

In a statement on his official website, Petty's wife and daughter said he had multiple medical problems, including emphysema, knee difficulties "and most significantly a fractured hip". He was prescribed pain medication for these issues and informed on the day of his death that his hip had graduated to a full break. The statement read, "[it] is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication.[..] We feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident".[85]

On September 28, 2018, four days before the first anniversary of his death, Petty's wife Dana gave an interview to Billboard about her husband's death saying that Petty put off hip surgery his doctors had recommended for some time. "He would do anything to help anyone – his bandmates, the crew, the fans – and that's why he did the last tour with a fractured hip. He was adamant. He found out a few days before the tour was gonna start – and that he had emphysema." Dana said that he was relying on drugs on the road to keep his hip pain under control but was looking forward to not needing them anymore. "That's why he wouldn't go to the hospital when his hip broke. He'd had it in mind it was his last tour and he owed it to his long-time crew, from decades some of them, and his fans." Dana said that Petty was in a good mood the day before his death, excited about the future saying, "He had those three shows in L.A. and the day before he died he was pounding his chest going, 'I'm on top of the world!' Never had he been so proud of himself, so happy, so looking forward to the future – and then he's gone."[86]


Petty owned and used a number of guitars over the years. From 1976 to 1982, his main instrument was a sunburst 1964 Fender Stratocaster. He also used a number of Rickenbacker guitars from 1979 onward, notably a 1965 Rose Morris 1993 and 1987 reissue of the Rose Morris 1997, a 1967 360/12 and 1989 660/12TP. The Rickenbacker 660/12TP was designed by Petty (specifically the neck) and featured his signature from 1991 to 1997.[87]

For acoustic guitars, Petty had a signature C.F. Martin HD-40, and wrote virtually all of his songs on a Gibson Dove acoustic saved from his 1987 house fire. He also used a Gibson J-200 in a natural finish and a late 1970s Guild D25 12-string acoustic.

Petty's later amplifier setup featured two Fender Vibro-King 60-watt combos.[88]

Awards and honors

In 1994, You Got Lucky, a Petty tribute album featuring such bands as Everclear and Silkworm was released.[89]

In April 1996, Petty received UCLA's George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement.[90] The next month, Petty won the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers' Golden Note Award.[90][91]

Tom Petty Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame star

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999, for their contribution to the recording industry.[92]

In December 2001, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York.[93]

Petty received the Billboard Century Award, the organization's highest honor for creative achievement, at a ceremony on December 6, 2005, during the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.[94][95]

In September 2006, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers received the keys to the city of Gainesville, Florida, where he and his bandmates either lived or grew up.[96] From July 2006 until 2007 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, featured an exhibit of Tom Petty items; much of the content was donated by Petty during a visit to his home by some of the Hall's curatorial staff.[97]

Peter Bogdanovich's documentary film on Petty's career titled Runnin' Down a Dream premiered at the New York Film Festival in October 2007.[98]

Petty was honored as MusiCares Person of the Year in February 2017 for his contributions to music and for his philanthropy.[99]

In October 2018, on what would have been the singer's 68th birthday, the city of Gainesville renamed the former Northeast Park, a park where a young Petty had often visited, as Tom Petty Park.[100]


Year Title Role Notes
1978 FM Himself
1987 Made in Heaven Stanky
1996 She's the One N/A Soundtrack
1997 The Postman Bridge City Mayor
Year Title Role Notes
1979–2010 Saturday Night Live! Himself (musical guest) 8 episodes
— "Buck Henry/Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers" (1979)
— "Howard Hesseman/Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers" (1983)
— "Steve Martin/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers" (1989)
— "Kirstie Alley/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers" (1992)
— "John Turturro/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers" (1994)
— "Tom Hanks/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers" (1996)
— "John Goodman/Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers" (1999)
— "Alec Baldwin/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers" (2010)
1987–89 It's Garry Shandling's Show. Himself 4 episodes
— "It's Gary Shandling's Christmas Show" (1987)
— "No Baby, No Show" (1987)
— "Vegas: Part 1" (1989)
— "Vegas: Part 2" (1989)
1989 Biography Himself (interviewee) Episode: "Johnny Cash: The Man in Black"
1998 The Larry Sanders Show Himself Episode: "Flip"
1999 Behind the Music Himself Episode: "Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers"
2002 The Simpsons Himself (voice role) Episode: "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation"
2004–09 King of the Hill Lucky / Mud Dobber (voice role) recurring role (28 episodes)
2008 Super Bowl XLII Himself Halftime show
Credited as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers



with the Heartbreakers

with the Traveling Wilburys

with Mudcrutch

See also


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  2. ^ Grow, Kory (January 20, 2018). "Tom Petty's Cause of Death: Accidental Overdose". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Sweeting, Adam (October 3, 2017). "Tom Petty obituary". The Guardian.
  4. ^ a b c "Tom Petty: Music Producer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Singer (1950–2017)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  5. ^ DeYoung, Bill (July 27, 2004). "Tom Petty, Musician". The Gainesville Sun.
  6. ^ Sager, Mike (June 30, 2006). "What I've Learned: Tom Petty". Esquire. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
  7. ^ Dean, Bill (August 16, 2007). "Tom Petty's Life Changed When He Met Elvis". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
  8. ^ Newman, Melinda (November 28, 2005). "Tom Petty: A Portrait of the Artist". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 3, 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
  9. ^ George-Warren, Holly (2000). "Southern Gallery: Tom Petty." Oxford American: A Magazine of the South 34 (July/August 2000).
  10. ^ "Tom Petty Knows 'How It Feels'". Fresh Air. NPR. July 27, 2006. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
  11. ^ Crandall, Bill (February 6, 2014). "10 Musicians Who Saw the Beatles Standing There". CBS News.
  12. ^ a b "Tom Petty: Rolling Stones Were 'My Punk Music'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  13. ^ Felder, Don (2008). Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles. Wiley. P. 28. ISBN 978-0-470-28906-8.
  14. ^ "Gibson Guitars Interview with Don Felder". Gibson. June 24, 2008. Archived from the original on August 31, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  15. ^ Machen, Bernie (September 6, 2006). "September 13, 2006 Speech to Campus Community Council". University of Florida Office of the President. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2008.
  16. ^ "Tom Petty Gets Key to Gainesville, Fla". Fox News Channel. November 22, 2006. Archived from the original on April 6, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  17. ^ a b Pedersen, Erik (April 17, 2011). "Tom Petty Discusses Influences, Career During SiriusXM Q&A Session". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  18. ^ DeYoung, Bill. "Full Steam Ahead". Goldmine July 13, 1990.
  19. ^ Zollo, Paul (2005). Conversations with Tom Petty. pp. 8–15. ISBN 1-84449-815-8.
  20. ^ Runnin' Down a Dream (2007). Documentary film by Peter Bogdanovich.
  21. ^ Greenberg, Rudi (June 7, 2016). "Tom Petty Turned Back the Clock with Mudcrutch at the 9:30 Club in D.C. on June 6". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
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  23. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: History of the Band". Mudcrutch Farm. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
  24. ^ Finn, Natalie (October 23, 2007). "Raitt, Browne & Nash Rerock Against Nukes". E!. Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
  25. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "No Nukes: Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
  26. ^ Beviglia, Jim (February 10, 2016). "Behind The Song: Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers". American Songwriter. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  27. ^ "Jammin' Me: Review". AllMusic. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  28. ^ Graff, Gary (June 4, 2008). "Tom Petty / May 31, 2008 / Auburn Hills, Mich. (The Palace)". Billboard. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  29. ^ "Readers' Poll: Tom Petty's 10 Best Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  30. ^ Patridge, Kenneth. "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' 'Into the Great Wide Open' at 25: Classic Track-by-Track Album Lookback". Billboard. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
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External links

American Girl (Tom Petty song)

"American Girl" is a rock song written by Tom Petty and recorded by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for their self-titled debut album in 1976. It was released as a single and did not chart in the United States, but peaked at No. 40 in the UK for the week ending August 27, 1977. It was re-released in 1994 as the second single from Petty's Greatest Hits album and peaked at No. 68 in the U.S. Cash Box Top 100.Despite limited chart success, American Girl became one of Petty's most popular songs and a staple of classic rock. It has been consistently rated as his best song and one of the best rock songs of all time, and has been called "more than a classic rock standard — it's practically part of the American literary canon." It has also been used in several movies and television shows, often during a scene in which a character, much like the protagonist in the song's lyrics, is "longing for something bigger than their current existence."American Girl was the last song performed in concert by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. They played it to close out the encore of their performance on September 25, 2017 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California, the final concert of their 40th Anniversary Tour. Petty died of complications from cardiac arrest after an accidental prescription medication overdose on October 2, just more than a week later.

Benmont Tench

Benjamin Montmorency "Benmont" Tench III (born September 7, 1953) is an American musician and singer, best known as a founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Breakdown (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song)

"Breakdown" is the first single from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' self-titled debut album. It became a Top 40 hit in the United States and Canada.Played live, Petty sometimes incorporated "Breakdown" with Ray Charles's "Hit the Road Jack". A live recording of this variation appears on The Live Anthology.

Don't Come Around Here No More

"Don't Come Around Here No More" is a song written by Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and David A. Stewart of Eurythmics. It was released in February 1985 as the lead single from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Southern Accents album.

Echo (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album)

Echo is the tenth studio album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Released in April 1999, the album reached number 10 on the Billboard 200 aided by singles "Free Girl Now," "Swingin'" and "Room at the Top," which hit numbers 5, 17 and 19 respectively on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks in 1999. The album was the band's last collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, and was also the last to feature contributions from longtime bassist/vocalist Howie Epstein, who died of a heroin overdose in 2003. Despite still being a member of the band, Epstein is missing from the album's cover photo because he failed to show up for the photo shoot, and Petty ordered it to commence without him. Echo was certified Gold (500,000 copies sold) by the RIAA in July 1999, only three months after it was released. Echo is the only Heartbreakers' album to feature a lead vocal from another member of the band: Mike Campbell on "I Don't Wanna Fight."

"Free Girl Now" is also notable for being the second single by a major artist to be made available for free internet download in MP3 format by the artist. Petty's marketing decision caused concern at Warner Bros., and the download was pulled after two days, but propagated thanks to services like Napster.

Free Fallin'

"Free Fallin'" is the opening track from Tom Petty's debut solo album, Full Moon Fever (1989). The song was written by Petty and his writing partner for the album, Jeff Lynne, and features Lynne on backing vocals and bass guitar. The duo wrote and recorded the single in two days, making it the first song completed for Full Moon Fever.

"Free Fallin'" is one of Petty's most famous tracks as well as his longest-charting. It peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in January 1990. Petty and The Heartbreakers performed the song at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1989, with Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin, and at the February 2008 Super Bowl XLII Halftime Show. The song is ranked #179 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was featured in the film Jerry Maguire (1996) and The Sopranos episode 2.13, "Funhouse" (2000). Lou Reed selected the song as one of his "picks of 1989". The song was #2 on the Spotify Global Viral 50 following the death of Petty.

Greatest Hits (Tom Petty album)

Greatest Hits is a compilation album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released in 1993. It is Petty's best-selling album to date and was certified 12× Platinum by the RIAA on April 28, 2015. The single "Mary Jane's Last Dance" became one of Petty's most popular songs, reaching No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The other new song on the album is a cover of the Thunderclap Newman hit "Something in the Air". The album contains no songs from 1987's Let Me Up (I've Had Enough). However, three songs from Petty's 1989 solo album Full Moon Fever were included.

On its original release in November 1993, the album debuted at No. 8 on Billboard 200, and first peaked at No. 5 on the chart in February 1994. It reached a new peak of No. 2 following Petty's death in 2017.The new tracks "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "Something in the Air" would prove to be the band's last recordings with drummer Stan Lynch.

Into the Great Wide Open

Into the Great Wide Open is the eighth studio album by American rock band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, first released in 1991. The album was the band's last with MCA Records. The album was the second Petty produced with Jeff Lynne after the success of Full Moon Fever.

The first single, "Learning to Fly", became the band's joint longest-running No. 1 single (along with "The Waiting" from 1981's Hard Promises) on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, spending six weeks at the top spot. The second single, "Out in the Cold", also made No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, albeit for two weeks.

The music video for the title song starred Johnny Depp, who had moved to Los Angeles as a teenager to seek rock stardom, along with Gabrielle Anwar, Faye Dunaway, Matt LeBlanc, Terence Trent D'Arby and Chynna Phillips.

Learning to Fly (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song)

"Learning to Fly" is a song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It was written in 1991 by Tom Petty and his writing partner Jeff Lynne for the album Into the Great Wide Open. The entire song is based on only four simple chords, (F, C, A minor, and G). It became a top hit for Petty and the Heartbreakers. It is unrelated to the Pink Floyd song of the same name that came out 4 years earlier.

Mike Campbell (musician)

Michael Wayne Campbell (born February 1, 1950) is an American guitarist, songwriter, and record producer. Campbell was a member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and co-wrote many of the band's hits with Petty, including "Refugee", "Here Comes My Girl", "You Got Lucky", and "Runnin' Down a Dream". His work outside the group includes composing and playing on the Don Henley hit "The Boys of Summer". On April 9, 2018, Fleetwood Mac announced that Campbell would be joining the band along with Neil Finn to replace lead guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.

Refugee (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song)

"Refugee" is a song recorded by American rock band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It was released in January 1980 as the second single from their album Damn the Torpedoes. It peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1980. The song is in compound AABA form.

Runnin' Down a Dream

"Runnin' Down a Dream" is a song co-written and recorded by Tom Petty. It was released in July, 1989 as the second single from his first solo album Full Moon Fever. "Runnin' Down a Dream" achieved reasonable chart success, reaching number 23 both in Canada and on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the top of the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. It has since garnered significant airplay on classic rock stations, and lent its name to the 2007 documentary on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Runnin' Down a Dream (film)

Runnin' Down a Dream is a 2007 documentary film about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, directed by Peter Bogdanovich. The 4-hour documentary chronicles the history of the band, from its inception as Mudcrutch, right up to the 30th-anniversary concert in Petty's home town of Gainesville, Florida, on September 21, 2006, at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, University of Florida. The film features interviews with George Harrison, Eddie Vedder, Stevie Nicks, Dave Grohl, Jeff Lynne, Rick Rubin, Johnny Depp, Jackson Browne and more. Petty's solo career is also touched on, as is his time with The Traveling Wilburys.

The film was commercially released as part of a four-disc box set. The film spanned the first two discs, while the 30th anniversary concert and a CD of rare tracks were the components of the remaining two discs. On October 28, 2008, a two-disc version set of the film, featuring previously unreleased bonus performances, but not the Gainesville concert or audio CD, was released to the public. Runnin' Down a Dream was released on Blu-ray Disc on November 15, 2010.

Temples in Flames Tour

Temples in Flames Tour was a concert tour by Bob Dylan. He was supported on the tour by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The tour started with two concerts in Israel and covered various European countries, culminating in four concerts at Wembley Arena in London, England.Roger McGuinn was the opening act for this tour (who was also supported by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers).This was the last time that Dylan has toured with Tom Petty and the last tour before beginning the Never Ending Tour. Dylan and Petty briefly united in Holmdel, New Jersey in the summer of 2003.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (alternately Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) were an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. Formed in 1976, the band originally comprised Tom Petty (lead singer, guitar), Mike Campbell (lead guitarist), Ron Blair (bass guitar), Stan Lynch (drums), and Benmont Tench (keyboards). In 1981, Blair, weary of the touring lifestyle, departed the band. His replacement, Howie Epstein, stayed with the band for the next two decades. In 1991, Scott Thurston joined the band as a multi-instrumentalist—mostly on rhythm guitar and second keyboards. Blair returned to the Heartbreakers in 2002, the year before Epstein's death. In 1994, Steve Ferrone replaced Lynch on drums. The band is best known for the hit singles "American Girl", "Breakdown", "The Waiting", "Learning to Fly", "Refugee" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance".

The band's music has been characterized as both Southern rock and heartland rock, cited alongside artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, and John Mellencamp as progenitors of that genre that arose in the late 1970s and 1980s. While the heartland rock movement waned in the 1990s, the band remained active and popular, touring regularly until Petty's death in 2017, after which the Heartbreakers disbanded. Their final studio album, Hypnotic Eye, was released in 2014.

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, their first year of eligibility. Although most of their material was produced and performed under the name "The Heartbreakers", Petty released three solo albums, the most successful of which was Full Moon Fever (1989). In these releases, some members of the band contributed as collaborators, producing and performing as studio musicians.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (album)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is the debut album by the band of the same name, released on November 9, 1976 by Shelter Records. The album was recorded and mixed at the Shelter Studio in Hollywood, California.

Tom Petty discography

This is the discography of Tom Petty, who was an American singer, songwriter and musician. Petty released 13 studio albums as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in addition to three solo albums.

Unchained (Johnny Cash album)

Unchained, also known as American II: Unchained, is the second album in Johnny Cash's American Recordings series (and his 82nd overall). It was released on November 5, 1996, by American Recordings. Like all of Cash's albums for American Recordings, Unchained was produced by Rick Rubin. The album received a Grammy for Best Country Album and Cash was nominated for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of "Rusty Cage".

Wildflowers (Tom Petty album)

Wildflowers is the second solo studio album by American musician Tom Petty, released on November 1, 1994. The album was the first released by Petty after signing a contract with Warner Bros. Records (where he had recorded as part of the Traveling Wilburys) and the first of three albums produced by Rick Rubin. The album was certified 3× platinum in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Tom Petty
Studio albums
Other songs
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