Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Tom PettyVocals, guitar
Mike CampbellGuitar
Benmont TenchKeyboards
Ron BlairBass1975-1982
Stan LynchDrums1975-1994
Howie EpsteinBass1982-2002
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • The band formed in Gainesville, Florida, home of the University of Florida (The Gators). The first version of the band was called Mudcrutch, and included Petty and Campbell. They became popular in Florida, and occasionally played shows with another Florida band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. The only Mudcrutch song released was a single called "Depot Street."
  • Petty went by "Tommy Petty" until he started releasing albums - he went with "Tom Petty" because it looked better in print. Friends from before this time called him "Tommy."
  • When they made their album Hard Promises, MCA wanted to sell it for $9.98, which was $1 more than what most albums cost. Petty protested and threatened to name the album "$8.98," so the label backed off and released it at the lower price. Petty's vehemence in releasing the album at the $8.98 price is reflected on the Hard Promises album cover. In the lower right-hand corner, there are albums in a record bin. The album at the front of the right side of the bin shows the $8.98 price. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Karen - Sacramento, CA
  • The band appeared in the 1978 movie FM, which was the inspiration for the TV show WKRP In Cincinnati. Petty has also been in the movies Made In Heaven and The Postman.
  • In 1988, Petty joined Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and George Harrison in The Traveling Wilburys. Harrison and Orbison played on Petty's 1989 album Full Moon Fever, which was produced by Lynne. The band toured with Dylan in 1986. In an interview with Esquire magazine, Petty said: "The great thing about the Wilburys was that none of us had to take the heat by ourselves. I was just a member of the band. Nobody felt like he was above anybody else. We had such a good time."
  • Their first success was in the UK, where they toured as a support act for Nils Lofgren in 1977. This got them some TV appearances in Britain, and the single "Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll" reached #36 there that summer. It wasn't until February 1978 that they cracked the American Top 40 with "Breakdown."
  • In 1987, Petty's house was destroyed by fire in what was determined to be arson.
  • The albums Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers were credited as Tom Petty solo albums, but most of The Heartbreakers played on them.
  • Their videos have won several MTV Video Music Awards. In 1994, they received a Video Vanguard award for lifetime achievement.
  • Epstein died in 2003. Personal problems and drug addiction caused him to leave the band a year earlier, and it is likely that drugs played a role in his death.
  • The original Mudcrutch guitarist was Tom Leadon, brother of Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon. Tom Leadon left the band, but before his departure, Petty played bass.
  • For about two years starting in 1986, they toured with Bob Dylan as his backing band.
  • Petty appeared in The Simpsons 2002 episode "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation," where he shows Homer how to write lyrics. They come up with a song about a sexy girl walking down the street who is concerned with budget problems in public schools.
  • In 1999, the band received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • A seminal moment in Petty's life came when he was 11 years old and met Elvis Presley on the set of the movie Follow That Dream in Ocala, Florida. This is when Petty started playing guitar. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Stevie Lee - WSFR, Louisville, KY, for above 3
  • Petty disowned the group's 1999 album Echo, feeling it was not up to snuff. He said he was going through a divorce and in no condition to make an album, but a record was due and he was pressured to make it.
  • They signed their record deal with Shelter Records, but in 1979, Shelter was acquired by MCA, and Petty had a lot of problems working with the label. When it appeared Petty was in debt to MCA, he filed bankruptcy. MCA sued him, and they agreed to let Petty record under a label they set up specifically for him called Backstreet Records.
  • At the request of producer Rick Rubin, they backed Johnny Cash on his 1996 album Unchained. Petty considered it some of their best playing.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 10

  • Diane from Tuscaloosa, AlHappy Birthday (BIG 60) to Tom Petty born Octboer 20, 1950 in Gainesville, FL
  • Dillon from Wellington, New ZealandI hope tom dose a toure in new zealand I really whant to see him play his magic.

    My dad saw him with bob dylan and told me if tom ever came to go and see his concert.
  • Candy from Medford, OrI saw TP&THB in July 2006, The Highway Companion Tour. One of the best concerts I've been to. Tom is still so very sexy. I've read some interviews that he did and he has great morals and integrity, another reason I love him and his music.
  • Julian from Anaheim, CaI saw Tommy and The Heartbreakers on August, 20th, 2005. It was the best concert I've seen until I saw Mccartney on November, 26th, the same year. But Petty does put on a phenominal show. The best song was "Gloria" the classic Van Morrison song. His version is incredible.
  • Mel from Dayton, OhFunnily enough, I was at that same concert (June 14). Tom Petty just had a vibe to him, the concert was awesome.
  • Lindsay from Cincinnati, OhI went to Tom Petty's concert on June 14, 2005. It was the most AMAZING concert I've ever been to. Topped Aerosmith, which is pretty amazing. The Black Crowes opened for them, and their ALMOST as good as Tom Petty, but not quite. In my perspective at least. When he started singing "You Don't Know How It Feels", you could just smell that sweet smell. EVERYWHERE. It was so beautiful. Everyone so stoned, chanting his anthem. Simply, beautiful.
  • Frank from Olyphant, PaTom Petty is like a god. I just saw his concert on July 23, 2005 that was the best concert i ever went to
  • Loren from L.a, CaTom Petty saved Jim Laad's( famous DJ) job and held a concert in favor of Jim. Tom also wrote "Last DJ" about Jim
  • Alan from Singapore, SingaporeTom Petty took guitar lessons from Don Felder of The Eagles
  • Mike from Berkeley, CaPetty and the Heartbreakers were a great guitar band also. They were the backing band on what was probably Johnny Cash's GREATEST LP:"Unchained". If you want to hear a great guitar record, this is one of them, along with what were probably Cash's greates vocal performances.
see more comments

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

John ParrSongwriter Interviews

John tells the "St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" story and explains why he disappeared for so long.

Bass Player Scott EdwardsSong Writing

Scott was Stevie Wonder's bass player before becoming a top session player. Hits he played on include "I Will Survive," "Being With You" and "Sara Smile."

Randy HouserSongwriter Interviews

The "How Country Feels" singer talks Skynyrd and songwriting.

Gene Simmons of KissSongwriter Interviews

The Kiss rocker covers a lot of ground in this interview, including why there are no Kiss collaborations, and why the Rock Hall has "become a sham."

Vanessa CarltonSongwriter Interviews

The "A Thousand Miles" singer on what she thinks of her song being used in White Chicks and how she captured a song from a dream.