Rock legend Tom Petty was born in Gainesville, Fla Oct. 20, 1952. When he was 17, Petty dropped out of high school to join the band Mudcrutch with keyboardist Benmont Tench and guitarist Mike Campbell. The trio moved to California, renamed the group Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and added drummer Stan Lynch and bassist Ron Blair. Under contract with Shelter Records, they released Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1976. Their success initiated in England, and the band toured the UK before being recognized in the US with the single, Breakdown. Together, the band composed ten albums of Petty’s songs including Don’t Do Me Like That, (Damn the Torpedoes, 1979), Don‘t Come Around Here No More (Southern Accents, 1985), and American Girl, which was used in the movies, Silence of the Lambs and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
In 1988, Petty became a member of the super-group, the Traveling Wilburys, with superstars Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison. Lynch left the Heartbreakers, and Petty rejoined to make the “She’s the One” soundtrack in 1996. In 2002, the band fired Howie Epstein who eventually died of a reported drug overdose. Petty made his first solo effort in 1989 with the successful album, Full Moon Fever.
Petty as a solo artist and as a band member has reaped in the honors including several Grammy awards, MTV award nominations, and the induction into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. With so many great albums, it is no wonder why this man is a Gainesville legend.
The Heartbreakers’ 2005 tour is not in support of an album; it is merely to reunite a band that has blessed the world with 20 years of Rock and Roll.
Visit Petty's Web site at:tompetty.com
Tom Petty, Heartbreakers to rock U. South FloridaUniversity Wire (June 9, 2005)