Success Stories

While Gainesville is known for local, underground music, some pretty big names have come from the area. Tom Petty, members of The Eagles, Less Than Jake and Against Me! are all from the city.

Let the successes of these artists give you hope!

Tom Petty

Tom Petty is often recognized as one of the most influential artists in music history. His career has lasted through generations and genre shifts. While his songs are well-known, his Gainesville background isn't. Petty was born and raised in the area and even worked on the grounds crew for the University of Florida. In fact, a lime tree he planted on campus is now called "The Tom Petty Tree."

Some songs by the artist are often believed to reference Gainesville. There is an urban legend surrounding the lyrics to Petty's song "American Girl".

"Well, it was kind of cold that night

She stood alone on her balcony

Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by

Out on 441 like waves crashin' on the beach"

The legend says that Petty wrote this song about a girl who was rumored to have jumped from the top floor of Beaty Towers, a dorm at UF.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers performing "It's Good To Be King" in Gainesville, FL (2006)

Against Me!

Against Me! is an alternative band from Gainesville, Fla. Their first full-length album was released with No Idea Records, a local record label. They're known as one of the focal points of the "Gainesville Punk Scene." When Against Me! started receiving a lot of radio attention, Gainesville's music scene was brought to the forefront again.

Against Me! is also known for referencing Florida in a lot of their music.

Thrash Unreal- Against Me! (4:18)

Sink, Florida, Sink- Against Me! (2:41)

The Eagles

Perhaps the least known for being from Gainesville are members of the Eagles. Bernie Leadon and Don Felder are both from the area. Don Felder, in fact, was Tom Petty's first-ever guitar teacher.

The Eagles performing "Hotel California" at the 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction.

Less Than Jake

Less Than Jake are often considered the godfathers of ska music. Their music is highly revered in the industry and the band members are looked up to by many musicians. The band proudly boasts their origins in Gainesville, Fla. In fact, their latest album is titled "GNV FLA."

Many of their lyrics reference Gainesville, including "Gainesville Rock City," where the town's nickname comes from.

She's Gonna Break Soon- Less Than Jake (3:15)

Gainesville Rock City- Less Than Jake (3:08)