Thomas Earl Petty was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and actor. He was the lead vocalist and guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch, and was also a member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. He died of an accidental drug overdose on October 2, 2017.
About Tom Petty in brief
Thomas Earl Petty was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and actor. He was the lead vocalist and guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch, and was also a member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. Petty died of an accidental drug overdose on October 2, 2017. In his career, he sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Petty was born October 20, 1950, in Gainesville, Florida, the first of two sons of Kitty Petty, a local tax office worker, and Earl Petty, who was a traveling salesman. His interest in rock and roll music began at age ten when he met Elvis Presley. He dropped out of high school at age 17 to play bass with his newly formed band. 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. In an interview with the CBC in 2014, Petty stated that the Rolling Stones were \”my punk music\”. He credited the group with inspiring him by demonstrating that he and musicians like him could make it in rock & roll. Petty also overcame a difficult relationship with his father. According to Petty, his father found it difficult to accept that Petty was \”a mild-mannered kid who was interested in the arts\” and subjected him to verbal and physical abuse on a regular basis.
Petty has described his father as a \”wild, gambling drinker guy\”. Petty was close to his mother and remained close with his brother, Bruce. The band Petty started started as the Epics, later to evolve into the popular band The Heartbreakers. Their eponymous debut album gained popularity amongst American audiences, achieving greater success in Britain after the release of The American Girl album in 1973. After the band split up, Petty agreed to pursue a solo career with Mike Tench, Ron Blair, and Benmont Tench. Petty and Tench collaborated to form his own group, Petty and Campbell, whose sound was appreciated by the mainstream audience. Their only single, Depot, released by Shelter Records in 1975, failed to chart by a mainstream audience, but their second single, American Girl, peaked at No.40. Petty’s hit singles as a solo act include ‘I Won’t Back Down’ and ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’ Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. He also worked briefly as a gravedigger and was briefly employed as a grounds crew of the University of Florida, but never attended as a student. He is survived by his wife, Susan Petty, and two children, Michael Petty and Ryan Petty, as well as his brother Bruce Petty, Bruce Petty and Don Felder, a fellow Gainesville resident, who later joined the Eagles. Petty started his musical career as a band known as The Epics.