Tom Petty was born October 20, 1953. He was born in Florida and would form his first band 18 years later in 1971 named Mudcrutch. This band wouldn't last long but from it's failure would rise Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. They would go on to be one of the most long standing rock bands of all time.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were first accepted by British audiences who were entranced by Petty's tendency to sound like Roger Mcguinn from The Byrds. The first album, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, was released in 1976 and eventually got a foothold in the U.s. market almost a year after it was released. It wasn't until the band's sophomore release, You're Gonna Get It!, in '78 that Petty gained the affection of the U.S. critics. The band had managed to create an album that satisfied both the New Wave audiences and the West Coast rock audiences.

In '78, Petty was forced to file for bankruptcy due to a long legal battle. This was a short lived woe for him because soon after, the band released Damn the Torpedoes which was second only to Pink Floyd's epic The Wall on the charts. Torpedoes would go platinum and it was an omen of the success to come. The band went on to release 12 albums including a Greatest Hits and the soundtrack for She's the One. Petty released two solo albums, Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers. In my opinion, Petty did the best work of his life on Wildflowers. The album is a mixture of the mellow style that Petty is known for and energetic rock that only a child of the sixties could create.

Petty is not one of the stars of the music business that you see on T.V. every other night. He lives a fairly quiet life and stays fairly free from controversy aside from his well-known affinity for certain substances. Throughout the years he has spent his time supporting activist groups and charities through his notoriety. Petty is currently involved with Amnesty International, No Nukes, and Rock and Wrap it Up. In 2001, Tom married his girlfriend, Dana York, in Las Vegas on June 3rd. There was no ceremony and they simply took care of the legal issues. Two weeks later the couple were married a second time with a small ceremony including family and friends. The minister for the ceremony was none other than Little Richard and Petty was quoted as saying that "This time it was for spiritual reasons".

Petty shows no signs of slowing down and is touring in 2002 with The Heartbreakers. The band has also been making its rounds on the late night T.V. circuit performing. He is one of the most enduring figures in rock and will most likely be around for quite a while longer.

Info drawn from, and personal recollection of VH1 programs.

Editors Note:

Tom Petty suffered cardiac arrest early in the morning of October 2, 2017, and died later that night at a hospital in Santa Monica, California. He was 66 years old.

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