TOM PETTY FACTS
Genre: Rock, Blues Rock
Hometown: Gainesville, Florida
Albums: Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers (1976), You're Gonna Get It! (1978), Damn the Torpedoes (1979), Hard Promises (1981), Southern Accents (1985), Into The Great Wide Open (1991), Echo (1999), The Last DJ (2002), Mojo (2010).
Awards: 3 Grammy Awards, 1 Billboard Music Award, 3 MTV Video Music Awards
Hits: "Running Down A Dream," "Free Fallin'," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Into The Great Wide Open," "Refugee," "Breakdown," "American Girl" and "Don't Come Around Here No More."
Other: In 2001, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.
One of rock and roll's most prominent frontmen, Tom Petty has made a name for himself with his bluesy brand of Southern rock, which has its own set of pop sensibilities. Petty got his start in Gainesville, Florida, as the lead singer of the band Mudcrutch, and while the band never achieved mainstream acclaim, it allowed Petty to team up with Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, who helped form the highly successful group, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
By the time the group released their self-titled debut album in 1976, it was clear that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' unique sound would be a major departure from the punk- and hard rock-dominated scene of the time. With soulful tracks like "Breakdown" and "American Girl," the album gradually gained steam in the U.S. and saw plenty of airplay. In 1978, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their first Top 40 record, You're Gonna Get It!, but it would be the band's third album, Damn The Torpedos, which was their first platinum record and was carried by strong singles like "Refugee" and "Don't Do Me Like That."
Over the course of the 1980s, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers enjoyed a string of major commercial successes, but when Petty decided to embark on a solo career in 1989, many fans believe this was when he did some of his best work. The album Full Moon Fever featured such favorites as "Free Fallin'" and "Running Down A Dream," which are still major staples at Tom Petty concerts years later.
During the 1990s and 2000s, Petty bounced back and forth between the Heartbreakers and a series of other solo projects, but now tours full-time with his band. As one of the most popular summer touring acts year after year, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers show no signs of slowing down and should be a force in American music for years to come.