Facts about Tom Petty

Tom Petty died at 66 years old
Best known as: The singer of "Breakdown"

Buy from Amazon.com: Music by Tom Petty


Tom Petty Biography

Tom Petty was the front man and songwriter for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the rock band whose hits from the 1970s and 1980s included “Breakdown,” “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Free Fallin’.”

Tom Petty and his fellow band members got started in their home state of Florida, but in the mid-1970s they headed to Los Angeles to make records. Their 1976 debut eponymous album included the songs “Breakdown” and “American Girl,” and the band became a hit in the U.K. By the time their second album was released in 1978 (You’re Gonna Get It), their first record was making the charts in the U.S.

The success of 1979’s Damn the Torpedoes (with hits such as “Refugee”) catapulted them from the nightclub circuit to sold-out arenas, as people flocked to Petty’s jangly, loose-limbed rock and lyrics that were by turns witty, bitter and bemused. In the late ’80s Petty did solo work (1989’s Full Moon Fever was a top seller) and collaborated with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne in the band The Traveling Wilburys.

Tom Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. His long string of hits as a solo artist and with the Heartbreakers also included “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “Into the Great Wide Open.” He also had a hit with Stevie Nicks in 1981 with the single “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”

The websites TMZ and Rolling Stone reported on October 2, 2017 that Tom Petty had died of heart failure just a few days after completing a 40th anniversary tour with The Heartbreakers. But then both organizations rolled back the story, saying only that Petty had been hospitalized for a serious cardiac incident. Finally, the Los Angeles Times reported that Petty’s family confirmed his death as having happened at 8:40 pm Pacific time on October 2.

Extra credit

Tom Petty was married to the former Jane Benyo from 1974 until their divorce in 1996. They had two daughters, Adria and AnnaKim Violette… Tom Petty then married Dana York Epperson in 2001… Tom Petty and his band played at halftime of Super Bowl XLII in 2008.


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