Tom Petty was a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. Petty was also a co-founder of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. He was the lead vocalist of the band Heartbreakers and has recorded a number of hit singles with the band and as a solo artist. In Tom’s career, he sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
Tom was born on October 20, 1950, in Gainesville, Florida. He was American by nationality and belonged to white ethnic background. He was the son of father Earl Petty and mother Katherine Petty. He had a brother named Bruce, who was seven years younger.
His interest in rock and roll music started at the age of ten when he met Elvis Presley. In the summer of 1961, his uncle invited him to watch the shoot, as his uncle was working on the set of Presley’s film Follow That Dream. He dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to play bass with his newly formed band. In his early days, he briefly worked on the grounds crew of the University of Florida, but never attended as a student. Also, he briefly worked as a gravedigger.
Tom Petty on October 2, 2013, at the age of 66. He was found unconscious at his home, and in full of cardiac arrest, early in the morning of October 2, 2017. He was unconscious while taken to the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, where he died at 8:40 PDT.
On October 16, 2017, a memorial service was held at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades. Likewise, on January 19, 2018, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced that Petty had died accidentally from mixed drug toxicity.
Tom Petty was married to his longtime girlfriend Jane Benyo in 1974. The couple stayed in a relationship for more than 20 years. Janie was the first wife of Petty. Tom and Jane had two daughters, Adria Petty, who became a director, and AnnaKim Petty, who became an artist.
In 1996, Tom and Jane parted their ways due to Tom’s drug abuse and in the same year, they legally finalized their divorce. Later he disclosed that his struggle with heroin addiction ended his marriage.
Following the divorce, Tom Petty was married to Dana York on 3rd June 2001 in Las Vegas, Nevada. They gave the reception at their home in Malibu on June 21, 2001. The pair met at one of his concerts in Texas in 1991. They do not have any children of their own. However, they have a blended family. His wife, Dana has a son, Dylan from her earlier marriage.
Tom Petty was an American musician, singer, and songwriter who had a net worth of $95 million. He had earned a huge amount of salary with the release of successful albums in his career.
From an early age, Tom was interested in music and learned to play the guitar. He started his career with a band known as the Epics and later evolve into Mudcrutch. The band included Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench who later joined the Heartbreakers. The band was popular in Gainesville, but still, their recordings went unnoticed by a mainstream audience. Their band split up after releasing a single titled ‘Depot Street’ in 1975. He continued as a solo artist, after splitting with the band.
Finally, Petty and Campbell collaborated with Tench, Ron Blair, and Stan Lynch and formed the first lineup of the Heartbreakers. Their eponymous debut album gained considerable popularity among American audiences and achieved greater success in Britain as well.
Their second album, ‘You’re Gonna Get It’ was released in 197; however, the album became an average success. Likewise, their third album, Damn the Torpedoes became one of the band’s most successful albums, as it went platinum selling nearly two million copies. It was authorized 2x platinum in the US and 3x platinum in Canada. Similarly, they succeeded with their many albums like ‘Hard Promises’ (1981), ‘Long After Dark’ (1982), ‘Southern Accents’ (1985) and ‘Let Me Up’ (1987). In 1989, Tom Petty made his solo debut with the album named ‘Full Moon Fever’. Petty’s second solo album ‘Wildflowers’ also became a commercial success and received positive reviews as well. Similarly, in 1999, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their last album with Rubin the helm, Echo, which reached #10 in the U.S. album charts. Likewise, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played “I Won’t Back Down” at America: A Tribute to Heroes, a benefit concert for victims of September 11, 2001, attacks.
Moreover, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers headlined the fifth annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts as a part of their 30th anniversary Tour. His solo album Highway Companion released in July 2006 debuted #4 on the Billboard 200. In the same way, Petty reunited with his old bandmates Tom Leadon and Randall Marsh along with Heartbreakers Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell to reform his pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch, during the summer of 2007. The Heartbreakers performed on a 40th Anniversary Tour of the United States in 2017.
In addition, Tom was active in an acting career as well. His first movie appearance took place in 1978, where he had a cameo in the movie, FM. He was seen in ‘The Postman’ where he played an important role and also lent his voice role in an episode of the famed animated sitcom ‘The Simpsons’. Also, he appeared in a few episodes of another popular sitcom ‘King of the Hill’.