top of page

Tom Petty

Today we will tell you about Tom Petty, singer, guitarist, creator, and music producer:

(Photo: NME)

1. He was born Thomas Earl Petty on October 20, 1950, in Gainesville, Florida.

2. His love for rock 'n' roll officially began in the summer of 1961, when he was only 11, then he met none other than Elvis Presley, on the set of a film. He was simply fascinated by him and has since begun to obsessively listen to his songs.

3. He dropped out of high school at age 17 to join his first band, "Mudcrutch". Petty played bass for the band from 1970-1975.

4. After moving to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, "Mudcrutch" disbanded before even releasing an album - but guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench who played with Tom in the band will became members of "The Heartbreakers" and accompanied Petty for five decades.

5. When Tom Petty and his band adopted the name "The Heartbreakers", there was already a band of the same name. They were from New York, performed at the famous CBGB club, and were even invited to be the open-up of the "Sex Pistols" on their US tour. Despite this, Tom Petty's "Heartbreakers" kept their name and won the public memory as the real "Heartbreakers".

(Photo: ABC/Shelter Records)

6. He received music lessons from none other than Don Felder, also a native of Gainesville, Florida. Felder will later join the "Eagles".

7. In 1994 Petty invited Dave Grohl to join "The Heartbreakers" as a replacement for Stan Lynch who was fired by Tom. Grohl appeared as the drummer of "The Heartbreakers" in two songs that aired on "Saturday Night Live", but he turned down the offer to serve as the band's regular drummer and went on to form the "Foo Fighters".

8. By the way, Petty is the artist who appeared the most on "Saturday Night Live", it happened 8 times. He even joins the "Five-timers" club which is usually reserved for hosts who appear on more than five shows.

9. His album "The Last DJ" from 2001 is an "indictment" against the record companies. The first contract Petty signed gave the record company 100% of the rights to his songs in exchange for $ 10,000. This led him to declare a "bankruptcy" in the late 1970s and fight for a fairer contract.

10. In early 1981 he refused to release his album "Hard Promises" at MCA after the company asked to price it at $ 9.98, $ 1.00 more than the regular list price of $ 8.98. Petty even considered renaming the album to "Eight Ninety-Eight", but eventually MCA decided to back down.

11. That was not Petty's only story with "MCA." His most successful album from 1989, "Full Moon Fever", which yielded hits like: "Free Fallin '", "I Won't Back Down" and "Runnin' Down a Dream", was barely released because "MCA" thought it would be a failure, in part because it was his first solo album without the "Heartbreakers". Eventually, the album reached 5 times platinum status.

12. The song "Runnin' 'Down a Dream" from the album "Full Moon Fever" was the official theme song of both the NBA Finals in 2006 and 2008. Petty also performed the song with the "Heartbreakers" at the halftime of Super Bowl XLII in 2008. .

13. When he recorded the hit "I Won't Back Down" with George Harrison, he had a terrible chill. George Harrison ran quickly to the store, bought Ginger, boiled it, and let Patty breathe the steam. This opened his sinuses long enough for him to record the take that went into the album.

14. By the way, Petty got credit for Sam Smith's song "Stay With Me" because it sounds very similar to the song "I Won't Back Down".

15. Tom Petty and George Harrison were really good friends. In 1988 they even co-founded the supergroup "Traveling Wilburys" with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan.

16. Guitarist Mike Campbell offered him the song "The Boys of Summer" in 1984. Petty refused, among others, because he did not like the use of synthesizers. The song eventually became a big hit by Don Henley.

17. Oddly enough despite his successful and influential career Petty did not have an album that reached number one until 2014. It was “Hypnotic Eye” which sold 131,000 copies in the first week of its release.

18. In 2002 he entered the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" with his band "The Heartbreakers".

19. In 2008 Tom Petty revived the first band he played with - "Mudcrutch". He even released an album with them and went on a successful tour and later joined them for another album and a tour in 2016.

20. A significant number of films included his songs in their soundtrack. In two of them, the characters even sang them. The first, Catherine Baker Martin, the senator's daughter in the movie "The Silence of the Lambs," sang "American Girl," and the second, Jerry Maguire sang "Free Fallin'" while driving.

21. Petty has also appeared in several films, including Kevin Costner's "The Postman."

22. He also voiced the character of Elroy "Lucky" Kleinschmidt in the hit series "King of the Hill."

23. Petty also wrote the soundtrack for the movie "She's the One" starring Jennifer Aniston.

24. His first marriage to his high school sweetheart, Jane Benyo, lasted 22 years. They have two daughters from this marriage. In 2001 he married Dana York.

25. Singer Stevie Nicks wrote the successful song “Edge of Seventeen” about him and his wife. She was friends with Petty and heard the story of his acquaintance with Jane Benyo, when she was only 17 years old.

(Photo: George Rose)

26. On the morning of May 17, 1987, just as Petty and his family were having breakfast, his California home caught fire. Authorities determined it was an arson. Petty was deeply shaken by the incident.

27. Petty passed away on October 2, 2017, about two weeks before his 67th birthday.

28. His last performance was part of the tour to mark the 40th anniversary of "Heartbreakers". It was held on September 25, 2017 - about a week before his death.

29. During his glorious career, Tom Petty has released no less than 20 studio albums. 13 with "The Heartbreakers", two with "the Traveling Wilburys", two with "Mudcrutch" and three more as part of his solo career.

30. Petty has sold over 80 million albums during his lifetime, making him one of the best-selling artists in the world.

Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our website

"Face/Off" - Israel's Rock Blog & Podcast


Enjoying the Blog? Subscribe to get it right to your mail!

Thank you !!

bottom of page