Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Biography

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Birth Place: Gainesville, Florida, United States
Years Active: 1976–present
Genres: Rock, Heartland Rock

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are a rock band, most of whose members are from the United States. They were formed in 1976 by Tom Petty (guitar and vocals), Mike Campbell (lead guitar), Benmont Tench (piano, organ, harmonium and vocals), (the three of them had been members of Mudcrutch), Ron Blair (bass and vocals) and Stan Lynch (drums and vocals). Although most of their material is produced and performed under the name "The Heartbreakers", they have also participated in outside projects, with Petty himself releasing solo albums, the most successful being 1989's “Full Moon Fever.” Petty, Campbell and Tench, along with Randall Marsh and Tom Leadon, recorded an album by Mudcrutch. This was the band's first album, made more significant by the fact that they had not recorded together since 1974.

The Heartbreakers began their recording career with a self-titled album. Initially, the Heartbreakers did not gain much traction in America, although they achieved success in the UK playing "Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll" on Top of the Pops. Early singles included "Breakdown" and "American Girl". "Breakdown" was re-released in the USA and became a Top 40 hit in 1978, after news filtered back to the States that the band was creating a firestorm in the UK.

Their 1978 second album “You're Gonna Get It!” marked the band's first gold album, and featured the singles "I Need to Know" and "Listen To Her Heart".

The Heartbreakers released their third album “Damn the Torpedoes” in 1979 which rapidly went platinum. It included "Don't Do Me Like That" (#10 U.S., the group's first Top Ten single ) and "Refugee" (#15 U.S.), their U.S. breakthrough singles.

“Hard Promises” released in 1981 as the follow-up album to “Damn the Torpedoes” became a Top Ten hit, going platinum and spawning the hit single "The Waiting" (#19 U.S.). The album also included the duet "Insider", with Stevie Nicks.

On their fifth album, “Long After Dark” (1982), bass player Ron Blair was replaced by Howie Epstein (formerly of Del Shannon's backing band), giving the Heartbreakers their line-up until 1991. “Long After Dark” features the hits "You Got Lucky" (U.S. #20) and "Change of Heart" (U.S. #21).

Their next album, “Southern Accents” released in 1985 includes the psychedelic-sounding hit single "Don't Come Around Here No More" (#13 U.S.). In 1987, the group released “Let Me Up (I've Had Enough),” a studio album made to sound like a live recording, using a technique they borrowed from Bob Dylan. It includes "Jammin' Me", which Petty wrote with Dylan and Campbell.

In 1991, the band released “Into the Great Wide Open,” produced by Jeff Lynne who had worked with Petty in Traveling Wilburys. Hit songs included the title track and "Learning to Fly". In 1993, Petty and co. released “Greatest Hits” which included hit single "Mary Jane's Last Dance".

In 1996, Petty "reunited" with the Heartbreakers and released a soundtrack to the movie “She's the One.” Three songs charted from this album including "Walls (Circus)" (featuring Lindsey Buckingham); "Climb that Hill"; and a song written by Lucinda Williams, "Change the Locks".

In 1999, Petty and the Heartbreakers released the album “Echo” with producer Rick Rubin at the helm. The album reached number 10 in the U.S. album charts and featured, amongst other singles, "Room at the Top".

In 2002, Petty and the Heartbreakers released “The Last DJ.” Many of the tracks' lyrics contain stinging attacks on the music industry and major record companies. The album reached #9 in the U.S. charts.

In 2010 the band released "Mojo" which debuted at #2 on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 125,000 copies in its first week of release.

Petty has received numerous Grammy Awards and was the recipient of 2006's Billboard Century Award, given to him by Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong. In 2002, Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.




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