Tom Petty Tickets
Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist who is also the front man of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and was a member of the Traveling Wilburys. He has recorded a number of hit singles, many of which remain heavily played on adult contemporary and classic rock radio. Petty is also a vocal critic of the modern recording industry and the disappearance of independent radio stations.
Early life and Childhood Interests
Tom Petty was born, raised in Gainesville, Florida, USA and attended Gainesville High School. His interest in rock and roll music began at age 11 when he met Elvis Presley. He was once a member of the University of Florida's grounds crew and planted a tree that is now called the Tom Petty tree. In the summer of 1961, his uncle was working on the set of Presley's film Follow That Dream in nearby Ocala, Florida and invited Petty to come down and watch the shoot. He instantly became an Elvis Presley fan and soon traded his Wham-O slingshot for a box of Elvis 45s.
The Singing Career
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976-1987)
He began his recording career with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the band's 1976 debut album, which was initially unpopular in the United States. The single "Breakdown" was re-released in 1977 and peaked at #40 in early 1978 after the band toured in the United Kingdom in support of Nils Lofgren.
Their second album, You're Gonna Get It!, marked the band's first Top 40 album and featured the singles "I Need To Know" and "Listen To Her Heart." Their third album, Damn the Torpedoes, quickly went platinum, selling nearly two million copies; it includes their breakthrough singles "Don't Do Me Like That" and "Refugee."
In September 1979, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed at a Musicians United for Safe Energy concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. Their rendition of "Cry To Me" was featured on the resulting No Nukes album. 1981's Hard Promises became a top-ten hit, going platinum and spawning the hit single "The Waiting." The album also featured Petty's first duet, "Insider" with Stevie Nicks.
Solo career (1988-1991)
In 1988, Petty became a founding member of the Traveling Wilburys, along with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. The band's first song, "Handle With Care," was intended as a B-side of one of Harrison's singles, but was judged too good for that purpose and the group decided to record a full album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1.
A second Wilburys album, incongruously titled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 and recorded without the recently deceased Orbison, followed in 1990. The album was named Vol. 3 as a response to a series of bootlegged studio sessions being sold as Travelling Wilburys Vol. 2. In recent years since the death of George Harrison, Petty has begun to incorporate Travelling Wilburys songs into his live shows, consistently playing "Handle Me With Care" in shows from 2003-2006, and for his 2008 tour making "End of the Line" a staple of the setlist.
Re-union with old timers
Petty rejoined with the Heartbreakers for his next album, Into the Great Wide Open, in 1991. It was co-produced by Lynne and included the hit singles "Learning To Fly" and "Into The Great Wide Open," the latter featuring Johnny Depp, Gabrielle Anwar, Faye Dunaway, and Matt LeBlanc in the video.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers played "I Won't Back Down" at the America: A Tribute to Heroes benefit concert for victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. In January 2008, it was announced that the band would be embarking on a North American Tour which set to start on May 30 following the appearance at Super Bowl XLII.
Tom Petty's first appearance in film took place in 1978, when he had a cameo in FM. He later had a small part in 1987's Made In Heaven, and appeared in several episodes of It's Garry Shandling's Show between 1987 and 1990, playing himself as one of Garry Shandling's neighbors.
In 2002 he appeared on The Simpsons in the episode "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation". In 2008, Petty made a guest appearance as himself in the Comedy Central show Lil Bush's season 2 finale. He is asked to write a song for Bush and his cronies. Petty currently has a recurring role as Lucky in the animated show King of the Hill.
Petty has been honored with 18 Grammy Award nominations since 1982. On September 21, 2006, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers received the keys to the city of Gainesville, Florida, where he and his band mates either lived or grew up.
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