Born Thomas Earl Petty
, on October 20
in Gainesville, Florida
, Tom Petty has since devoted much of his life to music. Although Petty did not know that he wanted to be a musician until after Elvis Presley
visited his town, he has certainly made the right life decision. After working with his early bands Sundowners, Epics, and Mudcrutch (which also included future Heartbreakers members Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench) he began his recording career with "Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers" when the band broke onto the national music scene with their 1976 self-titled debut album.
In 1989, Tom Petty released his debut solo album, "Full Moon Fever", produced by Jeff Lynne (his partner in the Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Roy Orbison) with Mike Campbell.
Petty earned a Grammy Award in 1989 for Best Rock Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocal for his work with the Traveling Wilburys. His "Full Moon Fever" was in the Billboard Top Ten chart for over 34 weeks and earned triple-platinum status, along the way spawning such hits as "I Won't Back Down," "Free Fallin'" and "Runnin' Down A Dream."
In 1994, Petty released his second solo album, "Wildflowers", which earned Petty many Grammy Awards and nominations. Among the hits from this album were "You Don't Know How it Feels", "You Wreck Me", and "Its Good to Be King"
He also has been honored with 10 nominations since 1981 when he received his first nomination for his collaboration with Stevie Nicks, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" in the category of Best Rock Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocal. As a songwriter, Tom Petty was acknowledged in May 1996 with the prestigious Golden Note Award from ASCAP.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers have a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7018 Hollywood Blvd and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, their first year of eligibility.