Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 2017-08-22.jpg
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performing in 2017
Background information
Origin Gainesville, Florida, United States
Genres
Years active1976–2017
Labels
Associated acts
Website www.tompetty.com
Past members

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (alternately Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) [1] [2] were an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. Formed in 1976, [3] the band originally comprised Tom Petty (lead singer, guitar), Mike Campbell (lead guitarist), Ron Blair (bass guitar), Stan Lynch (drums), and Benmont Tench (keyboards). In 1981, Blair, weary of the touring lifestyle, departed the band. His replacement, Howie Epstein, stayed with the band for the next two decades. In 1991, Scott Thurston joined the band as a multi-instrumentalist—mostly on rhythm guitar and second keyboards. Blair returned to the Heartbreakers in 2002, the year before Epstein's death. In 1994, Steve Ferrone replaced Lynch on drums. The band is best known for the hit singles "American Girl", "Breakdown", "The Waiting", "Learning to Fly", "Refugee" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance".

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Tom Petty American musician

Thomas Earl Petty was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch. He was also a member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.

Guitar fretted string instrument

The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.

Contents

The band's music has been characterized as both Southern rock [4] and heartland rock, [5] cited alongside artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, and John Mellencamp as progenitors of that genre that arose in the late 1970s and 1980s. While the heartland rock movement waned in the 1990s, the band remained active and popular, touring regularly until Petty's death in 2017, after which the Heartbreakers disbanded. Their final studio album, Hypnotic Eye , was released in 2014.

Southern rock is a subgenre of rock music and a genre of Americana. It developed in the Southern United States from rock and roll, country music, and blues, and is focused generally on electric guitar and vocals. Although the origin of the term Southern rock is unknown, "many people feel that these important contributors to the development of rock and roll have been minimized in rock's history."

Heartland rock is a genre of rock music characterized by a straightforward, often roots musical style, a concern with middle class and/or blue-collar American life, and a conviction that rock music has a social or communal purpose beyond just entertainment.

Bruce Springsteen American singer and songwriter

Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen, nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter and leader of the E Street Band. He is recognized for his poetic lyrics, his Jersey Shore roots, his distinctive voice, and his lengthy, energetic stage performances.

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, their first year of eligibility. Although most of their material was produced and performed under the name "The Heartbreakers", Petty released three solo albums, the most successful of which was Full Moon Fever (1989). In these releases, some members of the band contributed as collaborators, producing and performing as studio musicians.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Hall of fame located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, on the shore of Lake Erie, recognizes and archives the history of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have had some major influence on the development of rock and roll. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was established on April 20, 1983, by Ahmet Ertegun, founder and chairman of Atlantic Records. In 1986, Cleveland was chosen as the Hall of Fame's permanent home.

<i>Full Moon Fever</i> 1989 studio album by Tom Petty

Full Moon Fever is the debut solo studio album by Tom Petty, released on April 24, 1989, by MCA Records. It features contributions from members of his band the Heartbreakers, notably Mike Campbell, as well as Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and George Harrison, Petty's bandmates in the Traveling Wilburys. The record shows Petty exploring his musical roots with nods to his influences. The songwriting is mainly collaborations between Petty and Lynne, who was also a producer on the album. The album became a commercial and critical success peaking at No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and being certified 5× platinum in the United States and 6× platinum in Canada.

History

Early years and first two albums (1974–1978)

The band in 1977. From left: Mike Campbell, Ron Blair, Tom Petty, Stan Lynch, and Benmont Tench Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 1977.jpg
The band in 1977. From left: Mike Campbell, Ron Blair, Tom Petty, Stan Lynch, and Benmont Tench

Petty's early bands included the Sundowners, the Epics, and Mudcrutch. In 1974, Mudcrutch signed with Shelter Records and re-located to Los Angeles, California. They released one single, "Depot Street," in 1975, which failed to chart; the group consequently disbanded.

Mudcrutch American rock band

Mudcrutch was an American southern and country rock band from Gainesville, Florida. They are best known for being the band that began Tom Petty's rise to fame.

Shelter Records American record label

Shelter Records was a U.S. record label started by Leon Russell and Denny Cordell that operated from 1969 to 1981. The company established offices in both Los Angeles and Tulsa, Russell's home town, where the label sought to promote a "workshop atmosphere" with a recording studio in a converted church, adjoining houses for artists working at the studio, and other facilities. The Tulsa recording studio was housed in the historic The Church Studio. Russell remained with Shelter until 1976, when he and Cordell fell out. In a settlement, Cordell then became sole owner of the label, while Russell left to start his own label, Paradise Records.

In 1976, Petty, with himself as lead vocalist and guitarist, formed "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" with Mike Campbell (lead guitarist), Ron Blair (bass), Stan Lynch (drums), and Benmont Tench (keyboards). [3] The Heartbreakers began their recording career with a self-titled album, released through the Shelter label. Initially, the Heartbreakers did not gain much traction in the U.S., although they achieved success in the U.K. playing "Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll" on Top of the Pops . [6] Early singles included "Breakdown" and "American Girl". Recalling the band's first gig in the UK in 1976, Petty states, "The audience just jumped up and charged the stage and were boogieing their brains out. It was such a rush. Wow, we had never seen anything like that, man." [6] "Breakdown" was re-released in the U.S. and became a Top 40 hit in 1978, after word filtered back of the band's massive success in the UK, and perhaps more importantly after it featured on the extremely popular soundtrack to the 1978 film, FM. "American Girl" was covered in 1977 by Roger McGuinn on his "Thunderbyrd" LP.

Ron Blair American musician

Ronald Edward Blair is an American musician notable for being the bassist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He was originally the band's bassist from 1976 to 1982. In 2002, he returned to the group after a 20-year hiatus, replacing his own replacement, the late Howie Epstein.

Stan Lynch American musician

Stanley Joseph Lynch is an American musician, songwriter and record producer. He was the original drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for 18 years until his departure in 1994.

Benmont Tench American musician

Benjamin Montmorency "Benmont" Tench III is an American musician and singer, best known as a founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' second album, You're Gonna Get It! (1978), was their first gold record, and featured the singles "I Need to Know" and "Listen To Her Heart". In 1979, the band was dragged into a legal dispute when ABC Records, Shelter's distributor, was sold to MCA Records. Petty refused to be transferred to another record label and held fast to his principles, which led to his filing for bankruptcy as a tactic against MCA.

<i>Youre Gonna Get It!</i> 1978 studio album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers


You're Gonna Get It! is the second album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released in 1978. Originally, the album was to be titled Terminal Romance. It peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart in 1978.

In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awards certification based on the number of albums and singles sold through retail and other ancillary markets. Other countries have similar awards. Certification is not automatic; for an award to be made, the record label must request certification. The audit is conducted against net shipments after returns, which includes albums sold directly to retailers and one-stops, direct-to-consumer sales and other outlets.

ABC Records was an American record label founded in New York City in 1955. It originated as the main popular music label operated by the Am-Par Record Corporation. Am-Par also created the Impulse! jazz label in 1960. It acquired many labels before ABC was sold to MCA Records in 1979. ABC produced music in a variety of genres: pop, rock, jazz, country, rhythm and blues, soundtrack, gospel, and polka. In addition to producing records, ABC licensed masters from independent record producers, and purchased regionally released records for national distribution.

Mainstream success (1979–1984)

In 1979, after their legal dispute was settled, the Heartbreakers released their third album Damn the Torpedoes through MCA's Backstreet label. The album 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.

Though he was already extremely successful, Petty ran into record company trouble again when he and the Heartbreakers prepared to release Hard Promises (1981), the follow-up album to Damn the Torpedoes . MCA wanted to release the record at the list price of $9.98, which was considered a high price for a record album at the time. This so-called "superstar pricing" was $1.00 more than the usual list price of $8.98. Petty voiced his objections to the price hike in the press, and the issue became a popular cause among music fans. Non-delivery of the album or naming it Eight Ninety-Eight were considered, but eventually MCA decided against the price increase. The album 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), and was to feature a track called "Keeping Me Alive", but producer Jimmy Iovine vetoed it from the album. Petty had expressed that he felt the album would have been more successful if "Keeping Me Alive" had been included. [7]

Southern Accents and Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) (1985–1988)

On the sixth album, Southern Accents (1985), the Heartbreakers picked up where they had left off.[ clarification needed ] The recording was not without problems; Petty became frustrated during the mixing process and broke his left hand when punching a wall. The album included the psychedelic-sounding hit single "Don't Come Around Here No More" (#13 U.S.), which was produced by and co-written with Dave Stewart. The video for the single, which starred Stewart, featured Petty dressed as the Mad Hatter, mocking and chasing Alice from the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland , then cutting and eating her as if she were a cake. This caused minor controversy after it was criticized by feminist groups,[ citation needed ] but the video did win an MTV Video Music Award.

A successful concert tour led to the live album Pack Up the Plantation: Live! (1985). The band's live capabilities were also showcased when Bob Dylan invited the Heartbreakers to join him on his True Confessions Tour through Australia, Japan and the U.S. (1986) and Europe (1987). Petty praised Dylan, saying "I don't think there is anyone we admire more."

Also 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 Dylan. It includes "Jammin' Me" (#18 U.S.), which Petty wrote with Dylan and Campbell. Dylan recorded a version of the Petty composition, "Got My Mind Made Up", on his album Knocked Out Loaded which was credited as being written by Dylan and Petty.

Comeback and return to popularity (1989–2005)

In 1989, Petty released his debut solo album Full Moon Fever , which included five singles ("I Won't Back Down", "Runnin' Down a Dream", "Free Fallin'", "A Face in the Crowd" and "Yer So Bad"), and was accompanied by a tour with The Replacements. Two years later, the Heartbreakers released Into the Great Wide Open , produced by Jeff Lynne who had worked with Petty in Traveling Wilburys. Songs included the title track itself and "Learning to Fly". Multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston joined the band as of the tour for the album.

Hollywood walk of fame star, awarded in 1999 Tom Petty Walk of Fame.JPG
Hollywood walk of fame star, awarded in 1999

In 1993, Petty released Greatest Hits which included the hit single "Mary Jane's Last Dance". Stan Lynch had moved to Florida, but was persuaded to return for his last session with the band.

In 1994, Lynch left the band and was temporarily replaced by Dave Grohl before being permanently replaced by Steve Ferrone. Ferrone had worked with Petty, Campbell, Tench, and Epstein on Petty's solo album, Wildflowers . At this time, the band served as backing band on Unchained by Johnny Cash with producer Rick Rubin.

In 1995, a six-CD box-set entitled Playback was released. Approximately half of the tracks were previously available on albums, and the rest were B-sides, demos and live tracks. Two notable tracks are a "solo" version of Tom's 1981 duet with Stevie Nicks, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around", and the song "Waiting For Tonight", which features vocals from The Bangles. The latter song also appeared on the two-CD anthology released in 2000, Anthology: Through the Years .

In 1996, Petty "reunited" with the Heartbreakers and released a soundtrack to the movie She's the One starring Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston (see Songs and Music from "She's the One" ). Three songs charted from this album; these were "Walls (Circus)" (featuring Lindsey Buckingham); "Climb that Hill"; and a song written by Lucinda Williams, "Change the Locks". The album also included a cover of a song by Beck, "Asshole".

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".

On April 28, 1999, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their contributions to the recording industry, located at 7018 Hollywood Boulevard. [8]

In 2002, the group released The Last DJ . Many of the tracks' lyrics contain stinging attacks on the music industry and major record companies. The album reached number 9 in the U.S. charts. Ron Blair played on two of the tracks. He also replaced the man who had previously been his replacement, Howie Epstein on the band's 2002 tour as a result of Epstein's deepening personal problems and drug abuse. Epstein died in 2003 at the age of 47. Tench described him as "the coolest guy in the band."

Final years (2006–2017)

Keyboardist Benmont Tench performs with the band at the Hollywood Bowl in 2010. Benmont Tench Hollywood Bowl.jpg
Keyboardist Benmont Tench performs with the band at the Hollywood Bowl in 2010.

In the band's thirtieth anniversary year, 2006, they headlined the fifth annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. In addition to Bonnaroo, Petty was on tour throughout the summer of 2006. The tour started in Charlotte, North Carolina on June 9 and ended in Randall's Island, Manhattan, New York on August 19. Stops included major cities such as New York, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Denver. Supporting acts during the tour included Pearl Jam, The Allman Brothers Band, and Trey Anastasio. Additionally, Stevie Nicks joined the band onstage during the first eight concerts as well as subsequent second leg dates to perform various songs from the Heartbreakers' vast catalog. For the Highway Companion Tour they offered a Highway Companion's Club which allowed fans to receive priority seating, discounts at the Tom Petty Store, a complimentary CD of Highway Companion and a personalized email address.

In 2006, the ABC U.S. television network hired Petty to do the music for its NBA Playoffs coverage.

On September 21, 2006, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers received the keys to the city of Gainesville, Florida, where he and his bandmates either lived or grew up. Petty quipped, when questioned about the key he received from Gainesville's mayor, "It's a lot nicer than the one we got in Chicago." [9]

From July 2006 until 2007, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio featured an exhibit of Tom Petty items. Much of the content was donated by Petty himself from a visit to his home by some of the Rock Hall curatorial staff.

In 2007, the band accepted an invitation to participate in a tribute album to Fats Domino, contributing their version of "I'm Walkin'" to Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard).

In 2008, the Heartbreakers were also featured as the Super Bowl XLII Halftime Show. In April that year, the members of Petty's prior band, Mudcrutch, including Heartbreakers Petty, Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell, along with Randall Marsh and Tom Leadon, released a Mudcrutch album. In late 2008, Mudcrutch released a live EP.

A collection of live recordings was released on November 23, 2009, and announced a new studio album, Mojo , for release in the Spring of 2010. [10] The band released Hypnotic Eye on July 29, 2014, and archive recordings from their Playlist box set Nobody's Children and Through the Cracks digitally in 2015.

In 2017, the band embarked on a 40th Anniversary Tour of the United States. [11] The tour began on April 20 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and ended on September 25 with a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California. [11] [12] The Hollywood Bowl concert, which would ultimately be the Heartbreakers' final show, ended with a performance of "American Girl". [13]

Death of Petty and aftermath (2017–present)

Early in the morning on October 2, 2017, Petty was found unconscious in his home, not breathing, and in full cardiac arrest. Following premature media reports of his death, Petty later died at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California. He was 66. [14] [15]

No official statement about the disbandment or the future of the Heartbreakers was made immediately following Petty's death. However, in his final interview with the Los Angeles Times a few days before his death, Petty expressed that the Heartbreakers would probably disband if one of its members died or became too ill to perform. [16]

In April 2018, Campbell, Tench and Ferrone acted as the backing band for the Light Up the Blues benefit concert in Los Angeles, backing Beck, Neil Young, Patti Smith, and Stephen Stills, with whom they performed Petty's "I Won't Back Down". [17] That same month, it was announced that Campbell (along with Neil Finn) had joined Fleetwood Mac to replace their lead guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. [18]

Live performances

Mike Campbell (left) and Tom Petty at Bonnaroo in 2013 Tom Petty Bonnaroo 2013-06-16.jpg
Mike Campbell (left) and Tom Petty at Bonnaroo in 2013

On November 26, 2010, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers released a special edition Record Store Day Black Friday 7" vinyl called Nowhere b/w Surrender for independent record stores.

Petty's solo albums

Tom Petty, the band's primary vocalist and songwriter. He also had a successful solo career and served as a member of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys Tom Petty 2.jpg
Tom Petty, the band's primary vocalist and songwriter. He also had a successful solo career and served as a member of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys

Petty released three critically acclaimed solo albums, the first of which was 1989's Full Moon Fever which included his signature tune, "Free Fallin'", as well as "I Won't Back Down", later covered by Johnny Cash, and "Runnin' Down a Dream" and Gene Clark's Byrds classic "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" - the album's only cover song.

Though the Heartbreakers were dismayed by Petty's decision to go solo (similar to the arrangement between Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band at the time), Campbell played guitar solos on every track, Tench contributed piano to one track, and Epstein reluctantly provided backing vocals to two tracks.

Petty's second solo album, Wildflowers , included all Heartbreakers members except for Stan Lynch. The album, which featured Steve Ferrone on drums, produced the single "You Don't Know How It Feels".

Petty's final solo album was Highway Companion which, like his first solo project Full Moon Fever, featured Jeff Lynne in the producer's seat. Campbell was the lead guitarist for the album, but no other Heartbreaker participated in the recording, as all instruments and vocals were performed by Petty, Campbell and Lynne.

Relationship with music industry

Petty fought against his record company on more than one occasion: first in 1979 over transference to another label, [20] and then again in 1981 over the price of his record, which was (at that time) considered expensive. [21] He was also outspoken on the current state of the music industry and modern radio stations, a topic that was a center concept of the lyrics of his 2002 album, The Last DJ , and its respective limited edition DVD. [22]

In an interview with Billboard magazine, Petty described himself as "not really [being] involved in the business side of music."

Band members

Final lineup

Former

Timeline

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Discography

    See also

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