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Thomas Earl Petty "Tom Petty" Biography


Thomas Earl Petty "Tom Petty" Biography

Thomas Earl Petty (born October 20, 1950) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi instrumentalist and record producer. He is best known as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but has also been a member and co-founder of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, and his early band Mudcrutch.
Petty recorded a number of hit singles with the Heartbreakers and as a solo artist, many of which are mainstays on adult contemporary and classic rock radio. His music has been classified as rock and rollheartland rock, and even stoner rock. His music has become popular among younger generations. In his career, Petty sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In 2002, Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Petty suffered cardiac arrest on October 1, 2017; while some media outlets reported his death on October 2, the reports have been retracted as not confirmed.

Early life
Petty was born October 20, 1950, in Gainesville, Florida, the first of two sons of Earl and Kitty Petty. His interest in rock and roll music began at age ten when he met Elvis Presley. In the summer of 1961, his uncle was working on the set of Presley's film Follow That Dream in nearby Ocala, and invited Petty to come down and watch the shoot. He instantly became an Elvis Presley fan, and when he returned that Saturday, he was greeted by his friend Keith Harben, and soon traded his Wham-O slingshot for a collection of Elvis 45s.
In a 2006 interview, Petty said that he knew he wanted to be in a band the moment he saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. "The minute I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show — and it's true of thousands of guys — there was the way out. There was the way to do it. You get your friends and you're a self-contained unit. And you make the music. And it looked like so much fun. It was something I identified with. I had never been hugely into sports. ... I had been a big fan of Elvis. But I really saw in the Beatles that here's something I could do. I knew I could do it. It wasn't long before there were groups springing up in garages all over the place." He dropped out of high school at 17 to play bass with his newly formed band, Mudcrutch.
One of his first guitar teachers was Don Felder, a fellow Gainesville resident, who would later join the Eagles. As a young man, Petty worked briefly on the grounds crew for the University of Florida, but never attended as a student. An Ogeechee lime tree that he planted while employed at the university is now called the Tom Petty tree (Petty stated that he did not recall planting any trees). He also worked briefly as a gravedigger.

Petty also overcame a difficult relationship with his father, who found it hard to accept that his son was "a mild-mannered kid who was interested in the arts" and subjected him to verbal and physical abuse on a regular basis. Petty was extremely close to his mother, and remained close to his brother, Bruce.

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