Thomas Earl Petty was an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi instrumentalist and record producer. He was best known as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but was also a member and co-founder of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, and his early band Mudcrutch. Lets check out some facts about this multi-talented artist!
1. His full name was Thomas Earl Petty.
2. He was born October 20, 1950, in Gainesville, Florida,
3. Petty’s first encounter with a celebrity was with Elvis Presley with whom he was infatuated.
4. He realised he wanted to be in a band when seeing the beatles on the Ed Sullivan show.
5. He dropped out of high school at 17 to play bass with his newly formed band, Mudcrutch.
6. Petty took guitar lessons from Don Felder of The Eagles.
7. As a young man, Petty worked briefly on the grounds crew for the University of Florida but never attained as a student.
8. An Ogeechee lime tree that he planted while employed at the university is now called the Tom Petty tree although he has no memory of planting the tree at all.
9. He also used to work as a gravedigger.
10. He had been subjected to physical and verbal abuse by his father for years. His father didn’t like the fact that Petty was interested in arts.
11. His band Mudcrutch were originally called Epics.
12. His next band Heartbreakers would grant him instant popularity in American and Britain.
13. In 1988, Petty joined George Harrison’s group, the Traveling Wilburys, which also included Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne.
14. In 1989, while still under contract to MCA, Petty secretly signed a lucrative deal with Warner Bros. Records, to which the Traveling Wilburys had been signed.
15. He has been known to perform under the stage names Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr. and Muddy Wilbury.
16. Petty’s first appearance in film took place in 1978, when he had a cameo in FM.
17. He also appeared in the 1997 film The Postman, directed by and starring Kevin Costner, as the Bridge City Mayor
18. He also made an appearance on The Simpson’s episode “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” alongside Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, and Brian Setzer.
19. He spoofed himself as a tutor to Homer Simpson on the art of lyric writing, composing a brief song about a drunk girl driving down the road while concerned with the state of public schools and he later on loses a toe during a riot.
20. He was also on King Of The Hill as Luanne Platter’s husband.
21.The video for “You Got Lucky” was inspired by Clint Eastwood movies.
22. He was an active advocate for marijuana legalization. One such effort is the reggae-ish song “Don’t Pull Me Over,” a protest song in support of legalized pot.
23. In 1994, You Got Lucky, a Tom Petty tribute album featuring such bands as Everclear and Silkworm was released.
24. In April 1996, Petty received the UCLA’s George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement.
25. The next month, Petty won the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ Golden Note Award.
26. In 1999 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their contribution to the recording industry.
27. In May 1979, he went bankrupt and was signed to the new MCA subsidiary Backstreet Records.
28. In 1987, Petty sued tire company B.F. Goodrich for $1 million for using a song very similar to his song “Mary’s New Car” in a TV commercial.
29. Sam Smith, singer of the song “Stay With Me” recently settled with Tom Petty for copying his song, “I Won’t Back Down”. He is now required to pay Tom Petty 12.5% for a writing credit.
30. Petty married Jane Benyo in 1974, and the two divorced in 1996.
31. They had two daughters together, Adria and AnnaKim.
32. Petty married Dana York Epperson on June 3, 2001.
33. He had a stepson, Dylan, from York’s earlier marriage.
34. On May 17, 1987, his home was reduced to flames by an arsonist and his signature grey top hat was destroyed.
35. His net worth is over $75 million dollars.
36. He had his own radio station.
37. He died in California on October 2, 2017 aged 66 after suffering cardiac arrest.