Recording Studio: Tom Petty was best known as the legendary frontman of the band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He also enjoyed success as a solo artist with such hit songs as ‘Free Fallin” and ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream.’
Recording Studio: Who Was Tom Petty?
Born in Florida in 1950, rock musician Tom Petty began his career in earnest with a group called Mudcrutch. After he and other members re-formed as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the release of their self-titled 1976 debut started a decades-long and extremely successful run, highlighted by multi-platinum albums that featured the now-classic singles “American Girl,” “Refugee,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “Learning to Fly.” In 1989, Petty embarked on an equally successful solo career, delivering memorable music videos to back hits like “Free Fallin’” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” Petty also collaborated with other legendary rockers, including Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Johnny Cash, earning three Grammy Awards for his work over the years. He died on October 2, 2017, after suffering a cardiac arrest from an accidental drug overdose.
Recording Studio: Southern Man
Tom Petty was born in Gainesville, Florida, on October 20, 1950, the first son of Earl and Kitty Petty. Though he was close to his mother and younger brother, Petty had a difficult relationship with his father, who was often physically and verbally abusive. But Petty found refuge in music, idolizing the likes of Elvis Presley and the Beatles and learning to play guitar.
By high school, Petty’s passion for music was all-consuming. He began playing bass with a local group called the Epics, and at the age of 17 he dropped out of school to perform with a new band that would become known as Mudcrutch, named after the farm where two of its members lived. Petty quickly emerged as the frontman and primary songwriter in the group, which soon developed a devoted local following.
The year 1974 proved a pivotal one for Petty, who married his girlfriend, Jane Benyo (with whom he already had a daughter, Kimberly), before moving to Los Angeles with Mudcrutch in the hopes of reaching a wider audience. There, Petty and Jane had their second daughter, Adria, and Mudcrutch signed to Shelter Records, but when their lone single went largely unnoticed, the group disbanded. However, the label recognized Petty’s talent and offered him a solo contract. Within a few years, their confidence in him would be duly rewarded.