Tom Petty Photography

Tom Petty

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers helped to usher in a melodic, jangly heartland rock revival starting in the mid ’70s that’s lasted to this very day. Led by the group’s namesake on vocals and rhythm guitar—alongside a fairly steady cast of collaborators—some of their most memorable early singles include “American Girl,” “Breakdown,” and “Refugee.”

The ’80s proved kind to Petty, who closed out the decade as part of the Traveling Wilburys supergroup. In 1989 Petty released his solo debut—and biggest hit—Full Moon Fever, which was responsible for the singles “Free Fallin’” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” He was quick to return to the Heartbreakers, however, joining forces again for 1991’s well-received Into the Great Wide Open, followed by 1993’s multi-platinum Greatest Hits compilation.

As the ’90s transitioned into the next millennium, Petty and company became even more sought after on the concert trail as both a solo act and a frequent festival headliner. In 2002, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In late 2017, this rock icon passed away unexpectedly at age 66 from an accidental drug overdose.

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