Tom Petty

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Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He was the frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and a member of Mudcrutch. He was also a member of the Supergroup The Traveling Wilburys under the pseudonym of "Charlie T. Wilbury Jr." He recorded a number of hit singles, many of which remain heavily played on adult contemporary and classic rock radio. Likewise, his music, most notably his hits, became increasingly popular among younger fans as he continued to host sold-out shows through the end of his life.

Petty was also a vocal critic of the modern recording industry and the disappearance of independent radio stations.

Petty was supported by his band, The Heartbreakers, for the majority of his career. He occasionally released solo work, such as 2006's Highway Companion, on which he performed most of the backing instrumentation himself. However, members of The Heartbreakers have played on each of his solo albums and the band has always backed him when touring in support of those albums. He also toured with Mudcrutch in order to promote their debut album. Petty was managed by Tony Dimitriades since 1976. On February 3, 2008, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed at the Super Bowl XLII Halftime show.

He had a minor but credited acting role as a mayor in Kevin Costner's post-apocalyptic (and box office) disaster film The Postman and was the voice of Lucky (Luanne Platter's redneck boyfriend-turned-husband) on the later seasons of the FOX sitcom King of the Hill.

Petty suffered a massive heart attack early in the morning of October 2, 2017, and died later that night at a hospital in Santa Monica, California.

Notable Tom Petty songs:

Tom Petty provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Abusive Dad: Unfortunately for Tom.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played with in "Free Fallin'".
  • Animated Music Video: "Runnin' Down a Dream".
  • Deadpan Snarker: While Tom was pretty articulate most of the time, he was known to be one.
    • For one example, he and Bob Dylan were asked at a press conference in 1986 why they decided to tour together. Petty's answer: "Money." He also added in a newspaper interview, "It also helped that Bob asked me."
    • Once, when asked if using cocaine affected his songwriting during the recording of Southern Accents, Petty replied "No, I think it affected my breaking my hand." [1]
  • Executive Meddling: "Let's roll another 'tnioj'".
    • Also Averted in several close-calls. In one early example, the record company wanted him to change the word "cocaine" to "champagne" in "Listen to Her Heart". The strange thing is, the context of the song makes it anti-cocaine.
  • Functional Addict: In the last weeks of his life, Petty admitted to being a heroin addict during the early years of his career.
  • The Last DJ: His song of that title is the Trope Namer.
  • Let's Meet the Meat
  • Nice Hat: Unfortunately, the original grey top hat got destroyed when his house burned down. He got another one, though.
  • Notable Music Videos
  • Studio Chatter: Several times. One notable example is on an obscure B-Side called "Heartbreakers Beach Party"; at the end Tom says "All right, another modern classic."
  • The Oner: "You Don't Know How It Feels".
  1. For a bit of context, Petty got frustrated with the recording process and punched the wall. He shattered his left hand. He got better.