Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform at Germain Amphitheater Wednesday night June 14, 2006.
Tom Petty died Monday night, October 2, 2017 after being rushed to a Los Angeles hospital, Petty’s manager Tony Dimitriades confirmed. He was 66.
The singer was found unconscious in his Malibu home on Sunday night October 1, 2017, authorities said.
Petty was transported to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital where he was reportedly placed on life support.
With his nasally voice and chiming guitar, Petty and his longtime band, the Heartbreakers, churned out an instantly recognizable brand of sturdy, heartland rock that made them a classic-radio staple for decades.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. In 1976, the band’s original lineup was Tom Petty as the primary vocalist and guitar player, Mike Campbell as the lead guitarist, Ron Blair on bass, Stan Lynch on drums, and Benmont Tench on keyboards. The band has largely maintained this lineup, with a few exceptions.
In 1982, Blair, who was tired of the touring lifestyle, left the band. Blair’s replacement, Howie Epstein, was with the band for the next twenty years. Blair returned to the Heartbreakers in 2002, the year before Epstein’s death. In 1994, Lynch, who left the band, was replaced by Curt Bisquera and Steve Ferrone. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were on the forefront of the heartland rock movement, alongside artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger, which arose in the late 1970s and 1980s. The genre eschews the synthesizer-based music and fashion elements being popularized in the 1980s, such as synthpop and New Romanticism in favor of a straightforward classic rock sound and lyrics based on relatable, blue collar issues. Petty and the Heartbreakers are known for hit singles such as “American Girl”, “Breakdown”, “The Waiting”, “Learning to Fly”, “Refugee” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”. While the heartland rock movement fizzled in the 1990s, the band remained active and popular.
Their most recent album, Hypnotic Eye, was released on July 25, 2014. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time. Although most of their material is produced and performed under the name “The Heartbreakers”, Petty has released three solo albums, the most successful being 1989’s Full Moon Fever. In these releases, members of the band contributed as studio musicians.