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Tom Petty’s Group Sings to Rock Fans
By Lori Hernandez
The Lowell — April 6, 1980
New Wave group Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have been making music for the past five years.
The purpose of the band, which includes Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Stan Lynch, Benmont Tench, and Ron Blair, is to “make honest rock and roll” and “to combat disco trance music.”
The son of a Gainesville, Florida, insurance salesman, Petty started his first at age 13 after seeing girls go wild over Elvis Presley on a movie set. By the age of 17, he had dropped out of school to become a member of the Mudcrutch band.
After becoming a local Gainesville attraction, Mudcrutch decided to go to Los Angeles, contacted various recording companies and by the end of the first week they had seven offers. They finally signed with Shelter Records and moved to Los Angeles. But the band soon broke up due to disagreements over song arrangements.
Petty tried doing a solo album with some studio musicians but thought the sound was too “tame” and was looking for sound that would wake people up.
Finally, Petty ran into a few musicians he had played with in Gainesville. “We played together the first day, the next day we called them and asked if they wanted to start a band,” Petty explains.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakeers went right to work on their first album entitled, “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,” which took about two weeks to produce and was released in September, 1976.
Petty and the band toured England with Blondie and Tuff Darts and finally got top billing during another British tour. During this time, their first album had hit the top 23 on British album charts with “American Girl” and “Anything That’s Rock and Roll” hitting the singles chart.
They returned to the United States to find that “Breakdown” (also from their first album) had started hitting the United States Charts. Feeling confident from their successful England tour, the Heartbreakers decided to delay their second album in order to do a non-stop tour through most of 1977.
Their second and most current album, “You’re Gonna Get It,” has had two singles, “I Need to Know” and “Listen to Her Heart.” With the New Wave picking up popularity, it looks as if Petty and the Heartbreakers are gonna hit it big.