1953 - Born on October 20th in Gainesville, Florida. Thomas Petty was an American singer and songwriter whose roots-oriented guitar rock arose from the new-wave movement of the late 1970s and resulted in a string of hit singles and albums.
1970 - Petty dropped out of high school in Florida to tour with his band Mudcrutch.
1975 - After arriving in Los Angeles, the band quickly disintegrated, but Petty and two former members, Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, joined Ron Blair and Stan Lynch to form "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers".
1976 - Their album released, the band's eponymous debut album initially caused little stir in the United States.
1978 - The single “Breakdown” was a smash in Britain, and when it was re-released in the U.S. the song made the Top 40.
1979-1985 - "Damn the Torpedoes", featuring the hits “Don't Do Me Like That” and “Refugee”, shot to number two, and, though the group's success in the 1980s leveled off, there were several hits, including Petty's duet with Stevie Nicks, “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around”, and the Heartbreakers' “Don't Come Around Here No More.”
- Petty shattered his hand after punching a studio wall in frustration, but, to the surprise of doctors, he recovered to play guitar again.
1986 - The Heartbreakers backed Bob Dylan on tour.
1989 - Petty joined Dylan in the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, with whom Petty garnered his first Grammy Award.
- Fellow Wilbury Jeff Lynne (formerly of the Electric Light Orchestra) produced Petty's first solo album, Full Moon Fever, putting Petty back on the charts with the hit single “Free Fallin."
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