Tom Petty is the front man and songwriter for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, the rock band whose most famous song is the late 1970s hit “Breakdown”. Petty and his fellow band members got started in their home state of Florida, but in the mid-1970s they headed to Los Angeles to make records. Their 1976 debut eponymous album included the songs “Breakdown” and “American Girl,” and the band became a hit in the U.K.
By the time their second album was released in 1978 (You’re Gonna Get It), their first record was making the charts in the U.S. The success of 1979’s Damn the Torpedoes (with hits such as “Refugee”) catapulted them from the nightclub circuit to sold-out arenas. In the late ‘80s Petty did solo work (1989’s Full Moon Fever was a top seller) and collaborated with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne in the band The Traveling Wilburys. As a 2002 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Petty has had a string of hits as a solo artist and with The Heartbreakers, including “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “Into the Great Wide Open” and “Free Fallin’.”