Much of this was taken from Tom Petty Online Magazine or
The Official Tom Petty & The Hearbreakers' Site

[Tom Petty]|[Mike Campbell]|[Howie Epstein]|[Benmont Tench]|[Stan Lynch]|[Ron Blair]
[Timeline]|[Band History]

Thomas Earl Petty 
Date of Birth: October 20, 1950
Place of Birth: Alachua Hospital  in Gainesville/Florida
Childhood/schooling: Sidney Lanier Elementary School,   Bishop Junior High School, played on the Football Team, Gainesville High School Graduated as class of 1968. He attended The University of Florida in Gainesville for a year until he dropped out to become musician.
Family: Earl and Katherine Petty were his parents. His father died December 1999, and his mother died in 1980. He had one younger brother. Also, Tom was married from 1974 - 1996 to Jane Benyo. They had 2 daughters: Adria and Kim. He now lives now with girlfriend Dana York and her son in Malibu.
Former Bands: Bull's-Eye, Sundowners, Epics, Mudcrutch
Musical talents: Lead Vocal, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Bass Guitar, 6 and 12 String Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Electric Piano, Harmonica, Percussion, Tambourine, (most likely others)
Member since: 1975

Michael Wayne Campbell
Date of Birth: February 1, 1950
Place of Birth: Panama City, Florida. Though he grew up in Jacksonville, Florida
Childhood/Schooling: He attended Ribault High School in Jacksonville, graduating class of 1968. He attended College in Gainesville, FL. for a while (UF), also dropping out to become a musician
Family: He married Marcie Campbell in 1975. They have 2 daughters: Brie and Kelsey and 1 son: Darien
Former Bands: Dead Or Alive, Mudcrutch
Musical Talents: Lead Guitar, 6 and 12 string Electronic and Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Mandoline, Dobro, Bouzouki, Keyboards, Piano... anything else you hear of.
Member Since: 1975
More Info: MIKE CAMPBELL belongs to an elite group of musicians. As Guitar World noted, "There are only a handful of guitarists who can claim to have never wasted a note. Mike Campbell is certainly one of them." Beyond his role as the Heartbreakers' guitarist, Campbell co-produced the Echo album with Tom Petty and Rick Rubin. He also co-produced the Heartbreakers' albums Southern Accents, Pack Up The Plantation Live!, Let Me Up (I've Had Enough), Into The Great Wide Open and She's The One, as well as the Petty solo albums Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers. Outside the Heartbreakers, Campbell has co-written an array of songs including "The Boys of Summer" and "Heart of the Matter" (both with Don Henley). Other songwriting credits include songs for Roger McGuinn and Stevie Nicks. He also produced four songs on Roy Orbison's Mystery Girl album.

Howard Norman Epstein 
Born: July 21, 1955, Native of Milwaukee / Wisconsin 
Education: Nicolet High School in Milwaukee, class of 1973 
Family: Girlfriend: Carlene Carter, 1 daughter (not with Carlene) 
Former Bands: MHG Experience, Egz, Winks, Forearm Smash, The Craze, John Hiatt, Del Shannon 
Instruments: Bass Guitar, Harmony Vocals, Backing Vocals 
Member Since: 1982
Debut:  With TP and THB on January 9, 1982 at Santa Cruz Auditorium in California 
More Info:  HOWIE EPSTEIN, one of rock's most noted bassists, joined Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers in 1982. Beyond his role in the group as a musician and a backing vocalist, his harmonies with Tom are a Heartbreakers trademark. The born-and-bred Milwaukee musician has also earned acclaim as a songwriter and a producer. He produced two albums for John Prine, including 1991's The Missing Years, which won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording, as well as Eric Anderson's Memory Of The Future. Epstein also produced two albums for Carlene Carter: Little Love Letters and I Fell In Love, the latter featuring his co-written title cut, nominated for "Best Female Country Vocal Performance." As a player, Epstein has been featured on songs by such artists as Bob Dylan, John Hiatt, Stevie Nicks, Roy Orbison and Del Shannon.  

Benjamin Montmorency Tench III 
Date of Birth: September 7, 1953
Place of Birth: Gainesville/Florida, Where he also grew up.
Childhood/Schooling: He attended Exceter High School in New England, graduating class of 1971. He then attended College until he also dropped out to become musician 
Family: Married Courtney Tench in 1991, but they have since divorced. 
Former Bands: The Apathetics, Mudcrutch 
Musical Talents: Keyboards, Electric Piano, Harmonium, Vocals etc. 
Member Since: 1975
More Info: BENMONT TENCH is recognized as one of rock's most accomplished keyboardists. According to Keyboard magazine, "He illuminates Petty's songs with a softer lighting, revealing yet never intrusive," adding that Tench "has made himself invaluable by making himself inconspicuous. Not that nobody noticed: the Rolling Stone Record Guide described his work as "the ultimate extension of Al Kooper's playing with Bob Dylan in the mid '60s. Dylan himself, and dozens of other artists, have recruited him for sessions." Other artists whose songs he's played on include Mary Chapin Carpenter, Carlene Carter, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Don Henley, Waylon Jennings, Alanis Morissette, Roy Orbison, John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, U2, Paul Westerberg and X. Benmont has also written songs for other artists, including Roseanne Cash (her #1 hit "Never Be You," co-written with Petty), Carlene Carter, Hal Ketchum and Delbert McClinton.

Stanley ??? Lynch;
Date of Birth: Stan Lynch was born May 21, 1955
Place of Birth: Cincinnati, Ohio
Former Bands:
Musical Talents:
Time in the band: 1975 - 1994
More Info: STAN LYNCH has been drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from 1975 to 1994, Stan Lynch was born May 21, 1955 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His last gig with TP&HB was on October 2, 1994 at the Bridge School Benefit Concert in Mountain View, California. Stan has most recently been working as a songwriter and producer.



Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was released to scant attention and began a very slow but very steady pattern of selling a little better every week while the band toured clubs across the USA. . . . If not for the self motivated efforts of an ABC promo man named Jon Scott who fell in love with the album, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers might have never got on the FM radio in L.A. . . . But the big break came when the record caught fire in England.

There was a spirit in the air that the Heartbreakers were a band, not just a singer and his backing group, and toward that end they insisted the cover of the second album be a group shot. Petty, showing what would become a characteristic disregard for commercial agendas, strained to make the second record as different as possible from the first.

"It was a very dramatic period in my life. Iovine and I used to call each other and we'd say,'Do you think it'll ever come out? Do you think anybody will ever get to hear it?' We really didn't know, but it certainly gave us a little extra push in the studio. We were going to get that album made."

Damn The Torpedoes sold millions and made Petty a big star. Before its release, Dimitriades and Roberts called a band meeting to put to rest the notion that this was a group of five equals. Petty wrote the songs, they said, Petty sang the songs; from now on it would be Petty's picture on the album covers and Petty calling the shots. Anyone who couldn't live with that should hit the road. No one did.

When he found out that MCA planned to jack up the price of his next album, Hard Promises, to a then-unprecedented $9.98, he refused to deliver the album until they relented. At one point he even claimed he was going to title the record $8.98.

"I really like Long After Dark," Benmont says. "It's got spirit. It's of a piece. It doesn't sound at all scattered. . . . It's one of my favorite records we made. That period of time felt really good and intense. .. It's got a real good mood and it sounds like the way we sounded then."

"It was a fine album but to me it was treading water, we'd been down that road before." - Petty

Long After Dark was a hit and with the innovative "Mad Max" conceptual video for "You Got Lucky", Petty and the Heartbreakers became a staple of the new television channel MTV.

Petty began recording Southern Accents in a studio he had built in his house. He wanted to make a conceptual double album about his roots in the south, and he began writing songs both personal and anthemic. Driving around Georgia and Florida he wrote down single words - "Apartment", "Rebels", "Trailer" - that evoked for him the feeling of the place where he grew up. An early idea was to write a song to go with each such image. One by one he called in the Heartbreakers to play on this track or that, until the solo album had evolved back into a Heartbreakers record.

Thematically, Petty was moving closer to a subject that he would come back to on such later compositions as "Free Fallin'" and "Zombie Zoo" - The disaffected kids who were growing up in the shadow of their self absorbed Baby Boom elders. . . "I was thinking about the alienation of the young kids at that time who really didn't want to know about it.

They actually were that generation between the Baby Boomers and what they now call Generation X. . . That was who I was trying to sing about. . . With all the negative situations we're in now we tend to look past that, but to me the disintegration of the family has so much to do with the whole makeup of society." He laughs at his seriousness and explains, "I tried to squeeze it all in."

Petty kept sitting on Full Moon Fever, as he dubbed the album from Mike's garage, while the Wilburys album ran its course. He finally released it in the spring of 1989. The first two singles, "I Won't Back Down" and "Running Down a Dream," did well, and the album was quite successful, but the third "Free Fallin'" struck a chord with kids across America and pushed Full Moon Fever over the three million mark. It finally passed Torpedoes as Petty's all-time best-seller.

The band reconvened for 1991's Into the Great Wide Open. Petty brought back Jeff Lynne to produce, the first time Lynne had worked with the full Heartbreakers. . . maybe it was the awkwardness of the Heartbreakers trying to fit Lynne's blueprint, but the spontaneity that had marked all of Petty's projects since Let Me Up was missing. . .The resistance showed in the recording. Into The Great Wide Open had some wonderful songs and produced some hit singles, but overall the album felt constricted in a way Petty's other recent work had not.

He still owed MCA a Greatest Hits album, though, and with some reluctance agreed to cut a couple of new songs for it. . . The Heartbreakers assembled at Mike's house and tore through everything from Elvis Presley numbers to new rockers such as "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and the screaming "Come on Down to My House" - just the sort of thing Stan loved.

More History

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Upon the release of their first album in the late '70s, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were shoehorned into the punk/new wave movement by some observers, who picked up on the tough, vibrant energy of the group's blend of Byrds riffs and Stonesy swagger. In a way, the categorization made sense. Compared to the heavy metal and art-rock that dominated mid-'70s guitar-rock, the Heartbreakers' bracing return to roots was nearly as unexpected as the crashing chords of the Clash. As time progressed, it became clear that the band didn't break from tradition like their punk contemporaries. Instead, they celebrated it, culling the best parts of the British Invasion, American garage rock, and Dylanesque singer/songwriters to create a distinctively American hybrid that recalled the past without being indebted to it. The Heartbreakers were a tight, muscular and versatile backing band that provided the proper support for Petty's songs, which cataloged a series of middle-class losers and dreamers. While his slurred, nasal voice may have recalled Dylan and Roger McGuinn, Petty's songwriting was lean and direct, recalling the simple, unadorned style of Neil Young. Throughout his career, Petty & the Heartbreakers never departed from their signature rootsy sound, but they were able to expand it, bringing in psychedelic, southern rock and New Wave influences; they were also one of the few of the traditionalist rock & rollers who embraced music videos, filming some of the most inventive and popular videos in MTV history. His willingness to experiment with the boundaries of classic rock & roll helped Petty sustain his popularity well into the '90s.

Born and raised in northern Florida, Tom Petty began playing music while he was still in high school. At the age of 17, he dropped out of school to join Mudcrutch, which also featured guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench. By 1970, Mudcrutch had moved to Los Angeles with hopes of finding a record contract. The fledgling Shelter Records, founded by Leon Russel and Denny Cordell, offered the group a contract. However, Mudcrutch splintered apart shortly after relocating to LA. Cordell was willing to record Petty as a solo act, but the singer's reception to the idea was tenative. Over the next few years, Petty drifted through bands, eventually hooking back up with Campbell and Tench in 1975. At the time, the duo were working with bassist Ron Blair and drummer Stan Lynch; soon, Petty became involved with the band, who were then named the Heartbreakers. Petty was still under contract to Shelter, and the group assumed his deal, releasing Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in 1976.

Initially, the band's debut was ignored in the United States, but when the group supported it in England with a tour opening for Nils Lofgren, the record began to take off. Within a few months, the band was headlining its own British tours and the album was in the UK Top 30. Prompted by the record's British success, Shelter pushed the album and the single "Breakdown" in the US, this time to success; "Breakdown" became a Top 40 hit and "American Girl" became an album-oriented radio staple. You're Gonna Get It, the Heartbreakers' second album, was released in 1978 and it became the group's first Amerian Top 40 record. Petty & the Heartbreakers were poised to break into the big-time when they ran into severe record company problems. Shelter's parent company, ABC Records, was bought by MCA Records, and Petty attempted to renegotiate his contract with the label. MCA was unwilling to meet most of his demands, and half-way through 1979, he filed for bankruptcy. Soon afterward, he settled into an agreement with MCA, signing with their subsidiary Backstreet Records. Released late in 1979, Damn the Torpedoes was his first release on Backstreet.

Damn the Torpedoes was Petty's breakthrough release, earning uniformly excellent reviews, generating the Top 10 hit "Don't Do Me Like That" and the number 15 "Refugee," and spending seven weeks at number two on the US charts; it would eventually sell over two million copies. Though he was at a peak of popularity, Petty ran into record company trouble again when he and the Heartbreakers prepared to release Hard Promises , the 1981 followup to Damn the Torpedoes . MCA wanted to release the record at the list price of $9.98, which was a high price at the time. Petty refused to comply to their wishes, threatening to withhold the album from the label and organizing a fan protest which forced the company to release the record at $8.98. Hard Promises became a Top 10 hit, going platinum and spawning the hit single "The Waiting." Later that year, Petty produced Del Shannon's comeback album Drop Down and Get Me and wrote "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," as a duet for himself and Stevie Nicks. Featured on her album Bella Donna, which was recorded with the Heartbreakers support, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" became a number three hit. Petty & the Heartbreakers returned late in 1982 with Long After Dark , which became their third Top 10 album in a row. Following its release, bassist Ron Blair left the band and was replaced by Howie Epstein, who previously played with John Hiatt.

Petty & the Heartbreakers spent nearly three years making Southern Accents , the followup to Long After Dark . Hiring Eurythmic Dave Stewart as a producer, the band attempted to branch out musically, reaching into new territories like soul, psychedelia and New Wave. However, the recording wasn't easy -- at its worst, Petty punched a studio wall and broke his left hand, reportedly in frustration over the mixing. Southern Accents was finally released in the spring of 1985, preceded by the neo-psychedelic single "Don't Come Around Here No More," which featured a popular, psuedo-Alice in Wonderland video. Southern Accents was another hit record, peaking at number seven and going platinum. Following its release, Petty & the Heartbreakers spent 1986 on tour as Bob Dylan's backing band. Dylan contributed to the lead single, "Jammin' Me," from the Heartbreakers' next album Let Me Up (I've Had Enough), which was released to mixed reviews in the spring of 1987. Just after the record's release, Petty's house and most of his belongings were destroyed by fire; he, his wife and two daughters survived uncathed.

During 1988, Petty became a member of the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, which also featured Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne. The Wilburys released their first album at the end of 1988 and its sound became the blueprint for Petty's first solo effort, 1989's Full Moon Fever . Prodcued by Lynne and featuring the support of most of the Heartbreakers, Full Moon Fever became Petty's commercial pinnacle, reaching number three on the US charts, going triple platinum, and generating the hit singles "I Won't Back Down," "Runnin' Down A Dream" and "Free Fallin'," which reached number seven. In 1990, he contributed to the Traveling Wilburys second album, Vol. 3. Petty officially reunited with the Heartbreakers on Into the Great Wide Open , which was also produced by Jeff Lynne. Released in the spring of 1991, Into the Great Wide Open sustained the momentum of Full Moon Fever, earning strong reviews and going platinum.

Following the release of 1993's Greatest Hits , which featured two new tracks produced by Rick Rubin, including the Top 20 hit "Mary Jane's Last Dance," Petty left MCA for Warner Brothers; upon signing, it was revealed that he negotiated the $20 million deal in 1989. Drummer Stan Lynch left the Heartbreakers in 1994, as Petty was recording his second solo album with producer Rubin and many members of the Heartbreakers. Like Full Moon Fever before it, 1994's Wildflowers was greeted to enthusiastic reviews and sales, tying his previous solo album for his biggest-selling studio album. In addition to going triple platinum and peaking at number eight, the album spawned the hit singles "You Don't Know How It Feels," "You Wreck Me" and "It's Good To Be King." Petty and the Heartbreakers reunited in 1996 to record the soundtrack for the Edward Burns film She's the One. The resulting soundtrack album was a moderate hit, peaking at number 15 on the US charts and going gold. Echo followed three years later.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All-Music Guide

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