Birthplace: Gainesville, Florida
Having begun playing guitar at 13 with an instrument his mother ordered through the Sears catalog, Petty went on to form (and disband, and reunite) several groups, the first of which was called Mudcrutch and was formed in 1973. Disappointing response to the group's first releases led to its breakup, only to get back together in 1975 as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Their eponymous debut album failed to win widespread distribution in the U.S. but was a hit in Britain. The group's third album Damn the Torpedoes (1979) was its first commercial success, and was followed up with Hard Promises (1981) and Long After Dark (1982). He won a Grammy for best male vocalist for ?You Don't Know How It Feels? (1995). He also recorded with The Traveling Wilburys and his solo recordings include Full Moon Fever (1990) and Wildflowers (1994).