Tom Petty's Songs Live On: The American Treasure's Legacy

By | October 4, 2017

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Tom Petty performs at the Poplar Creek Music Theater in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, June 18, 1980. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

We'll never forget the late Tom Petty, whose songs were anthems (and pop hits) that spanned five decades. From the early days of "Breakdown," "American Girl" and "Don't Do Me Like That," to his later work with the Traveling Wilburys, Petty contributed music that still remains fresh. A Florida native, Petty was a fiercely independent artist who had no patience for recording-industry shenanigans. He was a man of many talents. Petty was a singer, songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist. He also dabbled in acting, making cameo appearances from time to time.

Just A Kid In Florida: The Early Days

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Thomas Earl Petty was born on October 20, 1950 in Gainesville, Florida. As a young boy, Petty was always drawn to music. His love affair with rock and roll began when he was 10 years old. Petty’s uncle was working on the set of Follow That Dream, an Elvis Presley movie being shot in Ocala, Florida in 1961. 10-year-old, Tom, got the thrill of a lifetime when he was invited to the set and had the opportunity to meet larger-than-life musician and actor, Presley. The meeting turned out to be a pivotal event in Petty’s life.