Tom Petty forms Mudcrutch in Gainesville, Florida. Guitarist Mike Campbell joins the same year and keyboardist Benmont Tench signs on in 1973.
Mudcrutch – which includes Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench – is signed to Shelter Records and records a single, “Depot Street.”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers form from the seeds of the disbanded Mudcrutch.
The self-titled debut album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is released. It contains “Breakdown” (#40), their first Top Forty hit.
‘You’re Gonna Get It!,’ Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ second album, is released. It climbs to #55 and spins off two singles that just miss the Top Forty
Tom Petty files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, inaugurating a legal wrangle with his old label (Shelter) and the major label that acquired it (MCA). Petty agrees to record for a newly created MCA subsidiary, Backstreet Records.
Damn the Torpedoes, the long-awaited third album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, is released. A rock and roll milestone, it yields two hit singles – “Don’t Do Me Like That” (#10) and “Refugee” (#15) – and the classic-rock tracks “Here Comes My Girl” and “Even the Losers.”
Tom Petty withholds the tapes for Hard Promises, his fourth album, until MCA abandons plans to hike the list price from $8.98 to $9.98.
Howie Epstein replaces Ron Blair on bass in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
‘Damn the Torpedoes’ is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ first album to be certified platinum (one million copies sold).
‘Long After Dark,’ by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, is released. It spawns the hits “You Got Lucky” (#20) and “Change of Heart” (#21).
During sessions for ‘Southern Accents,’ a frustrated Tom Petty strikes a wall and breaks his hand. His guitar-playing ability in jeopardy, he undergoes a successful surgery.
‘Southern Accents,’ Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sixth album, is released. Coproduced by Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics), it yields the #13 hit “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers back up Bob Dylan on the first date of a world tour. The successful pairing will continue into the next year.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ ‘Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough)’ is released. It includes “Jammin’ Me” (#18).
The Traveling Wilburys – a low-key supergroup comprising Tom Petty, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison – come together to record their first album, which is released in October.
‘Full Moon Fever,’ Tom Petty’s first solo album, is released. It sells 3 million copies and yields the hit singles “I Won’t Back Down” (#12), “Runnin’ Down a Dream” (#23), “Free Fallin’” (#7) and “A Face in the Crowd” (#46).
Three days after Tom Petty kicks off a tour with the Heartbreakers, his ‘Full Moon Fever’ solo disc peaks at #3.
Tom Petty wins his first Grammy when the Traveling Wilburys’ debut album takes the category “Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.”
The Traveling Wilburys’ second album, ‘Volume 3,’ is released. The group has been whittled down to a quartet of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison following the passing of Roy Orbison in 1988.
‘Into the Great Wide Open,’ Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ first album as a band in four years, is released. It yields the hit “Learning to Fly” (#28).
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform a homecoming concert in Gainesville, Florida.
‘Greatest Hits,’ a 17-track compendium by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, enters the album chart. It will reside there for 155 weeks, reach #5 and sell more than nine million copies.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform at Neil Young’s annual Bridge School benefit concert. It is the last show for departing drummer Stan Lynch, who is replaced by Steve Ferrone.
‘Wildflowers,’ Tom Petty’s second solo album – and first under a new contract with Warner Bros. – is released. “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” Petty’s final Top Forty hit of the millennium, will reach #13.
‘Playback,’ a box set that marks Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 20th anniversary, is released. One of the best of its kind, the six-disc set contains 92 tracks, plus a booklet, poster and laminated backstage pass.
Tom Petty wins the “Best Male Rock Vocal Performance” Grammy for “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” from ‘Wildflowers.’
‘She’s the One,’ Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ soundtrack for the movie of the same name, is released.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers kick off the first of 20 dates in a marathon stand at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium.
Per a mayoral decree, it is “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Day” in San Francisco.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers kick off their second multi-night stand at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers release ‘Echo,’ their tenth studio album as a band.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ ‘Greatest Hits’ album receives its ninth platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), signifying sales of nine million copies.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the seventeenth annual induction dinner. Jakob Dylan is their presenter.
Howie Epstein of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers passes away.