With his nasally voice and chiming guitar, Petty and his longtime band, the Heartbreakers, churned out an instantly recognizable brand of sturdy, heartland rock that made them a classic-radio staple for decades.
Petty, along with the band, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Petty sang with Stevie Nicks that same year on her smash hit, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” The duet kicked off a long and fruitful period of collaboration between Petty and other artists.
Petty joined Bob Dylan on tour the next year, which also included dates with the Grateful Dead. He joined fellow music legends Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison in 1988 to form The Traveling Wilburys.
Petty joined his first band, The Sundowners, in high school at the age of 14.
After getting into an argument with the band’s drummer, Petty quit and moved on to join a group called The Epics, which included Tom Leadon, a brother of Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon.
A new group that included Petty and two former Mudcrutch members formed in 1975, eventually becoming known as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Petty told CNN in a 2007 interview that he loved music as much as it loved him.