The world lost a legend on October 2nd, 2017. Rocker Tom Petty died peacefully after being found Sunday night in cardiac arrest. He was surrounded by his family, bandmates and friends. He was a well known rock star from the 1970s to the 1980s. Originally from Florida, Petty took an interest to rock by learning to play the guitar. The news has saddened and shocked not only the music world but his fans as well. He burst onto the music scene with his band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in the 1970’s. The band was currently in the midst of a tour. But how much do you actually know about the beloved rock star? Here are 20 Tom Petty facts that you probably didn’t know about his life.
1. Battle Over $1
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Petty got into a battle with his record company over a dollar. Back in 1981, Petty got into a heated battle with MCA Records over the list price for his “Hard Promises” album. MCA wanted to issue the release with an “inflated” price of $9.98 but Petty insisted it be listed at $8.98. There was a time that he even threatened to change the album title to “Eight Ninety Eight.” In the end, Petty and rock fans everywhere won when the company went with the lower price.
2. Against Greed In Music Industry
Petty capped his concert ticket prices at $65 instead of the nearly $150 that many artists of his caliber were charging in the early 2000s. He was quoted by Rolling Stone saying that he made millions on the road and did not see a reason to charge so much that only the wealthy could afford his shows.
3. Abusive Father
Tom’s father was a drunk who was physically and mentally abusive to his son. In his book Petty: The Biography, the singer revealed that he was used to “living in hell” because of his father. At the young age of five, his father beat him so bad that he was covered in welts from head to toe. He also recalls getting the living crap beat out of him after he accidentally hit his father’s 55 Cadillac with a slingshot. He finally got the therapy he needed as an adult to deal with his abusive childhood.
4. Guitar Lessons
Tom Petty took guitar lessons from Don Felder of The Eagles.
5. Friendship With Stevie Nicks
Petty has often referred to his decades-long friendship with Stevie Nicks as fiery and intense. She was one of the constants in his life. She helped him through ending his first marriage, his depression and reconnecting with his daughters. Nicks was one of the trusted few in Petty’s life. These two had a friendship that was deeper than fans could ever know.
6. Donating To New Orleans
He donated to New Orleans schools’ music programs after Hurricane Katrina. He put a song on the Fats Domino tribute album in 2007. Petty helped rebuild schools’ music programs after Katrina alongside other legends such as Elton John, Paul McCartney, and Neil Young.
7. Major Movie Star Moments
Petty and the Heartbreakers are known for working with A-list stars for their music videos. Johnny Depp starred in the video for the 1991 song “Into the Great Wide Open. Kim Basinger appeared in the video for “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” They wrote and recorded the entire soundtrack for the 1996 Jennifer Aniston flick “She’s The One” which surprised fans.
8. Credits Elvis & The Beatles For His Music Career
At 11-years old an encounter with the Elvis Presley made Petty realize he wanted to play music for a living. He did not believe anyone would ever create music like The King so he didnt think his dream was realistic. When he saw The Beatles, he realize he could write and sing his own music. This made his dream seem like it could be more of a reality. After watching The Beatles on television, he packed his bags and headed for Hollywood.
9. Settlement With San Smith
Sam Smith, singer of the song “Stay With Me” recently settled with Tom Petty for copying his song, “I Won’t Back Down”. Smith is required to pay Tom Petty 12.5% for a writing credit.
10. Net Worth
His net worth is over $75 million dollars.
11. Heroin Habit
He kicked a heroin habit in the ’90s. Petty didn’t talk about it until the late 2000s so he wouldn’t be a bad example to young people. He finally did let it be known in a biography that he’d had a heroin problem and had overcome it.
12. Haunted By His Mother
His mom’s name is Kitty. Petty said after she died, she would show up as a ghost in his hotel rooms around the world.
13. Dave Grohl
He nearly convinced Dave Grohl to become a Heartbreaker. In late 1994, the suicide of Kurt Cobain had effectively ended Nirvana. Dave Grohl was at a crossroads and didnt know if he should go forward with the solo demos he was recording or accept Tom’s offer to replace fired drummer Stan Lynch. Grohl made the choice to start Foo Fighters. Considering the millions of albums of the Foo Fighters have sold, it was undeniably the right one.
14. Got Lucky
The video for “You Got Lucky” was inspired by Clint Eastwood movies.
15. King Of The Hill
He was Luanne Platter’s husband on King Of The Hill. Tom Petty made a rare foray into the world of voice acting when he played Lucky, a redneck who lucked out when he “slipped on pee-pee” at a gas station and won $53,000 in the resulting lawsuit. Eventually Lucky would also win the affections of Hank Hill’s niece, Luanne, and they would later get married and have a child. Towards the end of the show’s run, Petty was more or less a regular part of King Of The Hill‘s cast, even though he was still credited as a guest star.
16. Immortalized By Hip Hop
He hass been immortalized in the world of hip-hop. In 2012, Little Dragon, Killer Mike, and Big Boi released the song “Thom Pettie”. It features the chorus “Thom Pettie that ho/Free falling, we out all night.” Big Boi claimed that “Tom Pettying” or “Thom Pettieing” referred to having a wild, unpredictable night out that could take you anywhere.
17. He Was An Actor
He has made cameos in films like FM and Made in Heaven, but had a more substantial part in Kevin Costner’s film, The Postman. He was credited simply as “The Mayor”. Petty gets a small bit of screen time in this film.
18. Mudcrunch Reunion
He reunited his old band Mudcrutch in 2008 and they made a great record. Before the Heartbreakers, there was Mudcrutch. Petty was in this band with Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, along with Tom Leadon and Randall Marsh. When the Mudcrunch band split up, the Heartbreakers were formed. In 2008 Petty reunited Mudcrutch for a self-titled album which proved to be Petty’s strongest effort in years.
He was once denied. Tom Petty’s first solo album, Full Moon Fever, is certified five-times Platinum. This album was originally turned down by his record company.
20. Saturday Night Live’s Five Timers Club