->''Well I started out, down a dirty road,\\
Started out, all alone.\\
And the sun went down, as I crossed the hill,\\
And the town lit up, the world got still.''
-->"Learning To Fly"

'''Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty''' (born October 20, 1950 in Gainesville, Florida) is an American singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist. He is the frontman of ''Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers'' and a member of ''Mudcrutch.'' He was also a member of the {{supergroup}} Music/TheTravelingWilburys under the pseudonym of Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. He has recorded a number of hit singles, many of which remain heavily played on adult contemporary and classic rock radio. Likewise, his music, most notably his hits, have become increasingly popular among younger fans as he continues to host sold-out shows in his recent tour dates.

Petty is also a vocal critic of the modern recording industry and the disappearance of independent radio stations.

He has been supported by his band, ''The Heartbreakers,'' for the majority of his career. He has occasionally released solo work, as is the case with 2006's ''Highway Companion,'' on which he performed most of the backing instrumentation himself. However, members of The Heartbreakers have played on each of his solo albums and the band has always backed him when touring in support of those albums. He has also toured with ''Mudcrutch'' in order to promote their debut album. Petty has been managed by Tony Dimitriades since 1976. On February 3, 2008, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed at the Super Bowl XLII Halftime show.

He had a minor but credited acting role as a mayor in Creator/KevinCostner's post-apocalyptic (and [[SnarkBait box office]]) disaster film ''Film/ThePostman'' and was the voice of Lucky (Luanne Platter's redneck boyfriend turned husband) on the later seasons of the Creator/{{FOX}} sitcom ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' (though the first time Lucky appeared on a ''King of the Hill'' episode was "The Redneck of Rainey Street," which focused on Kahn and Minh becoming trailer trash after Kahn, Jr. gets rejected from a college prep summer school program).

!! Notable Tom Petty songs:

* ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lWJXDG2i0A Free Fallin']]''
* ''[[https://www.mtvmusic.com/petty_tom/videos/18159/don_t_come_around_here_no_more.jhtml Don't Come Around Here No More]]''
* ''[[https://www.mtvmusic.com/petty_tom/videos/150713/refugee.jhtml Refugee]]''
* ''[[http://www.mtvmusic.com/petty_tom/videos/150418/runnin_down_a_dream.jhtml Runnin' Down a Dream]]''
* ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5BJXwNeKsQ Learning to Fly]]''
* ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvlTJrNJ5lA I Won't Back Down]]''

!! "I'm runnin' down the tropes:"
* [[AbusiveParents Abusive Dad]]: Unfortunately for Tom.
* AliceAllusion: The whole video for "Don't Come Around Here No More."
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Played with in "Free Fallin.'"
* AnimatedMusicVideo: "Runnin' Down a Dream."
** Also a ShoutOut to ''ComicStrip/LittleNemo.''
* AudienceParticipationSong: "Breakdown." He doesn't even need to sing it live anymore, just give the cue and let the audience do the work. On the ''Pack Up the Plantation - Live'' album, recorded in 1985, after the audience belts out an excellent rendition of the first verse and the chorus, he quips: "You people are gonna put me out of a job." On "Learning to Fly" he often gets the audience to sing the chorus while he sings counterpoint lines between them as seen [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p_f7Df2-oM here.]]
* BoDiddleyBeat: "American Girl."
* BodyHorror: At the end of "Don't Come Around Here No More," Alice turns into a cake and is eaten by the band.
* CoolOldGuy: Tom and the rest of the Heartbreakers are all in their sixties and still put on amazing live shows.
* DeadpanSnarker: While Tom is pretty articulate most of the time, he has been known to be one.
** For one example, he and Bob Dylan were asked at a press conference in 1986 why they decided to tour together. Petty's answer: "[[MoneyDearBoy Money.]]" He also added in a newspaper interview: "It also helped that Bob asked me."
** Once, when asked if using cocaine affected his songwriting during the recording of ''Southern Accents,'' Petty replied: "No, I think it affected my breaking my hand." [[note]] For a bit of context, Petty got frustrated with the recording process and punched the wall. He shattered his left hand. He got better. [[/note]]
* {{Determinator}}: "I Won't Back Down."
* TheGoodKing: Claims this is what he would be in "It's Good to Be King:"
** "Yeah the world would swing, oh if I were king"
* TheLastDJ: His song of that title is the {{Trope Namer|s}}.
* LetsMeetTheMeat: In the "Don't Come Around Here No More" video, Alice's body turns into a cake and the Mad Hatter and his guests cut up and eat the cake.
* LongRunnerLineUp: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have been Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Scott Thurston, Ron Blair, Bennmont Tench, and Steve Ferrone since 2002. Petty, Campbell, and Tench have been playing together since 1971, when they were all part of the band Mudcrutch. Blair was with the Heartbreakers from 1975-1982 and returned in 2002, replacing his own replacement, the late Howie Epstein . Original drummer, Stan Lynch, was with the band for 18 years as well.
* MummiesAtTheDinnerTable: The Music Video for "Mary Jane's Last Dance," the former {{Trope Namer|s}}.
* NiceHat: Unfortunately, the original grey top hat got destroyed when his house burned down. He got another one, though.
* NotableMusicVideos
* TheOner: "You Don't Know How It Feels."
* ProtestSong: "Peace In L.A." is about the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
* RefrainFromAssuming: It's "Mary Jane's Last Dance," not "Last Dance with Mary Jane."
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''Full Moon Fever'' could be seen as this to ''Traveling Wilburys Vol 1'' since the other Wilburys (minus Music/BobDylan) contributed (Lynne: Bass, electric guitar, keyboards, background vocals and RecordProducer, Harrison: Acoustic guitar and background vocals on "I Won't Back Down," Keltner: Drums, maracas and tambourine on "Love Is a Long Road," and Orbison: Background vocals on "Zombie Zoo").
** In many ways, ''Highway Companion'' is one to ''Full Moon Fever.''
* StepUpToTheMicrophone: Scott Thurston sings Music/RoyOrbison's lines when Petty performs Wilburys material live. While Roy's voice was pretty much unique, Thurston does a very fine job of capturing the feel and sound of his singing -- audiences often spontaneously cheer at his renditions.
* StudioChatter: Several times. One notable example is on an obscure BSide called "Heartbreakers Beach Party;" at the end Tom says: "All right, another modern classic."
* SurrealMusicVideo: "Don't Come Around Here No More" and "Runnin' Down a Dream."
* ThrowTheDogABone: "Even the Losers" (...Get lucky sometime.)
* TitleOnlyChorus: "Free Fallin'."
* UrbanLegends: His song "American Girl." Because Petty came from Gainesville, home of the University of Florida, the story goes that he based it on a college girl jumping to her death from a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Girl_%28Tom_Petty_song%29#Lyrics_and_rumors balcony of Beaty Towers,]] the tallest dorms on campus that just happened to be right next to US 441 (the road is mentioned in the lyrics). Not true. Petty lived in Los Angeles at the time he wrote the song lyrics, he merely used 441 in the song as it fit the lyrics, and Beaty Towers doesn't have any balconies. There are no recorded suicide jumps from the towers during the years in question.
* WorldGoneMad: Mentioned by name in "Yer So Bad:"
-->"In a world gone mad, yer so bad"