Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were formed in 1975, the members are:

Tom Petty - Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Tambourine
Mike Campbell - Lead Guitar
Bentmont Tench - Piano
Howie Epstein (since 1982) - Bass, backing vocals
Stan Lynch (75-94) - Percussion

The Heartbreakers are technically from Gainesville, Florida, but officially formed in Los Angeles. They released their self-titled album in 1976. It first made charts in the UK, with Americans catching onto it the following year, making "Breakdown" a top 40 hit, followed by "American Girl". They were an overnight succes story, unlike most bands.

The Heartbreakers are an overall great band, bringing in southern flair into a good eclectic mix of music. And instead of the normal Seventies hard rock, their music went back to the roots with blues and country.

In 1999, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers received their own star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, recognising their musical achievments and humanitarian efforts. Also, they will be inducted into the Rock in Roll Hall of Fame this year.

The Heartbreakers have proved one of the longest-standing Rock and Roll Bands, their 1995 Playback box set says that...
"Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have been recording for twenty years now, and have built a career remarkably consistant in both terms of success and quality. Very few rock and roll musicians maintain either high standards or commercial popularity for so long; you could count on one hand the ones who have done both. Yet for all the respect and affection that comes his way, Petty has never been granted a free pass, he has never seemed to quite reach the place where his eccentricities will be automatically indulged. He has worked very hard to stay on top. Along the way, he has built a body of work that seems more impressive with each new addition to it. He is the tortoise who wins the race while the hares are all relaxing and reading their press clippings."

My mother met Tom for the first time in 1982, (she even went on two dates with Stan Lynch) and I met him in 1997, bringing my grand total of rockstars I have met to 2 4 (him, The surviving Who, and Ringo Starr). Tom didn't make me real nervous, because he seemed like a real regular guy. Because, I mean, when you meet celebrities, you think they remember you? No. But Tom remembered my mom, but then again, she knows his brother Bruce. But STILL, he seemed like a very down-to-earth guy who just happened to be famous.

I remember reading a story about him meeting George Harrison (who also helped Tom's career begin) and that being the same way--he felt that George did honestly care.

Of course, meeting Tom wasn't as big to me as meeting Ringo, because, frankly, I didn't like his music that much at the time. I sort of regret that now, because I really like the Heartbreakers now. Anyway, here's their discography (excluding solo work):

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
You're Gonna Get It!
Damn the Torpedoes
Hard Promises
Long After Dark
Southern Accents
Pack Up the Plantation - Live!
Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)
Into the Great Wide Open
Greatest Hits
Playback (Box Set)
Anthology: Through the Years