Happy Birthday Tom Petty: Performing Live Through The Decades

Watch the legendary musician perform in various settings.

By Andy Kahn Oct 20, 2021 12:20 pm PDT

“Music I made in the seventies – I still hear it on the radio. It’s the mark I left in the world while I was here. I have some great shows that people will remember, but that’s really the work to me, the records.” — Tom Petty

Today marks what would have been Tom Petty’s 71st birthday. Petty’s untimely death on October 2, 2017 from an accidental drug overdose brought an end to an astonishing five decade-spanning career that supplanted Petty among the all-time great rock ‘n’ roll songwriters.

A native of Gainesville, Florida, Petty formed Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers in the mid-1970s, recruiting guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench who played with Petty in Mudcrutch. The self-titled, debut Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers album came out in 1976 introducing the world to the now classics “Breakdown” and “American Girl.”

Petty continued writing and recording dozens of hit songs both with The Heartbreakers and as a solo artist. He was also a member of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys alongside Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lyne, who released a pair of albums in the late-1980s and early 1990s.

Below are videos of Tom Petty performing throughout his career with footage from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. Check out more Tom Petty live concert videos via the JamBase Live Video Archive.

1970s

In June 1978, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers recorded a set for the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test television show. The session at BBC Television Theater in London featured Petty, Campbell, Tench and bassist Ron Blair and drummer Stan Lynch playing songs from their debut album as well as from their at-the-time newly released follow-up, You’re Gonna Get It including “Listen to Her Heart” and the title track. They closed the set with a cover of The Isley Brothers’ “Shout.”


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Frank Musillami (See 215 videos)
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (See 40 videos)

1980s

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers were among the performers on the lineup of the inaugural Farm Aid benefit concert, which was held on September 22, 1985 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. This video features a take on “Refugee,” which appeared on their 1979 album Damn The Torpedoes. The band lineup at the time had Howie Epstein playing bass.


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Farm Aid (See 1,872 videos)
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (See 40 videos)

1990s

Petty and The Heartbreakers went mostly acoustic for their sets at the Bridge School Benefit concerts that were held at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on October 1 and 2, 1994. The October 2 performance, seen above, featured several songs from Petty’s 1989 solo album, Full Moon Fever, including “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “Free Fallin’” and “I Won’t Back Down.” They also played “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and “Time to Move On” from Petty’s 1994 solo album, Wildflowers (which was just reissued). The ‘94 Bridge School shows were the last with drummer Stan Lynch as a member of the band, which also featured multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston who joined in 1991.


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Frank Musillami (See 215 videos)
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (See 40 videos)

2000s

In 2004, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne inducted their late Travelling Wilburys band mate George Harrison into the Rock And Roll Hall Fame. Harrison had previously been inducted into the Rock Hall as a member of The Beatles and Petty and The Heartbreakers went in with the 2002 class. In honor of Harrison’s solo recognition in 2004, the ceremony featured Petty, Lynne and Harrison’s son Dhani Harrison performing The Travelling Wilburys favorite “Handle With Care.”


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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (See 279 videos)
Tom Petty (See 4 videos) , Dhani Harrison (See 10 videos) and Jeff Lynne (See 2 videos)

2010s

Touring in support of what became the final Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers album, 2014’s Hypnotic Eye, the band headlined the LOCKN’ festival in Arrington, Virginia in September of that year. Petty, Campbell, Tench, Thurston, Blair (who rejoined in 2002) and drummer Steve Ferrone (who replaced Lynch in 1994) played a 17-song, career-spanning set consisting of hit after hit from the past several decades.


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tompetty
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (See 40 videos)

[Originally Published: October 20, 2020]

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