Born on this day in 1950, Tom has enjoyed a career spanning nearly 50 years thanks to a fortuitous meeting with Elvis. His uncle was working on the set of Presley's film Follow That Dream in Ocala, Florida, and he invited Tom to come down and watch the shoot. "I was bitten pretty hard when I was 11," says Petty on Biographies' Bio Bites. "Everything went out the window then and I never had any interest in anything again but guitars. If I have spare time, I go look for guitars," he laughs. "Pretty sad, isn't it?"
No, Tom, we don't think that's sad at all.
On the Heartbreakers' latest Hypnotic Eye tour, Tom switched guitars on nearly every song.
Though this is not his entire collection, here are several vintage beauties that he used*:
- ’66 sonic blue Fender Telecaster
- Fender Custom Shop '63 Telecaster Heavy Relic Electric Guitar
- ’60 blonde Fender Telecaster
- ’64 fireglo (cherry sunburst) Electro (made by Rickenbacker) model ES-17 single pickup solidbody
- ’80s fireglo Rickenbacker 620/12 solidbody 12-string
- ’67 Gretsch Tennessean 6119
- ’67 mapleglo Rickenbacker 360/12 hollow-body 12-string
- ’64 Fender Stratocaster
- ’76 sunburst Gibson Firebird V (two mini humbuckers, reverse body)
- Gibson Firebird 2010 Electric Guitar Vintage Sunburst
- ’63 white Fender Stratocaster
- Fender American Vintage '62 Stratocaster Electric Guitar
- '97 fireglo Rickenbacker Tom Petty Model
- mid-’60s fireglo Rickenbacker “Rose-Morris” (UK export) model 1993 hollow-body 12-string
- '66 white Vox Mark VI teardrop
- '67 blonde Fender Esquire
- Fender '50S Esquire Electric Guitar Black Maple Fretboard
- '63 Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman
- Gretsch Guitars G6122-1962 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman Electric Guitar
- ’70s Guild D25-12 12-string
- '05 Gibson J-200
- Gibson J-200 Standard Acoustic-Electric Guitar Vintage Sunburst
- ’05 Gibson J-200 Tom Petty Wildflower model
- ’87 Gibson Everly Brothers model.
*Thank you Uberproaudio.com for the list of guitars.
To celebrate Tom's birthday, here's "Fooled Again" from 1977:
Photo credit: Sean M. Haffey