Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. They were formed in 1976 by Tom Petty, the band's primary vocalist and guitar player, and also consisted of Mike Campbell as the lead guitarist, Ron Blair on bass, Stan Lynch on drums, and Benmont Tench on keyboards. Line-up changes have been few and far between, with Howie Epstein being the bassist from 1982 to 2002 when Blair tired of the touring lifestyle, only to replace Epstein again in 2002 upon his death, and Lynch leaving in 1994 and being replaced by Curt Bisquera and Steve Ferrone.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were on the forefront of the heartland rock movement, alongside artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger, which arose in the late 1970s and 1980s. The genre eschews the synthesizer-based music and fashion elements being popularized in the 1980s, such as synthpop and New Romanticism in favor of a straightforward classic rock sound and lyrics based on relatable, blue collar issues. Petty and the Heartbreakers are known for hit singles such as "American Girl", "Breakdown", "The Waiting", "Learning to Fly", "Refugee" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance". While the heartland rock movement fizzled in the 1990s, the band remained active and popular. They still tour regularly and continue to record albums. Their most recent, Hypnotic Eye, was released on July 25, 2014. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.