|Tom Petty & The HeartbreakersNot many artists can match Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' long record of commercial success along with a simultaneous period of creative growth and critical acclaim.In April 1996, Petty received UCLA's George & Ira Gershwin Award For Lifetime Musical Achievement. Previous recipients of the university's award include Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald. Petty was the first artist of the rock era to earn this distinction. "I may not own any George and Ira Gershwin records," said Petty at the ceremony, "but I'm honored to be here and I want to thank my fans for showing up at my concerts from time to time."In 1999, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers received their own star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, an honor that acknowledges both their musical achievements and their humanitarian involvement with such organizations as Greenpeace, the National Veteran's Foundation, USA Harvest, Rock & Wrap It Up, and AmFAR (the American Foundation for AIDS Research).Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers--hailing from Gainesville, Florida before officially forming in Los Angeles--kicked the musical doldrums of the mid-'70s in the face with their 1976 self-titled debut album. It featured a stripped-down-but-accomplished brand of rock that blended jumpy rhythm & blues rhythms, ringing guitars and keyboards, over which Petty grabbed listeners by their throats with his disarmingly blunt lyrics and extremely direct vocal style. Still, it took America a full year to catch up to the album.1978's follow up, You're Gonna Get It!, proved the debut album's intensity was no fluke. Marking the band's first gold album, it featured the singles "Listen to Her Heart" and "I Need to Know." Success followed success (including Tom's debut solo album and his appearances as a member of The Traveling Wilbury's, as well as more hits with The Heartbreakers).