Tom Leadon, a singer and guitarist greatest identified for co-founding the band Mudcrutch with Tom Petty within the early ’70s and taking part in a high-profile reunion starting in 2008, died March 22 at age 71. The loss of life was publicly revealed Monday. No reason for loss of life was given however a put up from Petty’s official fan membership attributed it to “pure causes.”
“Tom Leadon was my deepest guitar soul brother,” wrote Mike Campbell, a fellow member of Mudcrutch throughout the a long time, on Twitter. “We spent numerous hours taking part in acoustic guitars and instructing one another issues. A kinder soul by no means walked the earth. I’ll at all times miss his spirit and generosity. Sleep peacefully my previous pal.”
His brother, Bernie Leadon, born 5 years sooner than Tom, is a musician of renown, having been a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers earlier than transferring on to be a part of the Eagles for the primary 4 albums in that group’s historical past. A music Tom Leadon co-wrote, “Hollywood Waltz,” landed on the “One in every of These Nights” albums.
Leadon additionally had a success as a member of the group Silver with the highest 20 music “Wham Bam” within the mid-’70s.
Leadon was born in 1952 in Rosemount, Minnesota, a farming group close to Minneapolis, and moved together with his household to San Diego in 1957 and at last Gainesville, Florida, in 1964, the place he was to fall in together with his future Mudcrutch bandmates. Each mother and father had been musical, together with his mom taking part in piano for the church choir and his father, an aerospace employee, singing in it.
He joined the native Gainesville band the Epics at age 13, after precociously taking part in behind a Black church choir previous to that. Petty was in a rival teen band, the Sundowners. After seeing Petty play at a rehearsal, he returned the following day, knocked on the door, “and mainly I went over there virtually on daily basis after that for about three or 4 years!” Leadon mentioned in an interview with Gainesville Rock Historical past. “We had been just about inseparable. I used to be fascinated with Petty.” One other member, Randall Marsh, answered an advert and joined up on drums. Quickly sufficient, Marsh’s housemate at a close-by farm, Mike Campbell, was a member of the group as effectively, because the group adopted the identify of that property, the place many concert events and festivals came about — Mudcrutch. One other future member of the Heartbreakers, keyboardist Benmont Tench, finally joined as effectively, however solely after Leadon had left the group. “I’m simply sorry I didn’t keep round in these days when Benmont began taking part in with them,” he mentioned.
“The rationale I actually left the band was, I had been eager to go to Southern California and be a part of the country-rock factor that had been happening there for a very long time,” Leadon mentioned, noting that his brother had already made the trek and joined the nascent Eagles. “He invited me to return and dwell with him in L.A. And the Eagles had been so nice they usually had been doing the type of factor I wished to do which is extra of a country-rock type of factor. I grew to become impatient at that time with the band’s progress towards that, and I didn’t have loads of endurance once I was 20 years previous. I used to be type of hot-headed and I had some type of arguments with Petty. I used to be getting the place I wished to do extra bluegrass and nation music, and we weren’t hanging out as usually any extra.”
Leadon left Mudcrutch and moved to Los Angeles as 1972 got here to an in depth. The next yr, he briefly joined rising star Linda Ronstadt’s band. Residing together with his brother Bernie in Topanga Canyon, he was impressed sufficient together with his pure environment to write down a music known as “The Acacias Are Blooming,” which was then given to Glenn Frey and Don Henley, who rewrote it and recorded the ensuing tune on a music from “One in every of These Nights” known as “Hollywood Waltz.” “It helped so much, and was an actual training within the music enterprise,” Leadon advised Gainesville Rock Historical past. “I discovered about publishing and the way individuals can rip off your publishing and I didn’t get all the cash I used to be alleged to get however I did get loads of it. I’m grateful to my brother for that.”
In 1976, he was taking part in bass for Johnny Rivers when the chance to affix a band known as Silver got here alongside, which was signed by Clive Davis. A single known as “Wham Bam” made it into the nationwide prime 20 and, by Leadon’s recollection, bought about 700,000 models. Dropped by the label and tagged a one-hit surprise, Silver broke up in 1977. For a couple of years after that, Leadon was part of Southern California bands that included musicians like famed Motown bassist James Jamerson.
Leadon largely dropped out of the music scene after that, transferring again to Gainesville in 1984 and later Nashville to turn out to be a music teacher. In the meantime, Mudcrutch had moved to L.A. in 1974, two years after Leadon departed the group, and launched one flop single earlier than disbanding. A number of members quickly regrouped because the Heartbreakers.
When Petty commissioned Peter Bogdanovich to make a documentary, “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” in 2006, a lot of the primary hour was spent recounting the origins and breakup of Mudcrutch within the ’70s. “Peter advised me when he got here to Nashville to movie my a part of the film that Tom was interested by” a reunion, Leadon advised American Blues Scene. “Tom‘s daughter, Adria, watched a few of my interview from the film with him (loads of which was not within the film) and he or she says that’s what sealed the deal. That Tom mentioned some fantastic issues about me then, how I simply cherished him and had by no means requested him for something, and the way he simply needed to get again along with me.” When the decision got here from Petty, he thought it was a prank, at first, since they hadn’t spoken in at the least 30 years.
Two albums resulted from the reunion, which had Leadon sitting alongside Tench within the lineup for the primary time, together with Campbell and Marsh. The primary, “Mudcrutch,” got here out in 2008 adopted by the band’s second and final, “Mudcrutch 2,” in 2016. The group didn’t tour extensively, however did a three-week membership tour in 2008 that started with an intimate present in Malibu and climaxed with a number of nights on the Troubadour.
After Petty’s loss of life, Leadon mentioned, “Tommy was the closest pal I’ve ever had in my life and he was really an exquisite, distinctive one that was a pure entertainer and a lot enjoyable to be with. And I miss him terribly.” He carried out at an occasion known as Tom Petty Weekend in Gainesville in 2022, together with his unique composition written after Petty’s loss of life, “My Greatest Outdated Pal.”