Tom Petty Named 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year

Sam Jones
Tom Petty

Tom Petty, whose career has encompassed Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, solo albums and the Traveling Wilburys, will be honored as the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year for his charitable work for the homeless at a dinner and concert on Feb. 10, it was announced Wednesday (Sept. 28).

The announcement was made by Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the MusiCares Foundation and the Recording Academy, and Alexandra Patsavas, the chair of the MusiCares Foundation Board. The event, to be held two days before the 59th annual Grammy Awards, will benefit MusiCares, the Recording Academy's organization to help musicians in need. Participants in the concert will be revealed at a later date.

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"I am so very pleased to be honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year. I have so much respect for this organization, which really does care about the people in our industry," Petty said in a statement. "I myself know many people who MusiCares has aided in desperate situations. Again, let me say this is a true honor."

Petty, a three-time Grammy Award winner, and his wife Dana were given the Midnight Mission Award in May 2011. Midnight Mission offers emergency help and drug and alcohol assistance programs for the homeless in the Los Angeles area.

Petty, who was born in Florida, began his career locally with the group Mudcrutch. He moved to Los Angeles, where, in 1975, the group Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was formed. The group's 1978 album You're Gonna Get It! was their first to break into the top 25 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, reaching No. 23. Damn the Torpedoes, released in 1979, was their best-charting album between 1977 and 2000. Petty has charted 27 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including "Free Fallin'," "Don't Do Me Like That" and "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" with Stevie Nicks. His most recent album, Hypnotic Eye, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his first ever to top the chart.

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Petty was also a member of the Traveling Wilburys, the group formed by George Harrison that debuted in 1988 with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne. Petty was given the moniker Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. The group released two albums, The Traveling Wilburys and The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3. The two albums were combined into Traveling Wilburys Collection, with both audio tracks and a DVD of music videos.