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Tom Leadon, Mudcrutch co-founder and Tom Petty bandmate, dies at 70

Alan Festo, The Gainesville Sun

28 mrt. 2023

Tom Leadon, a co-founding member of the Tom Petty band Mudcrutch, has died at the age of 70.

Family, friends and band members began sharing news of the guitar legend's death on social media late Monday.

"It is with great sadness, but profound love and gratitude for his life, that the family of Tom Leadon (Thomas Joseph Leadon) of Nashville, Tennessee and Gainesville, Florida, announce his passing on March 22, 2023, peacefully of natural causes ..." wrote Leadon's brother, Eagles co-founder Bernie Leadon.

Leadon attended Gainesville High School where he met Petty in 1970. The pair first played together in the band the Epics before joining Mike Campbell, Randall Marsh and Jim Lenehan to form Mudcrutch.

“Tom Leadon was my deepest guitar soul brother, we spent countless hours playing acoustic guitars and teaching each other things,” wrote Campbell, who also was a member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, on Instagram.

“A kinder soul never walked the earth. I will always miss his spirit and generosity. Sleep peacefully my old friend.”

Leadon left the band in 1972 to move to Los Angeles. He played bass in Linda Rondstadt's band and, in 1976, joined the country rock band Silver.

Leadon received a writing credit — alongside his brother, Glenn Frey and Don Henley — on the Eagles' hit "Hollywood Waltz" in 1975.

Leadon remained quiet for much of the 1980s and '90s before once again playing alongside Petty after the late Rock and Roll Hall of Famer reformed Mudcrutch in 2007. The band released a second album in 2016. Petty died the following year from a drug overdose in October 2017.

"Tom Petty and I grew up together; we were neighbors and together all the time," Leadon told The Sun in a 2008 phone call from California, where Mudcrutch was performing two weeks of theater and club dates, including the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

"And I've really missed him a lot. It's just so great to be on the same stage with these guys again."

Leadon even discussed the idea of Mudcrutch one day returning to Gainesville for a performance, an idea that never came to fruition. "We discussed several times how much we would love to play Gainesville," he said previously. "We would just love to play there because of all the memories,

and because that's where we're from. And we still feel that sense of community with Gainesville."

Leadon, however, did make several trips back to Gainesville in recent years in honor of Petty. He performed in local tribute concerts in 2018 and 2019.

More recently in October 2022, he came to Gainesville for the Tom Petty Weekend celebration at the Heartwood Soundstage

He spent his later years performing with his Nashville-based, pop-blues band The Bayjacks, and teaching others to play the guitar.

This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Mudcrutch guitarist Tom Leadon dies at 70

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