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Readymade for a rockumentary, the story of Mudcrutch is a, er, heartbreaker, but has a happy ending: the house band of Dub's Diner in Gainesville, Fla., gambled big and lost, all while launching the career of one of their generation's iconic voices, frontman Tom Petty. Mudcrutch wasn't really Tom Petty's first band (biographers cite the Sundowners and later the Epics), but it may have been the singer's fist shot at the big dance. They formed in Gainesville in 1970 with Petty on bass and vocal duties, accompanied by guitarist and singer Tom Leadon, drummer Randall Marsh and guitarist Mike Campbell. Leadon was replaced by guitarist Danny Roberts and the band added keyboard player Benmont Tench before signing with Shelter Records in 1974. After big success around their hometown, they moved to Los Angeles in 1974, made a lone, doomed single, "Depot Street," and split up in 1975. Petty, Campbell and Tench continued on as the Heartbreakers and the rest, as they say, is history. In 1995, Mudcrutch was credited on Petty's Playback box set. In August 2007, Petty led a reunion, assembling the original band for a proper debut LP, which was issued on Reprise.
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