How To Sing Like Tom Petty (5 Brilliant Tips)

Published Categorized as Singing

Tom Petty was an American  singer, songwriter and musician who had close to five decades of musical career.

Tom Petty was the lead vocalist for the band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers which was formed in1976 and was together till his death in 2017.

Tom Petty is one of the most influential names in the rock music scene and has inspired many artists with his unique style of music and singing. 

As one of the foremost men in the rock industry, we will be discussing Tom Pettys’ musical career, how to sing like him, his voice type and vocal range as well as what made him unique.  

What Are The Steps Needed To Sing Like Tom Petty?

How To Sing Like Tom Petty
  1. Watch Videos of Live Performances

The first step toward being able to sing like Tom Petty is to watch videos of his performances on a regular basis.

There is an unspoken internal link between imitating gestures and mimicking the artist’s voice. As you watch, this will help you comprehend his voice and pitch.

  1. Choose A Song  

Before you start practicing, pick a song which is suitable for you and which won’t place a strain on your voice. Don’t start off on a difficult song. 

Start off with a song within your vocal range and you’ll be more at ease to sing along with Georges’ songs without straining your voice.

  1. Learn All The Detail of the Song

Once you select a song, play it several times and pay heed to several changes in the pitch and intonations. Focus on one verse at a time until you have fully comprehended the lyrics and the voice.

  1. Practice Regularly 

Tom Petty had a natural voice on which he implemented his own unique style of singing. You have to learn to sing like him however, and as such you need to practice on your vocals and technique to be able to sing like him. 

What Voice Type Does Tom Petty Have?

Tom Petty was a strong baritone with a vocal range that spanned almost 4 octaves.

Tom Petty had at the beginning of his career loved to belt out high registers and could reach surprisingly high notes for his voice type.

With time, he reduced much of the singing in his higher lower register and focused on his mid range. 

What Makes Tom Petty’s Voice So Unique?

Tom Petty had this nasal twing in his voice which was very much evident throughout his vocal register.

For a man who didn’t take voice training lessons, he had an impressive full upper and mid range. 

Tom Petty was the perfect embodiment of the supreme vocalist and songwriter, and his cool vocal quality helped to distinguish his music.

With his noteworthy lyrics and simple music, Petty has inspired numerous artists.

In an era of distinct voices, Tom Petty’s was just special, and it made you hang on every word he said.

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Can Tom Petty Actually Sing?

Tom Petty was one of rock music’s most enduring heroes and front men, as well as one of his generation’s foremost songwriters.

Petty’s distinct vocal is thin, top-register, nasal, and as strong as any you could come across.  

Experts have claimed that no white man in America works his septum through a vowel as uniquely as Petty.

His voice is alluring and it is possible to feel totally elated while listening to Petty describe the most commonplace event.

For me, the most beautiful thing about Tom Pettys’ voice is his ability to connect with his audience and you would every emotion he wanted you to from the song.

How Did Tom Petty Start Singing?

Thomas Earl Petty born 1950, in Florida, USA, started singing as early at the age of 12 after his uncle introduced him to Elvis Presley.

He dropped out of high school and started a tour with his then band, Midcrutch in the early 1970s.

The band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was formed in 1975 with four other members and by 1976, they released their first album.

A second album ‘Damn the Torpedoes’ was released in 1979. The album was a hit with songs such as ‘Refugee’ and ‘Don’t Do me Like That’ and climbed the charts to number 2.

Petty got his first Grammy Award touring with the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys in 1989.

That same year, he produced his first solo album Full Moon Fever and ‘Free Falllin’ which helped to put him back on the charts.

Tom Petty went on to produce more albums and win more critical acclaim.

He and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and also performed at the Super Bowl in 2008.

Tom Petty died in 2017 of an accidental medical overdose and enjoyed a rich career before his death.

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What Is Tom Petty’s Vocal Range?

During his active years singing, Tom Pettys’ recorded vocal range spanned about 3.5 octaves and a semitone and spanned C2-B♭5 (C2-A♯5). 

Tom Petty had a nasal tone that was noticeable throughout his mid/high range, leading some to believe he was a baritone.

His signing sounded light, but he actually had a relatively low voice, which he showed much more as his popularity grew.

What Is The Highest Note Tom Petty Can Sing?

Tom Petty could sing as high as B4 especially in the early days of his singing career before his voice got heavier. 

In his early years, Petty was more centered on high singing, and he sang melodies up to the B4 note with remarkable convenience, sometimes getting as high as D5 in a melodic line for ‘Fooled Again (I Don’t Like It)’.

Towards the 90s’ he reduced his high range singing and usually capped his songs at an A4 at the highest. 

What Are Some Classic Tom Petty Songs To Practice?

  • The American Girl: ‘The American Girl’ is reputedly Tom Pettys’ greatest song. Written in Pettys’ apartment while he listened to traffic, the song came off the Heartbreakers second album in 1977. It charted top 40 in the UK and remains a radio favorite for rock fans till today. 
  • Refugee: Refugee is most likely the most popular track from the Damn the Torpedoes’ album and cemented Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as the future of rock.  ‘ Refugee’ is their most enameled rocker to date. 

The song was difficult to record, but they eventually nailed it and shot a plain video that became an early MTV staple.

  • Free Fallin

‘Free Fallin’ is Petty’s biggest hit, with the exception of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” his breakthrough duet with Stevie Nicks. Free Fallin'” was written by Petty and became a Top 10 hit, spending seven months on Billboard’s singles chart.


Tom Petty was one of America’s greatest rock singers and guitarists.

With his band, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, he enjoyed immense musical success and fame. Formed in 1976 they released 13 albums while he also had other albums as a solo artist and with other groups.

Tom Petty had a unique voice with a nasal twang which was evident throughout his range. He also loved singing in his upper range until the 90s’ when he reduced it to his mid range.

Over the course of the years, Petty went on to win musical success, awards and even get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

By Sophie Collins

Hi my name is Sophie, I am a Singer, Producer and Instrumentalist. I also love to bake and get creative with my hands. When I am not strumming my guitar, you can find me reading a good book with a glass of wine in my hands.

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