Tom Leadon, Mudcrutch Co-Founder, Dead at 70

Leadon formed Mudcrutch with Tom Petty in the late 1960s

Tom Leadon of Mudcrutch
Tom Leadon of Mudcrutch, photo by C Flanigan/WireImage

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

    “It is with great sadness, but profound love and gratitude for his life, that the family of Tom Leadon Nashville, Tennessee and Gainesville, Florida, announce his passing on March 22, 2023 peacefully of natural causes,” read a statement posted by his brother, Mark Leadon, on Facebook.

    In a tribute post, Mudcrutch bandmate Mike Campbell said Leadon “was my deepest guitar soul brother, we spent countless hours playing acoustic guitars and teaching each other things. “A kinder soul never walked the earth. I will always miss his spirit and generosity. Sleep peacefully, my old friend.”


    In the late 1960s, Leadon formed Mudcrutch with his Gainesville, Florida neighbor, Tom Petty. With Leadon on guitar and Petty on bass, the group’s lineup was rounded out by Randall Marsh on drums and Mike Campbell on guitar.

    Leadon departed Mudcrutch in 1972 and moved to Los Angeles, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Bernie, who was a founding member of The Eagles. He subsequently formed the band Silver, best known for their song “Wham Bam,” and played bass in Linda Ronstadt’s band. Leadon eventually relocated to Nashville, where he became a guitar teacher.

    In 2007, Petty reformed Mudcrutch with Leadon, Campbell, and Marsh, along with Benmont Tench. They released a self-titled album in 2008, which they followed up with Mudcrutch 2 in 2016. They also toured sporadically up until Petty’s death in 2017.