Tom Leadon, the guitarist in Tom Petty‘s pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch died on March 22nd at age 70. Leadon’s death was announced on Facebook by his brother Mark Leadon, who posted: “It is with great sadness, but profound love and gratitude for his life, that the family of Tom Leadon announce his passing on March 22, 2023, peacefully of natural causes.” Tom Leadon’s older brother was Eagles co-founder Bernie Leadon.
Mudcrutch bandmate Mike Campbell tweeted: “Tom 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.”
The 2008 Mudcrutch album peaked on the Billboard 200 at Number Eight. A four-track live single, called Extended Play Live, was released later that year, but did not chart. A second studio set, titled, 2, was issued in 2016.
The reunited version of Mudcrutch featured Petty on bass, Heartbreakers’ keyboardist Benmont Tench and guitarist Mike Campbell, with co-founders Randall Marsh on drums, and Leadon on guitar.
Prior to becoming Mudcrutch’s keyboardist back in the early-’70s, Benmont Tench was a major fan of the band — and was particularly impressed by its original lineup, which included short-lived frontman Jim Lenahan. He recalled how Mudcrutch finally reunited: “I got a call from Mike that Tom wanted to do this and I just really hoped that I’d be included. To my mind, as good as the later lineups of Mudcrutch were — they were really good — the best lineup was the four-piece, with Tom Leadon and Mike Campbell on guitar and Petty on bass and Randall Marsh on drums. I joined later after ‘Len’ quit, and other than sitting in with them a few times, I didn’t get to play with ‘Len,’ and I thought that that was the most special sound.”