Best known as the longtime pianist and keyboard player for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Benmont Tench is one of rock's most respected instrumentalists, as he's guested on countless recordings other artists.
Born on September 7, 1953, in Gainesville, Florida, Tench took up piano at an early age, playing recitals at the age of six. But shortly after discovering the Beatles, Tench turned his back on lessons and focused on '60s rock & roll. As a teenager, Tench met another up-and-coming rocker, Tom Petty, at a local music store. Several years later (while on break from college), Tench caught Petty's band, Mudcrutch (which also included future Heartbreaker Mike Campbell on guitar), in concert, and after sitting in with the band on several different occasions, went back to school. Petty asked Tench shortly thereafter to quit school and join Mudcrutch full-time, which after some deliberation, he agreed to.