Mike Campbell (musician)

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Mike Campbell
Mike Campbell on stage
Campbell performing with Fleetwood Mac in 2019
Background information
Birth nameMichael Wayne Campbell
Born (1950-02-01) February 1, 1950 (age 74)
Panama City, Florida, U.S.
OriginJacksonville, Florida, U.S.
InstrumentsGuitar, bass guitar, vocals
Years active1971–present
Member of
Formerly of

Michael Wayne Campbell (born February 1, 1950) is an American guitarist and vocalist. He was a member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and co-wrote many of the band's hits with Petty, including "Refugee", "Here Comes My Girl", "You Got Lucky", and "Runnin' Down a Dream". Outside of The Heartbreakers, he has worked as a session guitarist and songwriter with a number of other acts, including composing and playing on the Don Henley hits "The Boys of Summer" & "The Heart of the Matter" as well as working on most of Stevie Nicks's solo albums. Campbell, along with Neil Finn, joined Fleetwood Mac to replace lead guitarist Lindsey Buckingham on their world tour in 2018–2019.[1] After the end of that tour he has been involved in his own band, The Dirty Knobs, and has released two albums, as of 2022.[2]

On November 11, 2011, Rolling Stone magazine named Mike Campbell to their top 100 guitarists coming in at number 79.[3] He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 as a member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Early years[edit]

Campbell was born on February 1, 1950, in Panama City, Florida. He grew up there and in Jacksonville, Florida, where he graduated from Jean Ribault High School in 1968. At the age of 16, his mother, Helen Barber, bought him his first guitar, a Harmony acoustic model which he later described as "unplayable" from a pawnshop.[4] His first electric guitar was a $60 Guyatone, but playing a friend's Gibson SG (a model which Campbell would not own himself for many years) was a transformative experience.[4] Like Tom Petty, Campbell drew his strongest influences from The Byrds and Bob Dylan, with additional inspiration coming from guitarists such as Scotty Moore, Luther Perkins, George Harrison, Carl Wilson, Jerry Garcia, Roger McGuinn, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Jimmy Page, Mick Taylor, and Neil Young. The first song he learned to play was "Baby Let Me Follow You Down," a song which appeared on Dylan's eponymous debut album. He formed a band named Dead or Alive which quickly disbanded.[5]

Campbell met Tom Petty through drummer Randall Marsh. Marsh was auditioning to be in Petty's band Mudcrutch and learned that Mudcrutch had recently lost their guitarist. He suggested that Petty try Campbell, who was his roommate and had actually been listening to the conversation in the next room.[6] Campbell impressed Petty with his version of "Johnny B. Goode" and was offered a spot in the band.[4] Mudcrutch became a very popular act around Gainesville and north Florida in the early 1970s. They relocated to Los Angeles in 1974 and signed a record deal with Shelter Records, but released only one poor-selling single and broke up soon after. Family: Mom: Helen Barber.. Dad: Malcolm Campbell.. Brother: Cliff Campbell.. Sisters: Marcie Ice and Kathy Feaster..

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers[edit]

Campbell performing with Tom Petty at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2013

In 1976, Campbell rejoined Petty to begin Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with former Mudcrutch member Benmont Tench (keyboards) along with Ron Blair (bass guitar) and Stan Lynch (drums).

Like the other Heartbreakers, Campbell avoids the virtuoso approach to playing, preferring to have his work serve the needs of each song.[7]

Campbell co-produced the Heartbreakers albums Southern Accents, Pack Up the Plantation: Live!, Let Me Up (I've Had Enough), Into the Great Wide Open, Songs and Music from "She's the One", Echo, The Last DJ, The Live Anthology and Mojo, as well as the Petty solo albums Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers, and Highway Companion. His sole vocal contribution to the group was on the track "I Don't Wanna Fight" on Echo.

Campbell collaborated, recorded, and toured with Tom Petty for almost 50 years. His last live performance with the Heartbreakers was on September 25, 2017, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Tom Petty died unexpectedly about one week later, on October 2.[8]

Side projects[edit]

In 1997 Campbell co-founded the Blue Stingrays with Heartbreakers member Ron Blair and Mudcrutch member Randall Marsh, and released their one album the same year.

In 2007, he joined a reformed Mudcrutch with Petty, Tench, Marsh, and Tom Leadon; they debuted in 2008 with a tour and an album. The band returned in 2016 for another album and tour before Petty's death.

On April 9, 2018, Fleetwood Mac announced that Campbell would be joining the band along with Neil Finn to replace lead guitarist Lindsey Buckingham for their 2018–19 world tour.[1]

In March 2022, Campbell announced that he had not worked with Fleetwood Mac after 2019, and that he had moved on.[9]

The Dirty Knobs[edit]

While in the Heartbreakers, Campbell was lead singer and guitarist with a side band, the Dirty Knobs, with guitarist Christopher Holt, drummer Matt Laug, and bassist Lance Morrison.[10] "It's rougher-edged [than Petty's material]," Campbell says of the group, "It's slightly over-driven, less polished, lots of Sixties influence: The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, The Animals. It's something I probably should have done a long time ago, but I didn't 'cause I was wrapped up in the Heartbreakers."[11] They released a single, "Feelin' High", in 2010.[12]

The band released the title track from its debut album, Wreckless Abandon, in January 2020,[13] followed by the album itself in November of that year.[14] The album was produced by Campbell and George Drakoulias, who with Tom Petty produced Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' The Last D.J.[14] The cover art was by Klaus Voormann[14] who created the cover of The Beatles Revolver.

In the summer of 2021 the band released a new single, a cover of J. J. Cale's "Humdinger".[15]

In April 2022 the band released their second album, External Combustion.[16]


As primary artist[edit]


  • "Unbroken Wing" (2022) from various artist's album For the Birds[17] on which he plays a dulcimer given to him by Stevie Nicks while supporting her on tour.

With Blue Stingrays

With The Dirty Knobs



  • "Feelin' High" (2010)
  • "Humdinger" (2021)

Session work[edit]

With Stevie Nicks

With Dwight Twilley

With Don Henley

With Lone Justice

With Bob Dylan

With Aretha Franklin

With Melba Moore

With Peter Case

With Brian Setzer

With Matthew Sweet

With Stephanie Mills

With Warren Zevon

With Williams Brothers

  • Two Stories (Warner Bros. Records, 1987)

With Randy Newman

With Roy Orbison

With Tom Petty

With Paul Carrack

With Jeffrey Osborne

With Roger McGuinn

With Paula Abdul

With Jennifer Holliday

With Bob Seger

With John Prine

With Joe Cocker

With Tracy Chapman

With Robin Zander

With Michael McDonald

With Jackson Browne

With Christine Lakeland

  • Reckoning (Virgin Records, 1993)

With Patti Scialfa

With Randy Crawford

  • Naked and True (WEA, 1995)

With Taj Mahal

With The Wallflowers

With Johnny Cash

With Mary J. Blige

With Linda Ronstadt

  • We Ran (Elektra Records, 1998)

With Cracker

With Philip Bailey

With Bad Religion

With Tift Merritt

With Rob Thomas

With Neil Diamond

With Dixie Chicks

With The Dandy Warhols

With Susanna Hoffs

With Chris Hillman

  • Bidin' My Time (Rounder Records, 2017)

With David Garfield

  • Outside the Box (Creatchy Records, 2018)

With Chris Stapleton

Campbell also played on "My Sweet Passion", theme of Amy Rose from the 1998 video game Sonic Adventure.[18]


  1. ^ a b Aswad, Jem (April 9, 2018). "Fleetwood Mac to Tour With Neil Finn, Mike Campbell as Lindsey Buckingham's Replacements". Variety. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  2. ^ "Mike Campbell on External Combustion and Getting Songwriting Advice from Bob Dylan". Consequence. March 9, 2022. Retrieved August 20, 2022.
  3. ^ "Mike Campbell | 100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. December 18, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Gill, Chris (June 11, 2014). "Vision Quest: Mike Campbell Talks About New Tom Petty & Heartbreakers LP, 'Hypnotic Eye'". Guitar Player. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Andy Greene (September 13, 2018). "Mike Campbell's Life After Heartbreak". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  6. ^ Zanes, Warren (2016). Petty : the biography. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-1-250-10519-6.
  7. ^ Newton, Steve (August 14, 2014). "Meet Mike Campbell, the Underrated Guitar Genius Behind All Those Tom Petty Hits". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  8. ^ "Watch Tom Petty Play 'American Girl' at His Final Concert". Rolling Stone. October 3, 2017. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  9. ^ "Mike Campbell on External Combustion and Getting Songwriting Advice from Bob Dylan". Consequence. March 9, 2022. Retrieved August 20, 2022.
  10. ^ Balancia, Donna (July 6, 2019). "Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs prep new tunes". California Rocker. Los Angeles. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  11. ^ Heller, Greg (August 31, 2001). "Petty in the Studio". Rolling Stone. NYC. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  12. ^ The Dirty Knobs – Feelin High (2010, Pink Vinyl, Vinyl), retrieved August 6, 2021
  13. ^ Balancia, Donna (January 13, 2020). "Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs release 'Wreckless Abandon' Single and Video". California Rocker. Los Angeles. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c Greene, Andy (January 13, 2020). "Mike Campbell Announces Debut Album with The Dirty Knobs, U.S. Tour Dates". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  15. ^ The Dirty Knobs – Humdinger (2021, Yellow, Vinyl), July 17, 2021, retrieved August 6, 2021
  16. ^ Mike Campbell Leads the Dirty Knobs into External Combustion, March 4, 2022
  17. ^ "For The Birds: The Birdsong Project Features 242 Original Recordings By Leading Artists Inspired By Birdsong". Shore Fire Media. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  18. ^ "WWCE-31338~9 | Passion & Pride: Anthems with Attitude from the Sonic..." VGMdb.net. Retrieved March 28, 2017.

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