Phil Jones, The Amazing and In-Demand Drummer

If we’re talking about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, we can’t leave out their fantastic drummer, Phil Jones. He is one of the members who bring the band to its blooming career in the early 1980s.

Besides being the drummer of Tom Petty, he also had many collaboration projects with various amazing musicians, such as Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, and many more. It shows how attentive he is to his craft, making many artists want to play with him.

His remarkable drumming techniques and skills are also something to be noted. He has the ability to play in various genres, from hard rock to pop. He doesn’t just play; he also composed his own music and created unique pieces of art throughout his career.

With all the collaboration, band, and solo work that he had, he’s surely one of the best drummers of his era. 

Phil Jones Music Career

Phil Jones
Phil Jones

Phil Jones was born on June 6, 1948, in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Although he had no formal drum class in his school days, Phil showed a big interest in music. 

Al Jackson Jr. and Keith Moon were the ones who inspired him to be a drummer. Since then, he kept on playing, learning new techniques as he grew.

In the late ’60s, Phil moved to Los Angeles to join a blues band with the harmonica player Lee Oskar. In 1969, Jones joined the rock band Stonehenge. John Weider of The Animals was on guitar for Stonehenge, but he left and joined the English band Family. Although there was some shifting in the group, they gained a Top 40 single titled Go Back in 1970.

It was during the mid-1980s when Phil got noticed by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers members. Their manager introduced Phil to the group, and they decided to hire him as the band’s drummer for touring and recording.

Phil believed that he was hired because of the conflict that happened between the members at that time. However, it was still an honor for him to work with them.

Other than his work with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Phil Jones also did various projects, such as performing with the rock band Cracker, live touring with Joe Walsh, and recording Roy Orbison‘s album Mystery Girl.

Phil Jones Discography

Phil Jones Drumming
Phil Jones Drumming

As he can perform with various genres, he has a pretty versatile list of song genres in his discography.

Phil Jones’ discography with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers includes albums like Hard Promises, Long After Dark, Southern Accents, and many more. He also played drum in Tom Petty‘s solo studio albums Full Moon River (1989) and Wildflowers (1994).

Moreover, Phil did so much collaboration work, which means he has songs in various artist albums, including Land of Dreams (1988) by Randy Newman, Bella Donna (1981) by Stevie Nicks, and many more.

Not only performed for solo artists and bands, but Phil also had experience working with the TV show Friends, where his percussion was featured on its theme tune titled I’ll Be There For You. 

Phil Jones Collaborations

Just like what was mentioned previously, Phil Jones has done many collaboration projects. Throughout his career, Phil Jones collaborated with many musicians, such as Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Bernard Fowler, and so on.

He also played with bands other than Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, like the band Cracker who had a hit in the US chart, and The Survivors.


Phil Jones’s work ethic is admirable and the reason why so many musicians want to work with him. He takes his job seriously, and it shows in his productions. His passion for music shines through in his recordings, making them a joy to listen to.

His work with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is probably the most well-known one, but his contribution to the music industry goes beyond that. He’s a renowned musician who has made an enormous impact on rock music.

What do you think?

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Written by Andrea

Andrea is a music lover and an experienced drummer with more than 15 years of drumming with different bands and music projects, such as Seditius and Hermano & the Marines.

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