September 22, 2014
4:10 am

Killer Classic - Tom Petty "Damn the Torpedoes"

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 3rd album, Damn the Torpedoes, was released in 1979. This was the first of three Petty albums originally released by the Backstreet Records label, distributed by MCA Records. It built on the commercial success and critical acclaim of his two previous albums and peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart. In 2003, the album was ranked number 313 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Petty's recording contract was re-assigned to MCA from his previous label Shelter Records and its distributor ABC Records when ABC was sold to MCA in 1979. Furious about the change in label, Petty struggled to legally detach himself from MCA, resulting in his bankruptcy. In the end, the record company backed down, and he negotiated a deal that allowed him to release his recordings on the new Backstreet Records label, manufactured and distributed by MCA. The album, now co-produced by Jimmy Iovine, was recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys andCherokee Studios in Hollywood. The title is a reference to a famous quote by Admiral David Farragut: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!". All of Petty's Backstreet recordings (and all MCA releases at that time) were re-issued by MCA in 1988.
The album was a breakthrough for Petty and the Heartbreakers. It was their first top 10 album rising to #2 (for seven weeks and kept from #1 by Pink Floyd's The Wall) on the Billboard albums chart. It yielded two songs that made the top 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, "Don't Do Me Like That" (#10) and "Refugee" (#15). Thanks to  new co-producer Jimmy Iovine, Damn the Torpedoes proved to be a major leap forward in production.
Critical reception generally reflected the commercial success of the album. The original review in Rolling Stone raved that it was the "album we've all been waiting for – that is, if we were all Tom Petty fans, which we would be if there were any justice in the world." Subsequent reviews continued the trend calling it "one of the great records of the album rock era" and culminating in its placement in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Track listing
All songs were written by Tom Petty, except where noted.
Side one
1.    "Refugee" (Petty, Mike Campbell) – 3:22
2.    "Here Comes My Girl" (Petty, Campbell) – 4:27
3.    "Even the Losers" – 3:35
4.    "Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)" – 4:25
5.    "Century City" – 3:45
Side two
1.    "Don't Do Me Like That" – 2:44
2.    "You Tell Me" – 4:35
3.    "What Are You Doin' in My Life?" – 3:27
4.    "Louisiana Rain" – 5:54
The Heartbreakers:
·         Tom Petty – 6 & 12 string guitars, lead vocals and harmonica
·         Mike Campbell – 6 & 12 string guitars, slide guitar, keyboards, accordion, bass guitar
·         Benmont Tench – piano, organ, harmonium and vocals
·         Ron Blair – electric bass guitar
·         Stan Lynch – drums and vocals
Session Musicians:
·         Donald "Duck" Dunn – bass on "You Tell Me"
·         Phil Jones (uncredited) – percussion except on "Refugee"
·         Jim Keltner (uncredited) – percussion on "Refugee"
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