Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Damn the Torpedoes – [Record 47]
Damn the Torpedoes: is the third album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 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.
2 Here Comes My Girl.
3 Even the Losers.
4 Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid).
5 Century City.
6 Don’t Do Me Like That.
7 You Tell Me.
8 What Are You Doin’ in My Life?
9 Louisiana Rain.
Background and Recording: Petty’s recording contract was re-assigned to MCA when his previous label Shelter Records and distributor ABC Records was sold to MCA in 1979. MCA took over rights to Petty’s published music, infuriating him, and he responded by declaring bankruptcy as a tactic to void his contract with MCA. In the end, the record company backed down, and Petty negotiated a deal that allowed him to retain publishing rights and form his own 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 and Cherokee 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.
Release and Reception: 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 the 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 have continued this 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.
Re-releases: The album was digitally remastered by Joe Gastwirt and reissued in 2001 on HDCD.
On November 9, 2010, a deluxe edition of the album was released on three formats, a 2×CD set, a 2×LP (180g) deluxe package and a Blu-ray Audio disc package. Digital download available in numerous audio codecs in audiophile quality 96kHz/24bit through resellers such as HDTracks. All the tracks (original and unreleased) were remastered from the original analog master tapes by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering Studios in Hollywood, CA.