Damn the Torpedoes (album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Damn the Torpedoes
Studio album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Released October 19, 1979 (1979-10-19)
Recorded Sound City, Van Nuys
Cherokee Studios, Hollywood
Genre Heartland rock, rock and roll
Length 36:38
Label Backstreet, MCA, Geffen, UMe
Producer Jimmy Iovine, Tom Petty
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers chronology
You're Gonna Get It!
Damn the Torpedoes
Hard Promises
Singles from Damn the Torpedoes
  1. "Don't Do Me Like That"
    Released: November 5, 1979
  2. "Refugee"
    Released: January 11, 1980
  3. "Here Comes My Girl"
    Released: April 7, 1980

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.[1] In 2003, the album was ranked number 313 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[2]

Background and Recording[edit]

Petty's recording contract was reassigned 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.[3] 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.[4] 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[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[5]
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars[6]
Robert Christgau B+[7]
The Essential Rock Discography 8/10[8]
MusicHound 5/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[11]
Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[12]

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.[1] 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).[13][14] Thanks to the new co-producer Jimmy Iovine, Damn the Torpedoes proved to be a major leap forward in production.[5]

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."[15] Subsequent reviews have continued this trend calling it "one of the great records of the album rock era"[5] and culminating in its placement in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[2]


The album was digitally remastered by Joe Gastwirt and reissued in 2001 on HDCD.[citation needed]

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 96 kHz/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.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Refugee"   Petty, Mike Campbell 3:22
2. "Here Comes My Girl"   Petty, Campbell 4:27
3. "Even the Losers"   Petty 3:59
4. "Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)"   Petty 4:25
5. "Century City"   Petty 3:45
Side Two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Don't Do Me Like That"   Petty 2:44
7. "You Tell Me"   Petty 4:35
8. "What Are You Doin' in My Life"   Petty 3:27
9. "Louisiana Rain"   Petty 5:54
Total length:


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:

Recording Personnel:

  • Jimmy Iovine – producer
  • Tom Petty – producer
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • Shelly Yakus – engineer
  • John Mathias – assistant engineer
  • Thom Panunzio – assistant engineer
  • Gray Russell – assistant engineer
  • Skip Saylor – assistant engineer
  • Tori Swenson – assistant engineer

Cover Art Personnel:

  • Lynn Goldsmith – photography
  • Dennis Callaghan – photography
  • Aaron Rapoport – photography
  • Glen Christensen – cover photography
  • Tommy Steele – art direction


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[16] 2× Platinum 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[17] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


Preceded by
Music by Candlelight by Gheorghe Zamfir and Harry Van Hoof
Music by Candlelight by Gheorghe Zamfir and Harry Van Hoof
New Zealand Chart number-one album
May 11, 1980
May 25, 1981 – June 1, 1981
Succeeded by
Music by Candlelight by Gheorghe Zamfir and Harry Van Hoof
Space Race by Mi-Sex


  1. ^ a b Damn The Torpedoes – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-05-01.
  2. ^ a b Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "313 | Damn the Torpedoes – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 26 February 2006. 
  3. ^ Tom Petty, Runnin' Down a Dream (film), 2007 documentary, @1:08:00.
  4. ^ "Sound City Studio's Client List". Sound City Studios. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  5. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Damn the Torpedoes (album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 8 November 2005.
  6. ^ Kot, Greg (1991-09-01). "Through The Years With Tom Petty". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-04-04. 
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 26 February 2006. 
  8. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 816. ISBN 978-184195-827-9. 
  9. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 870. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  10. ^ Zanes, Warren (September 16, 2004). "The Rolling Stone Hall of Fame: The Greatest Albums Ever Made Damn the Torpedoes > Album Review". Rolling Stone (957). p. 83. Retrieved 7 August 2007. 
  11. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). "Tom Petty: Album Guide". The Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn the Torpedoes". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Billboard Don't Do Me Like That Chart Listings". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-05-01. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Billboard Refugee Chart Listings". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-05-01. [dead link]
  15. ^ Swartley, Ariel (December 13, 1979). "Damn The Torpedoes". Rolling Stone (306). Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  16. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Tom Petty – Damn the Torpedoes". Music Canada. 
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Tom Petty – Damn the Torpedoes". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  18. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  19. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 33, No. 1" (PHP). RPM. 1980-03-29. Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
  20. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Damn the Torpedoes". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
  21. ^ "charts.org.nz — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Damn the Torpedoes". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
  22. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Artist: Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  23. ^ "Allmusic: Damn the Torpedoes : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  24. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1980-12-20). Billboard.com – Year End Charts – Year-end Albums – The Billboard 200.