Damn the Torpedoes (album)
|Damn the Torpedoes|
|Studio album by|
|Released||October 19, 1979|
|Studio||Sound City, Van Nuys|
Cherokee Studios, Hollywood
|Label||Backstreet, MCA, Geffen, UMe|
|Producer||Jimmy Iovine, Tom Petty|
|Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers chronology|
|Singles from Damn the Torpedoes|
Damn the Torpedoes is the third studio album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released on October 19, 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 reached #2 on the Billboard album chart. The album went on to become certified Triple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Background and recording
Petty's recording contract was assigned to MCA when his distributor ABC Records was sold to MCA in 1979. Petty contended that his contract could not be assigned to another record company without his permission and was therefore voided. MCA responded by suing Petty for breach of contract which prompted him to declare bankruptcy as a tactic to void his contract with MCA. The matter was settled with Petty signing a new recording contract with Backstreet Records, an MCA subsidiary label. The album, 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!".
Release and reception
|Christgau's Record Guide||B+|
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Essential Rock Discography||8/10|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
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. Tom Petty's response to Westwood One about being anchored at #2 was "I love Pink Floyd but I hated them that year". 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." Village Voice critic Robert Christgau said, "This is a breakthrough for Petty because for the first time the Heartbreakers ... are rocking as powerfully as he's writing. But whether Petty has any need to rock out beyond the sheer doing of it—whether he has anything to say—remains shrouded in banality. Thus he establishes himself as the perfect rock and roller for those who want good—very good, because Petty really knows his stuff—rock and roll that can be forgotten as soon as the record or the concert is over, rock and roll that won't disturb your sleep, your conscience, or your precious bodily rhythms."
Subsequent appraisals have remained positive, with AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine regarding it as "one of the great records of the album rock era". Rolling Stone placing it at number 313 on "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list in 2003, the list's 2012 edition had it ranked 315th, and the 2020 edition ranked it at number 231. In 2000 it was voted number 537 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.
On November 9, 2010, a deluxe edition of the album was released on three formats, a 2×CD set, a 2×LP (180 g) 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.
All tracks written by Tom Petty, except where noted.
|1.||"Refugee"||Tom Petty, Mike Campbell||3:22|
|2.||"Here Comes My Girl"||Petty, Campbell||4:27|
|3.||"Even the Losers"||3:59|
|4.||"Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)"||4:25|
|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|
|3.||"Casa Dega" (B-side from "Don't Do Me Like That" single)||Petty, Campbell||3:36|
|4.||"It's Rainin' Again" (B-side from "Refugee" single)||1:31|
|5.||"Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)" (Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1980)||4:42|
|6.||"Don't Do Me Like That" (Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1980)||2:49|
|7.||"Somethin' Else" (Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1980)||Sharon Sheeley, Bob Cochran||2:28|
|8.||"Casa Dega (Demo)"||Petty, Campbell||3:33|
|9.||"Refugee (Alternate Take)"||Petty, Campbell||4:32|
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||3× Platinum||3,000,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
- Tom Petty – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica, producer
- Mike Campbell – guitars (lead, rhythm, bass), keyboards
- Benmont Tench – keyboards, backing vocals
- Ron Blair – bass guitar
- Stan Lynch – drums, backing vocals
- Donald "Duck" Dunn – bass guitar on "You Tell Me"
- Jim Keltner (uncredited) – percussion on "Refugee"
- Jimmy Iovine – 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
- Lynn Goldsmith – photography
- Dennis Callahan – photography
- Aaron Rapoport – photography
- Glen Christensen – cover photography
- Tommy Steele – art direction
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