Refugee (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song)

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TP - Refugee.png
Single by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
from the album Damn the Torpedoes
B-side"It's Rainin' Again"
ReleasedJanuary 11, 1980 (1980-01-11)
Songwriter(s)Tom Petty, Mike Campbell
Producer(s)Jimmy Iovine, Tom Petty
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers singles chronology
"Don't Do Me Like That"
"Here Comes My Girl"

"Refugee" is a song recorded by American rock band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It was released in January 1980 as the second single from their album Damn the Torpedoes. It peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1980.[2] The song is in compound AABA form.[3]

Composition and recording[edit]

The song's co-writer Mike Campbell said "Refugee" was one of the first songs he wrote, and recounted, "I just wrote the music and handed it to Tom [Petty] and he put the words over it, and when he did he found a way to make the chorus lift up without changing chords."[4]

In a November 2003 interview with Songfacts, Campbell described the recording sessions for "Refugee":

That was a hard record to make. It was a 4-track that I made at my house. He (Tom Petty) wrote over the music as it was, no changes, but it took us forever to actually cut the track. We just had a hard time getting the feel right. We must have recorded that 100 times.

I remember being so frustrated with it one day that - I think this is the only time I ever did this - I just left the studio and went out of town for two days. I just couldn't take the pressure anymore, but then I came back and when we regrouped we were actually able to get it down on tape.[5]


Notable remakes[edit]

It was recorded by Melissa Etheridge in 2005 for her Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled album, and reached No. 96 on the Billboard Pop 100.[citation needed] Other versions have been done by Vains of Jenna, Alvin and the Chipmunks,[6] and The Gaslight Anthem.[7]

Chart performance[edit]


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Damn the Torpedoes - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  2. ^ Joel Whitburn, Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles: 1955–2010, Record Research, 2011.
  3. ^ Covach, John (2005), "Form in Rock Music: A Primer", in Stein, Deborah, Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis, New York: Oxford University Press, p.74-75, ISBN 0-19-517010-5 .
  4. ^ Newton, Steve (August 14, 2014). "Meet Mike Campbell, the Underrated Guitar Genius Behind All Those Tom Petty Hits". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Mike Campbell". Songfacts. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  6. ^ Chipmunk Punk Allmusic. Retrieved 10 July 2011
  7. ^ Baltlin, Steve (February 15, 2010). "A Look Back at the Knack's 'My Sharona'".
  8. ^ " – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Refugee" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  9. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  10. ^ " – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Refugee". Top 40 Singles.
  11. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-05-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  14. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1980 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". 1980-12-31. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  15. ^ "Pop Singles" Billboard December 20, 1980: TIA-10
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2015-07-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]