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Petty, Tom (And The Heartbreakers) - 1979 Damn The Torpedoes

ARTIST: Petty, Tom (And The Heartbreakers)
ALBUM: Damn The Torpedoes
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1990, MCA, MCAD-31161


LINEUP: Tom Petty - lead vocals, 6 & 12 string guitars, harmonica * Mike Campbell - 6 & 12 string guitars, slide guitar, keyboards, accordion, bass * Benmont Tench - piano, organ, harmonium, backing vocals * Ron Blair - bass * Stan Lynch - drums, backing vocals

Session Musicians: Donald 'Duck' Dunn - bass on 'You Tell Me' * Jim Keltner - percussion on 'Refugee'

TRACK LISTING: 01 Refugee * 02 Here Comes My Girl * 03 Even The Losers * 04 Shadow Of A Doubt (A Complex Kid) * 05 Century City * 06 Don't Do Me Like That * 07 You Tell Me * 08 What Are You Doin' In My Life * 09 Louisiana Rain


Well, it would be fair to say that 1979 was infiltrated by this album across the NZ airwaves. You see, NZ wasn't that far out of the boonies during this era, despite the thousands of miles away from the hotbed of the action.. whether it be Europe or North America. Quite simply, for its time, 'Damn The Torpedoes!' was an album waiting to happen. As much as we heard The Eagles with 'Hotel California', Steely Dan's 'Aja', Supertramp's 'Breakfast In America', Fleetwood Mac and 'Rumours', and Pink Floyd's 'The Wall', these were all seminal late 70's albums - no two ways about it, but 'Damn The Torpedoes!' deserves to be right in amongst the action!

The Songs
This album was sorta in my radar during my 5th form year at high school during 1979. Admittedly, that year was taken up with UFO, Judas Priest, The Scorpions, Gamma, Van Halen, Journey and New England. So you can see Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers didnt quite fit the mould I was quite into. But then again, I was also listening to Neil Young, Midnight Oil (the very beginnings of) and The Only Ones. A very eclectic range if I may say so myself. However, Petty had a reasonable Kiwi following, and with three well-hewn singles in 'Refugee', 'Don't Do Me Like That' and the sublime 'Here Comes My Girl', it didn't take long for Kiwis to absorb Petty's organic style of midwest rock into their headspace!

In Summary
All of Petty's albums during the 70's era are worth gathering, but without doubt, this is the pinnacle. Petty at one point hooked up with the Travellin' Wilburys. If you're into cowpoke country and western, then the Wilburys (including Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Bob Dylan) might turn your dial. Personally, it didn't do anything for me. I'd rather be Damned by the Torpedoes than anything else! [word count 311]

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#1 | Eric on January 19 2016 22:53:36
American radio has killed this album for me. Cool when it was released but if hear 'Don't Do Me Like That' just once a 1,000 years from now, it will be too soon.
#2 | dangerzone on January 20 2016 01:22:09
I guarantee you I could get in my car right now and within minutes one of these songs would appear on a 'classic' rock station. I was doing a 700 mile drive not long ago and 'American Girl' came on. I swear when I made the return drive a couple of weeks later it came on the same station, at the same time, in Pasadena. Great music but as Eric says, totally rendered useless by the sham that is American rock stations.
#3 | jefflynnefan on January 20 2016 05:10:08
Tom is a very good song writer in my opinion. I've always liked his music. I believe he was a victim of a bad manager back then and had to file for bankruptcy.
#4 | RobLynott on January 20 2016 11:35:35
In stark contrast to the US you never ever hear these Petty songs on the radio here in germany. Instead you get 'Free fallin'' and 'Into the great wide open' all the time. I love 'Damn the torpedos' and 'Don't do me like that' is all-time favourite songs of him.
#5 | gdazegod on January 20 2016 13:56:59
Likewise in Australia, you'd hear the Travellin' Wilburys before any of Petty's ( the Heartbreakers) stuff.
#6 | swazi on January 20 2016 16:05:02
Another release that reminds me of my South Africa days. I love this disc! 'Refugee' is my favorite track, obviously. Awesome track!
#7 | super80boy on July 16 2016 15:23:43
Tom Petty vinyl has been tough to score in my local shops but finally found a clean original press copy of this gem. Exquisitely played and produced mainstream heartland rock by a band that was reaching their peak form. The album kicks off with three huge tracks and really never lets up.
#8 | reyno-roxx on July 16 2016 17:01:50
I try to get everything with Petty's name on. Some of these live broadcast CDs that have appeared over the last year or so have been well worth tracking down.

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