“Damn The Torpedoes” was Petty’s third album, and the one that brought true recognition to him and the Heartbreakers (his classic backing band). It came out in 1979, and it signaled the first run-in that Tom had with the industry. Basically, Petty’s record company at the time (Shelter) was sold to MCA, a move Petty disapproved of. He tried to detach himself by all means, and he was to eventually end up bankrupt as a result. Hence the title of the record – Admiral David Farragut’s famous order at the Battle of Mobile Bay: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”.
Getting down to the music, now, the disc is invariably good. It caught Tom and the boys at the peak of their explicit days as rockers, whereas the album closer “Louisiana Rain” evidenced a desire to innovate and move out of the constraints of the genre, even if only a little.
The singles included “Refugee” (a song that hit #15) and the top 10 hit “Don’t Do Me Like That”. “Here Comes My Girl” (which featured a spoken delivery by Tom) and “Even The Losers” were also to go down as Tom Petty classics. The latter in particular will always be an excellent example of Petty’s prototypical characters – people who are out of fortune but not out of luck, as I commented on the general introduction I wrote yesterday. Continue reading