Greatest Hits (1993) (Tom Petty)

The First Anthology Of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Will Always An Excellent Introduction To Their Music. One Of The "New" Tracks ("Mary Jane's Last Dance") Became A True Staple.

The First Album That Anthologized Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' Work, "Greatest Hits" (1993) Will Always Remain An Excellent Introduction To Their Music On The Whole. One Of The "New" Tracks ("Mary Jane's Last Dance") Was To Became A True Staple In Its Own Right.

Tom Petty’s very first retrospective, “Greatest Hits” (1993) would become one of his best-selling albums ever. It included all the seminal tracks he recorded both with the Heartbreakers and as a solo artist. These include “American Girl” and “Breakdown” from the debut, the four best tracks from the breakthrough album “Damn The Torpedoes” (Refugee”, “Here Comes My Girl”, “Even The Losers” and the ultra-successful “Don’t Do Me Like That” – is it me, or it has been slightly remixed?) and the sole hit from “Southern Accents”, “Don’t Come Around Here No More”. It also has two of his best ‘80s tracks in the shape of “The Waiting” and the synth-soaked “You Got Lucky”.

Finally, “Learning To Fly” and “Into The Great Wide Open” come from “Into The Great Wide Open” (1991) and the three best cuts from Petty’s only solo album up to that point (“Full Moon Fever”, 1989) are featured (“I Won’t Back Down”, “Running Down A Dream” and the dizzying “Free Falling”). Continue reading

Damn The Torpedoes (Tom Petty) – Album Review

"Damn The Torpedoes" Was Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers First Platinum Album. It Was Issued In 1979.

"Damn The Torpedoes" Was Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers First Platinum Album. It Was Issued In 1979.

“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

Tom Petty – General Introduction

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

A rocker at heart. That is the way Tom Petty would go down in history. Sure, there were some diversions along a career that spans three decades and that still keeps going on strong. The first one came in 1985 with the concept album “Southern Accents”, and his first stint as a Traveling Wilbury showcased a very different side of him (the second album by the Wilburies found Petty back on more familiar territory). But these (and his solo albums like Wildflowers) can be deemed as mini-vacations after which he came energized like never before.

Born in Gainesville (Florida) in 1950, Petty’s interest in rock & roll music was instilled by two of the main icons of a whole generation, The Beatles and Elvis Presley (whom he was to met in person). After playing with a band called Mudcrutch that was to issue only a single back in the ‘70s (the band would reunite in 2008 to do a proper record), Petty launched a solo career with the assistance of two of his Mudcrutch bandmates, Mike Campbell (lead guitar) and Benmont Tench (keyboards). They were to be joined immediately by Ron Blair (bass) and Stan Lynch (drums), and that was the birth of Petty’s legendary backing unit, The Heartbreakers. Both Campbell and Tench are with Petty to this day, and Campbell in particular has had a big input on Mr. Integrity’s music both in terms of compositions (they often share writing credits) and production-wise.

Mr. Integrity. That is one of Tom Petty’s most recurrent nicknames, specially among punters. He has been known to stand against music industry abuses, and to side with fans time after time regarding decisions that would affect them like the marking up of albums. Tom’s first direct attack came with the title of his third record, “Damn The Torpedoes” (1979). It was Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ fist platinum album after the previous one (“You’re Gonna Get It”, 1978) had cracked the Top 40. It included the radio hits “Refugee”, “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Here Comes My Girl”.
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