Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Classic Albums - Damn the Torpedoes

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Classic Albums - Damn the Torpedoes
It's easy to forget that in between the sweet, saccharine choruses on tracks like "Free Falling," Tom Petty was, and still is, an incredible lyricist, and his long-running backing band, the Heartbreakers, a crack group of musicians. Domination of commercial FM radio for 30 years also makes it easy to forget that the group make excellent albums, chief amongst them Damn the Torpedoes, which gets dissected in the latest instalment of the Classic Albums series. The band's third record, released in 1979, Torpedoes was where the group stepped out of the new wave ghetto in which the contemporary rock press had unfairly ghettoized them and into the canon of great rock'n'roll bands. Unlike many of the Classic Albums episodes, little time is spent at the mixing board listening to alternate takes and removed overdubs. Instead, the band dissect the elements that made this record, as opposed to their first two, their true breakthrough. Producer Jimmy Iovine proves to be a big help in this case, explaining how the band honed their sound to craft pop rock masterpieces like "Refugee," "Here Comes My Girl" and "Don't Do Me Like That." As one interviewee puts it so well, Jimmy Iovine today is one of the recording industry's leading lights and Petty remains one of the biggest thorns in its side, so it's interesting to watch the two at the mixing board reflecting on their experiences in the studio together. The DVD comes with some generous bonus clips, including extended discussions about the recording of tracks like "Even the Losers," Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell discussing the pedigree and legacy of the iconic Rickenbacker 12-string that graces the album's cover, and a hilarious TV ad for the album. Far more than a documentary about "how this record was made," Damn the Torpedoes is a great, succinct explanation of Tom Petty's initial rise to rock stardom that's far more palatable than Peter Bogdonavich's excellent, if exhaustive, doc, Running Down a Dream. This is a gem for even the most casual Petty fans. (Eagle Vision)