The Petty Archives

The Hard Stuff: DVDs
Review by Terry Staunton
Classic Rock - June 2010

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers | Classic Albums: Damn the Torpedoes | Eagle Vision
Dissecting a weapon of mass-market destruction.
It would be overstating things to suggest that Petty's third album, released in 1979, was make-or-break, but with Shelter Records, the label that released his earlier long players, bought out by the corporate muscle of MCA, it could be argued that underperformers on the roster were advised to keep looking over their shoulders. As it transpire, Damn The Torpedoes catapulted Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers onto the A-list, taking them from critically-acclaimed top-notch bar band to stadium-filling superstars.

The extended version of the 'making of' documentary originally shown on TV in the late 1990s is essentially the story of a band in transition.

A key in their stepping up to the next level was producer Jimmy Iovine, who casually claims that third albums are often pivotal landmarks in artists' development, citing Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run and Patti Smith's Easter as prime examples. Indeed Iovine says he used Smith's Because The Night as a template for fashioning a bolder and brasher sound, although Petty suggests his songwriting remained the same, rarely writing more than two verses and one chorus. Mike Campbell plays the muso card, Rickenbacker on knee, dissecting the glories of Even The Losers, Refugee and Here Comes My Girl.