The Petty Archives

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  • 1979-11-21_Boston-Globe

Tom Petty has rock 'n' roll in his veins
By Steve Morse
Boston Globe - Wednesday, November 21, 1979

TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS — In concert at the Orpheum on Monday.
Under the shadowed lights, his face was gaunt and pale though his blond shag looked as bright as a headlight in the darkness. Tom Petty, specter-thin and confessing he was "high on antibiotics," had come at least to Boston, ending a chain of poseponements that had dragged on for more than a week.

"I called my mother on the phone today," Petty told the jammed, SRO Orpheum crowd. "And she said, where are you? I said 'Boston—Rock City, USA.' And she said, it's about time."

Full Speed Ahead for Tom Petty
By Jane Scott
Cleveland Plain Dealer - November 21, 1979

"I'm high on antibiotics tonight," lead singer Tom Petty apologized to the Palace audience Saturday night.

Well, that made it even. The sell-out crowd was getting high on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' hard-driving and exuberant songs.

True, Petty's voice was a little rougher and raspier than usual (the group canceled its Wednesday Boston gig because of his sore throat) but somehow Petty sounded more interesting because of it.

Petty is that skinny blond from Gainesville, Fla., with blunt bangs, high cheek bones, prominent teeth, a red kerchief around his neck, a fast-moving guitar and traveling feet.

He stalked around the stage like a hunter, moved up toward the front at times, sat on an amp, and at the end, jumped high in the air and twirled around a dozen times. Yet his movements never distracted from the music.

People call the Petty partners new wave. Fair enough. But the music is much more. The Petty pattern is hard rock, softer songs with bouncy melodies, catchy toe-tappers, a touch of the blues and just plain good jamming.

Clubbing it: Raves for Petty and dynamite rock
By Ted Drozdowski
Meriden Morning Record and Journal - Saturday, November 24, 1979

A PETTY TOUR -- Tom Petty is the best young singer/songwriter in American rock and roll.

Petty and the Heartbreakers, his four-man band, launched their first major U.S. tour on Nov. 11 with a show at the Palladium on New York City's 14th Street that had enough raw energy to light up Manhattan, give or take a few Blimpie stands.

Petty is the most significant artist to rise on the popularity of New Wave, although his music is simply dynamite rock. His lyrics have the expressive elegance of an Elvis Costello without the strangulation of bitter anti-Semitism and woman-hatred. Petty also pens hooks twice as infectious as the big E's and the Heartbreakers revved-up sound recalls the Stones at their rowdiest.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have had a cult following since late 1976, when "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" was released on the Shelter label. The album just did not get any airplay anywhere, despite its amazing strength. Those lucky enough to stumble upon the new group discovered the freshest rock on the street brought to a focus by Petty's pleading voice and Heartbreaker Mike Campbell's hellfire lead guitar.

Rock/Pop Records: Damn! Submerged in anonymity
By Vaughn Palmer
The Vancouver Sun - Friday, November 30, 1979

Damn the Torpedoes/Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Backstreet). This guy does not deserve to languish on two-bit record labels. Petty's first two records (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and You're Gonna Get It), among the best albums released in the late '70s, suffered from under-exposure and under-promotion.

Bankruptcy brought the Floridan a new label, but alas it is a division of MCA which has a spotty track record (Elton John excepted) and which recently folded its spanking new Infinity label.

So Petty's third, Damn the Torpedoes, will probably go unnoticed, except by those who are determined to ferret out the best damn Byrds-style rock and roll since the Byrds. Which this is -- again.

  • 1979-12-04_The-Mass-Media

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Two Nights, Two Bands
By Stephen Moniak
The Mass Media -- December 4, 1979

Friday night at the Paradise Theater. It's only ten o'clock, but despite the chilling cold, people are already queuing up for the eleven o'clock show. Tonight's twinbill features Ultravox, an English new wave band beset with personnel and identity problems. But listening to the conversation outside the door leaves no doubt as to tonight's main attraction. Everyone wants to see the Motels.

Or they at least want to check out Martha Davis, whose erotic vocal has catapulted "Dressing Up" into a surprising FM hit. On the radio Martha sounds just like a little girl whose found life exciting on the stange side of the tracks. In "Dressing Up" she coos, purrs, and pouts through lyrics which both bare and celebrate the neurotic egotism of fashion junkies. At times, in the intimacy of her vocals, she sounds like she's whispering in your ear.

Petty 'Damns the Torpedoes'
By Bill Osterbrock
The Daily Sundial - Friday, December 7, 1979

With the release of Damn the Torpedoes, Tom Petty appears ready to take his place as one of the top rock'n'roll acts in the United States.

The new album, which was mired in the legal hassles which developed between Petty and his record companies, is much more accessible than either of his first two efforts.

Damn the Torpedoes also shows some of the feelings which went through Petty's head when he was in the midst of the court hearings, with lines like, "When I got that little girl by my side I can tell the whole wide world to shove it," from "Here Comes My Girl" on the first side.

The whole legal business began while Petty was working on Damn the Torpedoes when ABC (his old label) was bought out by MCA. Instead of accepting the change in labels, Petty told MCA that his contract with ABC was non-transferable and a long court battle ensued in which Petty was away from the studio and in meetings with lawyers.

Editor's Note: This is an Icelandic article and my translation of it. If you actually know Icelandic and would like to improve it, please contact me.

  • 1979-12-07_Visir

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Original Icelandic:
Visir -  Föstudagur  7.  desember  1979

Tom  Petty -- kominn  inn  úr kuldanum  ásamt  hljómsveit  sinni.

Visir - Friday, December 7, 1979
Tom Petty has come in from the cold with his band.

New album by Heartbreakers puts them well above the pack
By Joel McNally
Winnipeg Free Press - Saturday, December 8, 1979

There are a lot of obstacles that a band has to overcome in order to make it to the top. It is not enough to be bad.

Sometimes it is not even enough to be good. There are a lot of very good bands that just never seem to establish an identity of their own.

There is no telling how long the careers of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were held back because I kept getting them mixed up with Graham Parker and the Rumour.

Damn the Torpedoes (Backstreet/MCA) is the album which should finally put Petty and his band above the pack.

It couldn't happen to a better kind of rock 'n' roll, either. Petty combines the melodic rock of the '60s with the power of rock today.

Springsteen finds ally in Floridan
By Robert Hilburn
Sarasota Journal - Tuesday, November 13, 1979

Rock and Roll standard bearer Bruce Springsteen is getting some good competition from Florida-born Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers with the release of the group's latest album, "Damn the Torpedoes."
LOS ANGELES -- Ever since his "Born to Run" album in 1975, Bruce Springsteen has upheld the idealistic tradition of American rock 'n' roll virtually by himself.

Talking Heads, the Cars and other U.S. rockers have arrived with invigorating sounds, but none has embraced as fully as Springsteen the liberating, rock-as-inspiration stance that Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly introduced to the music in the 1950s.

Springsteen now has an ally. Tom Petty's "Damn the Torpedoes," just released on MCA's Backstreet label, is the most passionate American rock LP since Springsteen's "Darkness on the Edge of Town" in 1978.

Petty's music isn't as majestically designed as Springsteen's and "Torpedoes" has weak spots, but the thrust of the nine-song collection echoes the self-affirmation found in the best rock. It's music with vitality and purpose.