Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Underrated Classic - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Damn the Torpedoes"

Sometimes when I think of Tom Petty, the Rodney Dangerfield joke of "I get no respect" comes to mind. Petty, who at 60 years old still fills arena's, still sells out shows, still has his devoted fanbase, but is not talked about the way other American musician's in his age are, say Springsteen or John Mellencamp. Petty, for some is a single's artist, a man in which his singles are bigger and are popular than his full albums. Whoever could make such an accusation has never actually heard a Petty record before, but for the sake of this argument we will go with it to prove a point. In 1979 Petty and his Heartbreakers released what could be his greatest album of all time - Damn the Torpedos. After many legal issues with his former label Shelter as he was falling apart finically at the seams and were sold to MCA records, after a legal battle, Petty was able to detach himself from MCA and go under the Backstreet Records umbrella, a subsidiary of MCA but allowed him the artistic freedom he needed and wanted. Bringing on a young Jimmy Iovine at the time after he worked with Springsteen and Patti Smith, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were ready to come out guns ablazing with their anticipated new album. Damn the Torpedos was an instant success, failing to peak the Billboard #1 spot because Pink Floyd's epic The Wall was holding a strong position on it. Petty and the Heartbreakers proved to the then press that this was a band that should and needed to be taken serious. Damn the Torpedoes is a great rock and roll record from a great rock and roll band. It celebrated it's 30 anniversary with a deluxe reissue in 2010 and that is even worth a listen even for the casual Petty supporter.