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Tom Petty: Damn the Torpedoes

The third album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released in 1979, has long been regarded as a classic and demonstrates the musical and songwriting virtuosity of a great frontman and his amazing backing band. A mix of rootsy American rock 'n' roll and the best of the British invasion, of jangling Byrds guitars and Stones-like rhythms, Damn the Torpedoes was the album that took Petty into the major league and redefined American rock.

This programme tells the story behind the conception and recording of the album and how it transformed the band's career. Using interviews, musical demonstration, acoustic performance, archive footage and a return to the multi-tracks with the main protagonists, it shows how Petty, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Ron Blair and Stan Lynch created their songs and sounds with the help of co-producer Jimmy Iovine and engineer Shelly Yakus. Additional comments from journalists and other producers and musicians help tell the story and put the album into its rightful place in rock history.

Recorded in secrecy at a time when the band was fighting for creative independence amidst a legal wrangle with their record company, the album is imbued with an anger and a gutsy attitude the situation had created. Many songs from the album are still played live and form an important part of Petty's body of work, including Refugee, Here Comes My Girl, Even the Losers, Shadow of a Doubt, Louisiana Rain, Century City and top ten hit Don't Do Me Like That.

Damn the Torpedoes hit number two in the US for seven weeks, initially selling over 2.5 million copies, and launched Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers onto the world stage and into superstar territory, standing as one of the great records of the late 70s and early 80s.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Fri 28 Nov 2014 01:35

Credits

Role Contributor
DirectorMatthew Longfellow
Series ProducerNick De Grunwald
Series ProducerMartin R Smith