Friday, April 29, 2011

313 Damn the Torpedoes

Album: Damn the Torpedoes
Artist: Tom Petty
Genre: Rock
Year: 1979


  1. Refugee
  2. Here Comes My Girl
  3. Even the Losers
  4. Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)
  5. Century City
  6. Don't Do Me Like That
  7. You Tell Me
  8. What Are You Doin' in My Life?
  9. Louisiana Rain

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released an album in 2010 called Mojo which almost made it to number 1 on the American charts. They’ve sold over 50 million units throughout the world and an still sell out big concert venues. Not bad for a band that released their first album in 1976. Most of their contemporaries from that year have either broken up, died off or are touring small clubs as a nostalgia act. The Heartbreakers are still going strong with four of the original members in place.

Their secret isn’t related to witchcraft, pacts with the devil or the masonic intervention (as far as I know) it’s purely down to the fact that Rock and Roll will never die. People will always want good songs recorded by talented people on amplified guitars. Back in the seventies people wanted to rock, they want to rock now and they’ve wanted it for all the intervening years. While people have been tearing their hair out trying to find the next big sound Petty has been writing good songs and recording them with his talented friends. He never felt the need to introduce wild new elements, fancy embellishments or keep abreast of the latest trend. He took the classic Stones albums as his template and forged a career that is still going in it’s 4th decade.

It also helps that Petty himself has a very Rock and Roll atitude to life. When the Red Hot Chillli Peppers released their single Dani California many realised that it closely resembled Mary Jane’s Last Dance a song Petty released the decade before. The similarities are certainly as close as many of the other songs that have gone to court with the original artist shouting plagarism and demanding payment. The fact that the same producer worked on both tracks would have definitely strengthened Petty’s case. But Tom refused to launch any legal action. As far as he was concerned it was all music and good luck to them. You can’t help but love him for that sort of attitude.

Damn the Torpedoes is a great listen but I’m not sure it’s his best album. Can I strongly reccomend the live anthology he put out in 2009. It’s got the five best tracks from this album (Refugee, Even the Losers, Here Comes my girl, Century City, You tell me and Lousianna Rain) along with a collection of his other great hits (Running down a dream, Free Falling, I won’t back down etc) and some great covers (Friend of the Devil, Oh Well, I just want to make love to you and even Goldfinger). It’s a career spanning retrospective that shows why good rock and roll lasts.

Influenced by: The Stones and the Faces
Influenced: The Black Crowes and (possibly) the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Highlight: Even the Losers
Lowlight: You Tell Me

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: “The fact that Petty, like most rockers of his generation, advocates sanctions against Indonesia in retaliation for that country's trumped-up drug-smuggling conviction of a young Australian tourist makes this an essential purchase for both your ears AND your conscience.”

-What an odd thing to write in a review.

So do you damn the torpedoes or damn this album to hell? Let me know below.

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