Classic Albums: Damn the Torpedoes
directed by Matthew Longfellow
starring Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The Classic Albums series has been a popular staple of the VH1 and VH1 Classic television networks for more than a decade. Over the years, Classic Albums has provided music fans with an insider’s view of the creative process behind such landmark records as Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Paul Simon’s Graceland, Nirvana’s Nevermind, and U2’s The Joshua Tree. Typically, following the airing of each 50-minute TV version, an extended version is released on home video. Among the newly dissected classics to arrive in stores in 2010 are Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, Rush’s 2112, and Damn the Torpedoes, the platinum-selling 1979 smash from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Featuring the hits “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Refugee,” and “Here Comes My Girl,” Damn the Torpedoes, Petty’s third record, came at a particularly pivotal point in the band’s career. In dire need of a hit, members were embroiled in intraband turmoil and battles with their record label — conflicts that provided the inspiration for what has arguably become the finest effort of their amazing 35-year career.
In typical Classic Albums fashion, this edition features the usual control room breakdown of each track with various band members. In this case, the record’s producer Jimmy Iovine and engineer Shelly Yakus also offer their own personal, insider commentaries.
Despite his frontman/ band leader status, Petty proves to not always be the most compelling member of the group, as guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench are both charismatic and knowledgeable in their accounts of recording techniques, and provide detailed background on vintage instruments used during the recording process. Years after his official departure, original drummer Stan Lynch returns (briefly) to reprise his role as band jester, recalling events with his usual wit and candor.
As an added bonus, the DVD is also packed with fantastic home movie video footage of the band on and off stage from the late ’70s that fans simply won’t see anywhere else. In short, this is not only a must-have for Petty fans everywhere, but it’s also one of the best in this stellar, long-running series.
Tom Petty: www.tompetty.com