As a student at the University of Florida there are a few things you learn quickly about the town of Gainesville. Before being called Gainesville it was known as Hogtown, cheering against the Gators football team on game day is sacrilegious, and it’s the birthplace of rock sensation Tom Petty, who in 1979 released an album that made him a rock legend. Damn the Torpedoes, Petty’s third album with The Heartbreakers, became an instant classic with famous songs like “Refugee,” “Here Comes My Girl,” and “Don’t Do Me Like That,” but the story behind all these hits is just as fascinating as the hits themselves, and nobody tells it better than Eagle Rock Entertainment’s award winning Classic Albums documentary series. Through interviews, new and archive performances and analysis we discover how Tom 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. We also learn how it took Tom Petty ten minutes to write the lyrics to “Refugee,” the drama that took place between producer Jimmy Iovine and drummer Stan Lynch which led to Lynch being fired from the project for a few weeks, and how the song “Century City” was really about the lawyers from MCA that sued Petty when he decided to leave the label after it was acquired by ABC.
“Tom would always stand up to anyone who got in the way of his music,” David Wild, contributing editor for Rolling Stone reveals. Tom Petty also talks in a recent interview about how “Here Comes My Girl” is one of his favorite songs and the phrase “Don’t Do Me Like That” is an expression his father used often. Every album has a story and Damn the Torpedoes is one of chance, risk, and triumph. To this day radio stations still play songs from this album, but if you ever want to know the history behind this rock masterpiece than Classic Albums is the way to go. Knowing this much about Tom Petty may save your life in Gainesville one day, if you’re not a Gators fan.
“That was the record when life was never going to be the same again.”
talking about the 1979 release of his third album, Damn The Torpedoes
Damn the Torpedoes was Tom Petty’s first top 10 album rising to #2 (for seven weeks and kept from #1 by Pink Floyd’s The Wall) on the Billboard albums chart. It yielded two songs that made the top-fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, “Don’t Do Me Like That” (#10) and “Refugee” (#15). It was a commercial success as well.