The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
Yesterday became another very sad day in music, as the world was left in hanging in confusion over the condition of Tom Petty, some news sources claimed he had suffered a heart attack and passed away, others said he suffered a heart attack and was in critical condition, while others said he was found unresponsive and later said to have no brain activity. Nevertheless, it was confirmed that on October 2, 2017 that Tom Petty had passed away, leaving the world to mourn an icon, innovator, and one of the best songwriters in rock history. To me, Tom Petty was more than just any other rock musician, his songs and lyrics stuck close to me, his style, his life, and everything about him absolutely stood out to me as one of the few rock musicians who have impacted my life, and he remains one of the only two rock musicians where I have actually felt this emotional about their passing. Rest Easy Tom.
Now, “Damn the Torpedoes” remained in constant rotation for me for most of 2014/2015, if I felt down, I played it, if I needed to hear something, I played it, if I had to explain to someone who Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were, I played it. There was never not a day for those two years where I had not played at least half or all the songs on this album, it was just that great to me. The album opens with the fantastic, “Refugee” – now, this song, it doesn’t matter where you start the song, you can start from the start, middle or near the end, it’s a great song, but that opening drum riff is what makes for an amazing start to one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Tom Petty was just a phenomenal singer and songwriter, and the group he had with him, were some of the most talented musicians in rock music. Benmont Tench’s organ solo in the song is absolutely stunning, these guys were just a traditional rock band, they didn’t try to be something bigger than they were, they were who they were and that is what made them great. Next up comes “Here Comes My Girl” and if there is one song I want played when my future wife walks down the aisle at our wedding, it’s this one. Because, Tom and the Heartbreakers deliver one hell of a song, and from Tom’s vocals, to Benmont’s piano playing, right down to the drums, everything about this song is perfect. If this was my first time hearing this album, I’d know by this point that this is one of the greatest rock albums of all time, and I don’t care how many times I’ll say it during this article, because it’s the truth, and I’ll shout it from my roof if I have to. We continue with the song “Even the Losers” – and it opens, or the previous track closes with a little bit of guitar and bass, then some spoken word part, and then this song starts, and once again, these guys pull all the right stops on this song too. Like, the guitar playing by the Heartbreakers is intense. I love it. Next up comes “Shadow of a Doubt (Complex Kid)” and the first time I heard this song was actually on the Bridge School Concerts CD, and from the moment I first heard the chorus I loved this song, it’s amazingly deep, and Tom once again delivers powerful vocals, I’m not even sure how I could describe Tom’s voice, it’s like perfection, you listen to him talk, you listen to him sing, and for those short few moments, everything in the universe is perfect, that is the power Tom had with his voice. After that we go right into the closing track of the A-Side, “Century City” and the guitar playing on this one is just mind blowing, Mike, Tom and Ron are guitar Gods. These are guys who have perfected their craft, and made a sound like no other band has, can, or ever will be able to replicate. This is what perfection on vinyl is.
The B-Side opens with ANOTHER fantastic Tom Petty track, “Don’t Do Me Like That” and Benmont’s organ playing, great. Guitar playing, great. Drums, great. Tom’s vocals, great. What else can you ask for? Unlimited airplay. That’s what. Oh, and the chorus, don’t even get me started on that, because it’s fantastic too. Why? Because it’s actually well written unlike most of the music you hear on the radio now. I like to think that this was the first Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song I heard, but we all know it was most likely “Free Fallin’.” “You Tell Me” comes next, and damn, that bass on this track, that is what bass playing should sound like, and the guitar playing comes in and it just melts my mind, because it’s fantastic too. And yes, I’ll keep saying this is fantastic, because it’s just that, fantastic. The chorus comes around and Tom delivers some more amazing vocals, and it’s great. Hands down. This is great. This is what good music sounds like, by the way. “What Are You Doin’ In My Life?” comes next, and the piano playing that opens the track is unbelievable, and this one is just wow, like, it’s great, fantastic. This is just one of those albums that should be played at max volume, I know this, because I am playing it at max volume. And lastly, the album closes with “Louisiana Rain” and it opens with some great organ playing, and when I say great, I mean it’s organ and a harmonium, then it goes quiet a bit, and then it starts up again, and it’s a slower song, yes, but you know what Tom Petty still delivers a great closing track to one of the BEST albums in all of rock history, and the song itself is just great. All in all, I’ve said it once, twice, three times, and I’ll keep saying it, this album is great, one of the best.
A1 – Refugee
A2 – Here Comes My Girls
A3 – Even the Losers
A4 – Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)
A5 – Century City
B1 – Don’t Do Me Like That
B2 – You Tell Me
B3 – What Are You Doin’ in My Life?
B4 – Louisiana Rain
Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Twelve & Six String Guitar, Lead Vocals & Harmonica – Tom Petty
Piano, Organ & Harmonium – Benmont Tench
Slide Guitar, Six & Twelve String Guitars – Mike Campbell
Drums & Vocals – Stan Lynch
Electric Bass Guitar – Ron Blair
Producer – Tom Petty & Jimmy Iovine
Engineer – Shelley Yakus
Other Albums I Own by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers:
“Don’t Come Around Here No More / Trailer”
“Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough)”
“Long After Dark”
“Pack Up the Plantation Live! Sampler”
“Refugee / It’s Rainin’ Again”
“Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers”
“You’re Gonna Get It!