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Tom Petty - Classic Albums: Damn the Torpedoes

4.7 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The latest addition to Eagle's critically acclaimed and highly successful Classic Albums series is Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 1979 breakthrough album "Damn The Torpedoes". The band's third album defined their musical style and took them into the mainstream hitting No.2 on the US charts and spawning the top 10 single "Don't Do Me Like That". The DVD features newly filmed contributions from the band members Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Ron Blair and Stan Lynch along with co-producer Jimmy Iovine and engineer Shelly Yakus as they analyze the tracks from the original multi-track tapes and through new and archive performances. "Damn The Torpedoes" has stood the test of time as one of the great American rock albums of its era and is a worthy addition to the Classic Albums series.

Bonus Features: Over 40 minutes of additional interviews, archive footage and new demonstrations not included in the broadcast version.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Eagle Rock Ent
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,048 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
You'll never listen to the Petty album the same way again after watching this episode in the "Classic Albums" series

Eagle Rock has been issuing this series of Classic Albums videos for ages - back to the old VHS days. This newest volume - for Tom Petty's 1979 album is one of the best, in my opinion, because it digs so deep into the recording process.

The album itself lasts only 40 minutes but in the 95 minute presentation here (which includes 45 minutes of deleted scenes not show on the original TV broadcast) we get to hear music that never made it to the album. And in some cases the musicians themselves haven't hear it in over 20 years. Sure there is some archival footage of Petty and the band performing in the 1970s but the bulk of this DVD shows Petty and the other members of the band - Mike Campbell, Ron Blair and Benmont Tench sitting at the huge mixing board with producer Jimmy Iovine and engineer Shelly Yakus. As they play back the original tapes, each points out hidden gems of sound. (Did you know that its Jim Keltner's "shaker" that made one of the tracks the hit it was? And in a few cases the musicians continued to play even as Yakus was fading out the record. Here we get to hear - for the first time - what happened after the fadeout. The real gem for me was the last bonus chapter. Watch it and you'll find out why - if you are a fan of this album - you've literally heard Yakus' name before!

Though no complete songs are performed here, you will find yourself digging out the album - or buying it again on CD - just to hear notes you never realized were there the first time you listened to it. I know many were new to me!

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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First of all, this series is really hitting its stride--they're nailing everything a fan would want to know about each album, and the DVD extras are a must. They're often as good or better than the actual show. Check out "Never Mind the Bollocks" for the best example of that.

"Damn the Torpedoes" has always been one of my favorite albums (I've owned it in every medium possible since it was released in 1979) and everyone here, even Jimmy Iovine, is present to to break down one of the best sounding, finest written rock albums of all time.

Only Stan Lynch, who left the band in the 90's, has archival interview footage, instead of being specifically shot for this show. No problem though, because I can watch Mike Campbell play his Rickenbacker part for "Here Comes My Girl" about a thousand times (check out the DVD extra about that guitar--which is also on the cover--and its connection to George Harrison), or Benmont Tench play his part from "Don't Do Me Like That" another thousand times.

Eagle Vision is really on a roll with what they're deeming to be considered a "Classic Album" for the series. They're all records that come from an era when creativity trumped the ease of technology in the studio.

In fact, many of the sounds you can duplicate on Pro Tools and other recording software programs come from the fertile minds of this era in rock--these people are legends, and they need to have their stories told before they pass away, much like Ken Burns's approach to his documentaries.

I have only one complaint about "...Torpedoes" though--I really wanted to know why Tom Petty yells, "Shelly! Hey! Here Comes My Girl..." during that song. I know Shelly is Shelly Yackus, the engineer on the record... but what's the story behind that?

Update 10/13/10: Thanks for all the solutions to the lyrical dilemma described above. I'll go with "above it/shove it" unless Tom logs on here and says differently!
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Format: DVD
The Classic Albums series does it again with another terrific release that brings insight into one of the great rock albums of the seventies (and perhaps all time), Tom Petty and Heartbreakers "Damn the Torpedoes!" (in stunning Blu-ray from Eagle Rock Entertainment and Kayos Productions).

Back in the 70's, when there was a record business and bands would actually woodshed - working the clubs, writing songs, and developing as artists and songwriters - high potential artists often arrived with their third album(s). These third albums in many cases represented a giant leap forward and became the springboard for even greater success.

Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run may be the best example of this concept. While Greetings from Asbury Park and The Wild and the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle have their moments of brilliance, as a whole they miss. Until Born to Run arrived did the Boss establish himself as the superstar he remains today.

The cliche explanation that goes with this "third albums theory" is the first album exhausts the artist's catalogue established up until the first album (and the artists' lifetime). Usually there are one or two great singles in that first record (the ones that that got them noticed in the first place!). The second album is almost always rushed and spotty - constructed from leftovers of the first session with some hasty additions that "try to sound" like whatever direction the record company is telling them to aim for. These second albums later are deemed "transitional" - if the artist goes on to success.
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Tom Petty - Classic Albums: Damn the Torpedoes
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