I remember playing shows [with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in the ‘80s] and looking out.. I didn’t have that many fans coming to see me,they were coming to see Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn, December 1997)
Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch. He was also a member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.
“…Tom Petty and his bar band defrilled classic rock: In 1979, he filed for bankruptcy; then Torpedoes took off, mostly because “Here Comes My Girl” seemed to keep the promises those like Jagger et al., forgot they’d made. Perfectly produced by future music-industry megamogul Jimmy Iovine, Torpedoes gave bright jangling Sixties rock a sheen that made pretty much everything else on AOR radio seem lumpy and stiff, while Petty’s obvious authenticity kept the music from ever seeming calculated or overly”
– Rolling Stone
I got this album on vinyl in January 1980, it is still my favourite Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers album.
Damn the Torpedoes is the third studio album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released on October 19, 1979. It built on the commercial success and critical acclaim of his two previous albums and reached #2 on the Billboard album chart. The album went on to become certified Triple Platinum.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 313 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and 315 in a 2012 revised list. It is at 231 on the 2020 list from Rolling Stone magazine. It’s climbing!
Great documentary on Damn The Torpedoes in The Classic Album series , Part 1:
Dylan joins Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (who have just concluded their own set) on stage. Together they launch straight into “Clean-Cut Kid” followed by a blues song called “Shake,” seemingly a Dylan lyric set to the rune of Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right.” Then comes the live debuts of two Empire Burlesque songs, “I’ll Remember You” and “Trust Yourself,” both of which have Dylan dueting with Madelyn Quebec, who is clearly struggling to keep up with his idiosyncratic phrasing. A searing version of “That Lucky 0l’ Sun” follows, before Willie Nelson joins them on guitar for a romp through the highly appropriate “Maggie’s Farm.” Although the American TV broadcast, courtesy of the Nashville Network, manages to omit the first and fifth songs and cut the second, the excitement of the performance comes across, reaffirming Dylan’s power in concert after the very public disaster at “Live Aid ” The buzz from the concert is enough for him to suggest a more longterm collaboration with the Heartbreakers.
~Clinton Heylin (Bob Dylan: A Life in Stolen Moments Day by Day 1941-1995)
University Of Illinois Champaign, Illinois 22 September 1985 Farm Aid Concert
..spectacular from start to finish.. Bob Dylan feels good about himself and his work, this night in Dortmund. You can hear it in his voice. It’s a unique, very wonderful Bob Dylan voice, special to this show. His presence this time is not a matter of being one with the protagonists of the songs or the persons being sung to. It’s a matter of his enthusiasm for the act of
singing, and for each of these songs that he gets to sing. An a subtle but measurable sense, this “Tangled Up in Blue” vocal is not like any other rendition.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)
Dortmund, West Germany
15 September 1987
Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar) with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
Tom Petty (guitar)
Mike Campbell (guitar)
Benmont Tench (keyboards)
Howie Epstein (bass)
Stan Lynch (drums)
The Queens Of Rhythm: Carolyn Dennis, Queen Esther Marrow, Madelyn Quebec (backing vocals)
Tom Petty talks about how he wrote his songs, and even writes one on the spot (kind of)! This is episode 1 in season 4 of this classic TV-series. It shows us what a wonderful storyteller Tom Petty was, through his songs and in between. He was one of the nicest guys around, and a very talented songwriter. This VH1 episode gives us Tom Petty at the height of his powers performing to an intimate audience and explaining with humour the inspiration for his songs.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Live at Rockpalast
Hamburg Docks “The Docks”
This was only a couple of weeks after the release of the album Echo, an often overlooked and underrated album in the Petty discography. It’s a dark album, reflecting Petty’s life in this period. Tom Petty was initially unhappy with the record. According to biographer Warren Zanes, he struggled with a bad heroin habit at the time. Tom Petty’s feelings about the album could be related to what he was going through, rather than the musical content of the album. His failing marriage, difficult divorce, and the unsettled aftermath must have played a role. After the divorce, he lived a very isolated life for a while.