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Cashbox — November 17, 1979
Few artists living or dead have ever put as much wild boy abandon and rock ‘n’ roll vigor into their music as Backstreet/MCA artist Tom Petty, infusing his music with a touch of Byrds, a dash of Stones and a lot of his own 4/4 rhythmic ingenuity, Petty stands as a rockin’ original.
At the crux of Petty’s lyrical and vocal stance is the snarling, avenging lover who cries out “That’s right you hurt me, baby” in “Hurt” and “I didn’t know I was no number two” in “Fooled Again.” While a lesser performer would shuffle the lines off in a cheap emotional fashion, Petty acts as though he means it. Only Costello’s angry urbanite and Springsteen’s boardwalk leathered poet can match Petty’s frustrated “Wild One” persona on today’s rock ‘n’ roll scene.
The emotion in his voice is complemented beautifally by his cresting rock ‘n’ roll rhythms and the hard driving Heartbreakers — guitarist Mike Campbell, drummer Stan Lynch, pianist Benmont Tench and bassist Ron Blair. The group was formed three years ago in Los Angeles, but all the musicians had met in Gainesville, Fla., and had moved to L.A. over a period of years.
The Floridian roots are probably one of the reasons for the band’s summertime-happy songs that are wide-eyed looks at teen frustration and celebration. A case in point is the steamy island rhythm of “Breakdown,” still an AOR staple, or “Too Much Ain’t Enough” which is right out of the James Dean live fast, die young, leave-a-good-looking-corpse school.
After two successful LPs, “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” and “You’re Gonna Get It” on ABC, and a long hiatus Petty and the Heartbreakers have returned with a fine new MCA LP, “Damn the Torpedoes.” The comfortable rhythms of the first two LPs are again present in songs like “Refugee,” “Lousiana Rain,” and “Here Comes My Girl,” and should seem like old friends to Petty fans.
“Damn the Torpedoes” has dumped to the #36 bullet on the Cash Box Top 200 LP chart after only two weeks.
Singles: Feature Picks
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Backstreet/MCA MCA-41138) | Don’t Do Me Like That (2:40) (Skyhill Publishing Co., Inc. — BMI) (T. Petty)
The first single off of Petty’s new hot-selling album bounces along to a rock steady, engaging beat, bopping hook, staccato guitar chords with lively production. Making a heavy chart debut this week, this track should establish Petty and crew as a solid pop singles group. Retailers, this comes in a picture sleeve with a great unreleased B-side.