Tom Petty relaunches "Torpedoes" in documentary

Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:32pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are giving short shrift to one of their biggest albums on their current North American tour. The only song from "Damn the Torpedoes" to make the cut is "Refugee," which typically ends the main set.

But fans wanting to experience a bit more from the 1979 release can now pick up the latest addition to the "Classic Albums" DVD collection, in which artists dissect their greatest albums track by track.

Petty and his bandmates, along with co-producer Jimmy Iovine and engineer Shelly Yakus, revisit such hits as "Even the Losers," "Here Comes My Girl," "Don't Do Me That" and "Refugee."

As is the format's custom, they isolate particular instruments and vocals in the original mixes, and recreate certain riffs and melodies to explain their origins. Their anecdotes are accompanied by rare footage.

Petty, not always the most talkative of rockers, happily shares songwriting memories, while lead guitarist Mike Campbell and especially keyboardist Benmont Tench are downright loquacious. Tench's rhapsodic distillation of "You Tell Me" in the bonus section is one of the disc's highlights.

Bassist Ron Blair, who left the band for 20 years in 1982, also contributes. But former drummer Stan Lynch is represented by some archival video.

Lynch, whose "punk-ass" (his words) drum kit was replaced early in the "Torpedoes" sessions by Yakus, actually left the band for a few weeks during the recording after clashing with Iovine and Petty, the documentary reveals.

Various drummers including B.J. Wilson (Procul Harum), Phil Seymour (Dwight Tilley Band) and Jim Gordon (Derek and the Dominos) unsuccessfully tried to fill his shoes. Lynch reclaimed his stool, but eventually left for good in 1994.   Continued...