Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Damn the Torpedoes Blu-ray Review

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their third album, Damn the Torpedoes, in 1979. They never knew this was going to be the one that will take them to stardom and bring new ideas to the American rock world. In this special, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers share their stories about the album from their beginnings all the way to the successful release of Damn the Torpedoes. Interviews, archival footage, and analysis are provided throughout the special solely for the fans of the band. Plus engaging one on one interview with the band on how they achieved the music behind the album. This is the story of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Just like the previous Classic Albums series, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sit down for an intimate conversation regarding one of American rock history classic albums, Damn the Torpedoes. The Classic Albums series is comprised of televised shows that air on VH1 and then get ported over to home video via Eagle Rock. Like Black Sabbath’s: Paranoid, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Damn the Torpedoes takes a look at the men behind the hit album. The entire duration of the special covers various different aspects of the musician’s careers along with their struggles. It offers a look behind the scenes right from the men who created the sounds within the album.

The episode allows the musicians to share anecdotes supported by archived footage from their days as a band. The group comprised of Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Ron Blair and Stan Lynch gives the viewers the opportunity to find out how the album came to be. The band members describe how they created each sound and how each song was done while working with Producer Jimmy Iovine and Shelly Yakus. Personally, I enjoyed when they broke down the songs in the mixing board allowing those outside the record room to know how each piece sounded before being put together. Furthermore, band members show the viewers their secrets to achieving the sounds which is rather interesting.

Tom Petty talks about the frustration the band encountered during the recording stages of Damn the Torpedoes, which inevitably became one of American Rock’s classic albums featuring songs like “Here Comes My Girl,” “Refugee,” and “Even the Losers” to name a few. Each piece in this episode are carefully driven and constructed; interviews are very good and engaging; archival footage is well mixed with the interviews throughout. There’s really no complaint as far as the material provided within this release. If you are a fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers this is well worth the money.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Damn the Torpedoes arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080i MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 1.78:1. Just like the previous Black Sabbath title from Eagle Rock, the interviews are all well rendered with deep and inky blacks and very sharp image throughout. Colors look good and stand out very nicely. Skin tones look very natural. Now, the older footage will naturally not be up to par with the high definition transfer. This archived footage exhibits many flaws like heavy grain, artifacts on the screen, and at times it looks very fussy. All this is due to the original source of the material and not anything to do with the Blu-ray mastering. Overall, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers look good on Blu-ray.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Damn the Torpedoes arrives on Blu-ray with a with a LPCM 2.0 Stereo audio track. The dialogue throughout each interview is clean and crisp that even during music in the background the viewer can still hear what is being said. While I expect a better mix for music titles, I’ve come to peace with the Classic Albums series and the often Stereo track included. With that being said, the music portions sound very good throughout especially during the guitar playing piece that sounds great. There isn’t really much more to it really as it is a fairly simplistic track.

Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers: Damn the Torpedoes features 10 extra interviews that combined clock in at 42 minutes. The 10 extra segments include the following:

Damn The Torpedoes – TV Commercial
Beat The Mix
The 12 Sting Rickenbacker
Even The Losers – The Guitar Orchestra
Here Comes My Girl – Beat The Demo
You Tell Me
Here Comes My Girl – Drum Sound
Benmond Tench’s Hammond
Don’t Do Me Like That – Vox Organ
What Are You Don’ In My Life? – Shelly Shelly, Shelly Yakus

Viewers can select each segment one by one or select “Play All” to view them in a continuous playlist, however, I advise everyone to select each one individually because once you select “Play All” and the videos start there is no indication which one is currently playing. I found myself wondering which segment I was watching since there is absolutely no labeling at the beginning of each extra. How these segments didn’t find their way until the main feature via seamless branching is beyond me. Regardless, these are as entertaining as the entire program and I highly recommend watching them.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Damn the Torpedoes features an excellent array of interviews that shed the light on how the album came to be. Engaging and entertaining are two words to describe this special that I am sure will make fans of the band to add the title to their collection. The Blu-ray features a decent 1080i transfer and a decent audio that while it’s not the best it surely does do justice to the material. The extras extend the overall experience a bit further and will keep you on your seat for a while.