"Everything about the album was difficult; writing, recording, mixing, mastering. We fought for it." — Mike Campbell, Heartbreakers guitarist
"It's passionate. We capture it. And what he's singing about relates to today... It's just timeless." — Jimmy Iovine, producer
In 1979 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers found themselves at the threshhold of the most turbulent time in their musical history. They had decided that they would no longer work as a supporting act for other bands, they weren't going to accept second billing anymore. They also had a fight on their hands — their record company had sold its assets to MCA and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers just happened to be one of those assets.
Tom Petty vowed himself to war knowing that the next album he released, the band's third, Damn the Torpedoes, might sit in vaults gathering dust as the band fought the record company through long-term litigation. To this band of pioneering musicians, under the guidance of their fearless, fierce, and quite stubborn leader, that risk was not one of choice. That historical legal battle would change music history forever; for the first time a band would fight the iron-fisted rule of record company contracts and win. Damn the Torpedoes would eventually find a home on Backstreet Records.
Jimmy Iovine, who co-produced the album, believed, and still does to this day, in the power of the historically important third album. In his words, "You know, Born to Run was the third album for Bruce, and Patti Smith, Easter (which Iovine produced) was her third album." He believed that Damn the Torpedoes, with the assistance of production partner and engineering genius Shelly Yakus (well known for his drum-heavy productions like "Because the Night" on Easter), would be the album to take Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers out of the confines of Top 40 and into the music halls of fame.