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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Geffen

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
Not long after You're Gonna Get It, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' label, Shelter, was sold to MCA Records. Petty struggled to free himself from the major label, eventually sending himself into bankruptcy. He settled with MCA and set to work on his third album, digging out some old Mudcrutch numbers and quickly writing new songs. Amazingly, through all the frustration and anguish, Petty & the Heartbreakers delivered their breakthrough and arguably their masterpiece with Damn the Torpedoes. Musically, it follows through on the promise of their first two albums, offering a tough, streamlined fusion of the Stones and Byrds that, thanks to Jimmy Iovine's clean production, sounded utterly modern yet timeless. It helped that the Heartbreakers had turned into a tighter, muscular outfit, reminiscent of, well, the Stones in their prime -- all of the parts combine into a powerful, distinctive sound capable of all sorts of subtle variations. Their musical suppleness helps bring out the soul in Petty's impressive set of songs. He had written a few classics before -- "American Girl," "Listen to Her Heart" -- but here his songwriting truly blossoms. Most of the songs have a deep melancholy undercurrent -- the tough "Here Comes My Girl" and "Even the Losers" have tender hearts; the infectious "Don't Do Me Like That" masks a painful relationship; "Refugee" is a scornful, blistering rocker; "Louisiana Rain" is a tear-jerking ballad. Yet there are purpose and passion behind the performances that makes Damn the Torpedoes an invigorating listen all the same. Few mainstream rock albums of the late '70s and early '80s were quite as strong as this, and it still stands as one of the great records of the album rock era. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1979 | Geffen

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released November 23, 2009 | Warner Records

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It's a commonly held opinion among fans and band alike that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' lone live album, 1986's Pack Up the Plantation, didn't quite capture the group at its peak, so there has been a long-standing need for another live set, which 2009's Live Anthology finally provides. Like its closest cousin, Bruce Springsteen's Live 1975-1985, Live Anthology almost overcompensates for the long wait by offering almost too much music, cherry picking highlights from 1978 to 2007. In its simplest incarnation, Live Anthology is a super-affordable, four-disc box set running 48 tracks, which is eight cuts longer than Springsteen's box, plenty long enough for most fans, but in its deluxe version, there's an additional CD, plus two previously unreleased DVDs -- a 1978 New Year's Eve concert from Santa Monica, a documentary called 400 Days shot during the Wildflowers tour -- a Blu-Ray edition of all 62 tracks on the five-CD version, a vinyl copy of the 1976 Official Live 'Leg LP, plus a book and lithograph, along with other assorted bonuses. Certainly, the deluxe edition lives up to its billing, offering enough extras to justify its price tag, but the standard edition is plenty generous as it is, serving up enough consistently strong music from throughout the decades, ranging from expert covers of Willie Dixon and the Grateful Dead to deep treasures from the Heartbreakers catalog. Apart from the tendency to favor performances that stretch on a little too long with jamming -- something that is a matter of taste, as some prefer energy to improvisations -- if there's any flaw to the set, it's how it goes out of its way to prove the band's consistency by skipping through the decades, letting a version of "Louisiana Rain" from 1982 sit next to a 1997 cover of "Green Onions" and "Melinda" from 2003. This certainly goes a long way to illustrating that Petty & the Heartbreakers always delivered the goods, but it's somewhat at the expense of forward momentum; it's hard not to wish that it was arranged chronologically, to be able to hear the raw energy give way to easy skill, but that's just nit picking -- any way you look at it, this Live Anthology offers an overdose of prime rock & roll. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 21, 2010 | Reprise

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Tom Petty has been fronting the Heartbreakers off and on (mostly on) for over 30 years now, and he and his band have been delivering a high level of no-frills, classy, and reconstituted American garage rock through all of it. Petty often gets lumped in with artists like Bruce Springsteen, whose careful and worked-over lyrics carry a kind of instant nostalgia, but Petty's songwriting at its best cleverly bounces off of romance clichés, often with a desperate, lustful drawl and sneer, and he’s usually been more concerned with the here and now than he is about musing about what’s been abused and lost in contemporary America, although he's certainly not blind to it. Petty has always been more immediate than that -- until now, that is. Mojo is Petty's umpteenth album, and technically the first he’s done with the Heartbreakers since 2002’s sly The Last DJ. This time out he’s tackling the blues, trying to graft the Heartbreakers' (Mike Campbell on guitar, Scott Thurston on guitar and harmonica, Benmont Tench on keyboards, Ron Blair on bass, and Steve Ferrone on drums) patented 1960s garage sound to the Chicago blues sound of Chess Records in the 1950s. Sonically it certainly works, mostly because this is a wonderful band, but then it all seems a little tired, worn, and exhausted, too, and not a single song here has that certain desperate, determined defiance that Petty has always delivered in the past with a knowing sneer and a little leering wink. The opener, “Jefferson Jericho Blues,” is a case in point. It starts by being a song about Thomas Jefferson’s dalliance with one of his black maids, and it could have been a scathing indictment of an out-of-date Southern attitude, contemporary racism, and so much more. Instead, it tumbles unfocused into, well, a song about missing a girl and how time moves slow, and one can’t help but wonder why Petty dragged Thomas Jefferson and his maid into any of it in the first place. Petty has never sounded so emotionally drained and detached as a vocalist as he does on this album, and while it’s nice to hear the Heartbreakers flirt with the blues -- and to hear Campbell's clear, precise slide guitar playing -- there’s no excuse for not having solid songs to scaffold it. There’s a worn-out, regretful, and boringly meditative tone to so many tracks here -- this is not what one expects from a band that rocks as fine as this one can. Again, the playing is solid, but one wishes Petty & the Heartbreakers had simply covered some of those old Chess classics rather than trying half-heartedly to write their own -- it would have made for an album closer to intent. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 1, 2019 | Tom Petty - Greatest Hits

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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Geffen*

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Rock - Released January 1, 1979 | Geffen

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Not long after You're Gonna Get It, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' label, Shelter, was sold to MCA Records. Petty struggled to free himself from the major label, eventually sending himself into bankruptcy. He settled with MCA and set to work on his third album, digging out some old Mudcrutch numbers and quickly writing new songs. Amazingly, through all the frustration and anguish, Petty & the Heartbreakers delivered their breakthrough and arguably their masterpiece with Damn the Torpedoes. Musically, it follows through on the promise of their first two albums, offering a tough, streamlined fusion of the Stones and Byrds that, thanks to Jimmy Iovine's clean production, sounded utterly modern yet timeless. It helped that the Heartbreakers had turned into a tighter, muscular outfit, reminiscent of, well, the Stones in their prime -- all of the parts combine into a powerful, distinctive sound capable of all sorts of subtle variations. Their musical suppleness helps bring out the soul in Petty's impressive set of songs. He had written a few classics before -- "American Girl," "Listen to Her Heart" -- but here his songwriting truly blossoms. Most of the songs have a deep melancholy undercurrent -- the tough "Here Comes My Girl" and "Even the Losers" have tender hearts; the infectious "Don't Do Me Like That" masks a painful relationship; "Refugee" is a scornful, blistering rocker; "Louisiana Rain" is a tear-jerking ballad. Yet there are purpose and passion behind the performances that makes Damn the Torpedoes an invigorating listen all the same. Few mainstream rock albums of the late '70s and early '80s were quite as strong as this, and it still stands as one of the great records of the album rock era. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 16, 1993 | Geffen

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Rock - Released March 26, 1985 | Geffen*

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Pop - Released January 1, 1981 | Geffen*

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Pop - Released November 2, 1982 | Geffen*

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Riding high on the back-to-back Top Five, platinum hits Damn the Torpedoes and Hard Promises, Tom Petty quickly returned to the studio to record the Heartbreakers' fifth album, Long After Dark. Truth be told, there was about as long a gap between Dark and Promises as there was between Promises and Torpedoes, but there was a difference this time around -- Petty & the Heartbreakers sounded tired. Even if there are a few new wave flourishes here and there, the band hasn't really changed its style at all -- it's still Stonesy, Byrds-ian heartland rock. As their first four albums illustrated, that isn't a problem in itself, since they've found numerous variations within their signature sound, providing they have the right songs. Unfortunately, Petty had a dry spell on Long After Dark. With its swirling, minor key guitars, "You Got Lucky" is a classic and "Change of Heart" comes close to matching those peaks, but the remaining songs rarely rise above agreeable filler. Since the Heartbreakers are a very good band, it means the record sounds pretty good as it's playing, but apart from those few highlights, nothing much is memorable once the album has finished. And coming on the heels of two excellent records, that's quite a disappointment. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1985 | Geffen*

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Rock - Released April 21, 1987 | Geffen*

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Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers spent much of 1986 on the road as Bob Dylan's backing band. Dylan's presence proved to be a huge influence on the Heartbreakers, turning them away from the well-intentioned but slick pretensions of Southern Accents and toward a loose, charmingly ramshackle roots rock that harked back to their roots yet exhibited the professional eclecticism they developed during the mid-'80s. All of this was on full display on Let Me Up (I've Had Enough), their simplest and best album since Hard Promises. Not to say that Let Me Up is a perfect album -- far from it, actually. Filled with loose ends, song fragments, and unvarnished productions, it's a defiantly messy album, and it's all the better for it, especially arriving on the heels of the well-groomed Accents. Apart from the (slightly dated) rant "Jammin' Me'" (co-written by Dylan, but you can't tell), there aren't any standouts on the record, but there's no filler either -- it's just simply a good collection of ballads ("Runaway Trains"), country-rockers ("The Damage You've Done"), pop/rock ("All Mixed Up," "Think About Me"), and hard rockers ("Let Me Up [I've Had Enough]"). While that might not be enough to qualify Let Me Up as one of Petty & the Heartbreakers' masterpieces, it is enough to qualify it as the most underrated record in their catalog. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 20, 2008 | Geffen

Hailing from the state of Florida, singer/songwriter Tom Petty has come to epitomize a new rootsy style of California rock & roll. Rhythmically, the music harkens back to the basic crunch of the Rolling Stones and the dancing pop of the Beatles, while Petty's gravelly vocals and sing-song narrative style suggest roots in the folk-blues Americana of Bob Dylan. Years before R.E.M. returned to the jangly, Rickenbacker-infected timbre of the Byrds, Petty's nasal delivery and bell-like mix of guitars and vocal harmonies gave new life to the atmospheric ballad style of Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, and company. Greatest Hits is evenly divided between material from Petty's mid-'70s and early-'80s breakthrough, and the more mature work he's been doing with producer Jeff Lynne since 1989's Full Moon Fever. The craft and content of his songwriting has grown more relaxed and accomplished with each passing album, whether alone or in tandem with Lynne and longtime lead guitarist Mike Campbell. Thus we move from the hard-churning outsider's anthem of "Refugee" with Benmont Tench's pulsing Hammond organ (from 1979's Damn the Torpedoes), to the moody Southern California metaphors of the transplanted rock exiles and doomed romantics who populate "Free Fallin'" and "Learning to Fly." All are examples of Petty's timeless, evocative songwriting. © TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Geffen*

Since Full Moon Fever was an unqualified commercial and critical success, perhaps it made sense that Tom Petty chose to follow its shiny formula when he reunited with the Heartbreakers for its follow-up, Into the Great Wide Open. Nevertheless, the familiarity of Into the Great Wide Open is something of a disappointment. The Heartbreakers' sound has remained similar throughout their career, but they had never quite repeated themselves until here. Technically, it isn't a repeat, since they weren't credited on Full Moon, but Wide Open sounds exactly like Full Moon, thanks to Jeff Lynne's overly stylized production. Again, it sounds like a cross between latter-day ELO and roots rock (much like the Traveling Wilburys, in that sense), but the production has become a touch too careful and precise, bordering on the sterile at times. And, unfortunately, the quality of the songwriting doesn't match Full Moon or Let Me Up (I've Had Enough). That's not to say that it rivals the uninspired Long After Dark, since Petty was a better craftsman in 1991 than he was in 1983. There are a number of minor gems -- "Learning to Fly," "Kings Highway," "Into the Great Wide Open" -- but there are no knockouts, either; it's like Full Moon Fever if there were only "Apartment Song"s and no "Free Fallin'"s. In other words, enough for a pleasant listen, but not enough to resonate like his best work. (And considering this, perhaps it wasn't surprising that Petty chose to change producers and styles on his next effort, the solo Wildflowers.) © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 16, 1993 | Geffen

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Pop - Released April 2, 1999 | Warner Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Geffen

Not long after You're Gonna Get It, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' label, Shelter, was sold to MCA Records. Petty struggled to free himself from the major label, eventually sending himself into bankruptcy. He settled with MCA and set to work on his third album, digging out some old Mudcrutch numbers and quickly writing new songs. Amazingly, through all the frustration and anguish, Petty & the Heartbreakers delivered their breakthrough and arguably their masterpiece with Damn the Torpedoes. Musically, it follows through on the promise of their first two albums, offering a tough, streamlined fusion of the Stones and Byrds that, thanks to Jimmy Iovine's clean production, sounded utterly modern yet timeless. It helped that the Heartbreakers had turned into a tighter, muscular outfit, reminiscent of, well, the Stones in their prime -- all of the parts combine into a powerful, distinctive sound capable of all sorts of subtle variations. Their musical suppleness helps bring out the soul in Petty's impressive set of songs. He had written a few classics before -- "American Girl," "Listen to Her Heart" -- but here his songwriting truly blossoms. Most of the songs have a deep melancholy undercurrent -- the tough "Here Comes My Girl" and "Even the Losers" have tender hearts; the infectious "Don't Do Me Like That" masks a painful relationship; "Refugee" is a scornful, blistering rocker; "Louisiana Rain" is a tear-jerking ballad. Yet there are purpose and passion behind the performances that makes Damn the Torpedoes an invigorating listen all the same. Few mainstream rock albums of the late '70s and early '80s were quite as strong as this, and it still stands as one of the great records of the album rock era. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 8, 2002 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released November 23, 2009 | Reprise

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Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers in the magazine