Mike Campbell recalls Tom Petty's Damn the Torpedoes: "We were determined to make the best-sounding record ever made"

November 11, 1979: [from left] Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Ron Blair perform at the Palladium in New York City (Image credit: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns/Getty Images)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ third album followed the legal wrangles surrounding their independent contract and publishing issues. This release saw them break into the Top 10 for the first time, peaking at Number 2.

Able to comfortably ride the new wave and rock trains simultaneously in the late-'70s, the Heartbreakers have always been a band that was cool to like. Petty once said there was a real sense of the band being “on a mission to make a really great album” in the face of all the hassles. They succeeded.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.