October 19, 1979 ~ Following a vicious legal battle with MCA Records, the third Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers album, Damn The Torpedoes, is released on the label’s new subsidiary, Backstreet Records.
After releasing two albums, the band’s label, Shelter Records, was sold to MCA. Petty refused to go along, leading to a spate of lawsuits that played out while the band was recording the album. After Petty declared bankruptcy, he and the label came to an agreement where the band recorded for Backstreet, which would be dedicated to Petty.
We didn’t sit around and talk about making an album about that experience,” Petty told Rolling Stone in 1980, “but we knew we were. They get you pinned in a corner, and the last thing you can do to keep your sanity is write songs.”
After two studio albums, after “Breakdown” barely cracked the Top 40 and “American Girl” didn’t even chart, after four years in the industry mines and a few months of court battles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had finally conquered the pop world.
Produced by Jimmy Iovine, it’s a breakthrough album, selling over 3 million copies in America and reaching #2 on the Albums chart.