Learning to Fly (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song)
|"Learning to Fly"|
|Single by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers|
|from the album Into the Great Wide Open|
|Writer(s)||Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne|
|Producer(s)||Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne|
|Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers singles chronology|
"Learning To Fly" is a popular track by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It was written in 1991 by Tom Petty and his writing partner Jeff Lynne for the album Into the Great Wide Open. Though the entire song is based on only four simple chords, (F, C, A minor, and G), it has a unique structure and sound, making it a top hit for Petty.
The music video for Learning to Fly was partly filmed in an aircraft boneyard in Tucson, Arizona. It alternates between shots of the band playing with the aircraft backdrop, and vignettes from the life of a youth played by Johnny Depp and his "fairy godmother" played by Faye Dunaway. The vignettes capture seminal moments in his life, which evoke the post-World War II dawn of the nuclear era, the hippie era, and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. The original 18 minute video was edited to 7.5 minutes, which was still unusually long, but it aired frequently when released on MTV.
7" vinyl track listing
- Side A: "Learning to Fly"
- Side B: "Too Good To Be True"
- Tom Petty - acoustic guitar, vocals
- Mike Campbell - lead guitar, slide guitar
- Howie Epstein - backing vocals
- Benmont Tench - electric piano
- Stan Lynch - drums, percussion
- Jeff Lynne - guitar, synthesizer, bass, backing vocals
"Learning to Fly" was released as the first single from Into the Great Wide Open and reached #28 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also became his most successful single on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart, reaching the top of the chart and remaining at the summit for six weeks. "Learning to Fly" earliest charting was in the United Kingdom, debuting at #65 on June 29. The next week it rose to #46, and stayed on the UK chart for two more weeks before slipping off entirely.
|Australian Singles Chart||44|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||5|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||28|
|Swedish Singles Chart||35|
|UK Singles Chart||46|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||28|
|U.S. Billboard Album Rock Tracks||1|
Bonnie Tyler released Learning To Fly as a single from her 2003 album Heart Strings. The single gained no chart success. Lady Antebellum did a cover of this song in their 2010 digital EP "iTunes Session".
Appearances in popular culture
It was used on the Chicago Bulls' 1991 NBA championship video and featured on the soundtrack of the 2005 film Elizabethtown. It is the official song of the United States Air Force Academy skydiving team, Wings of Blue.
- Tom Petty, Runnin' Down a Dream (film), 2007 documentary, 2:50:00
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 490.
- australian-charts.com - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Learning To Fly
- charts.org.nz - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Learning To Fly
- swedishcharts.com - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Learning To Fly
- Elizabethtown (2005) - Soundtracks