Free Fallin'

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For other uses, see Free-fall (disambiguation).
"Free Fallin'"
Single by Tom Petty
from the album Full Moon Fever
B-side "Down the Line" (US only)
"Love Is a Long Road" (UK 7", 12" and CD only)
"Free Fallin'" (live) (UK 12" and CD only)
Released October 27, 1989 (1989-10-27)
Format 7" (US/UK), cassette (US-only), 12" and CD single (UK-only)
Length 4:14
Label MCA Records
Writer(s) Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne
Producer(s) Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell
Tom Petty singles chronology
"Runnin' Down a Dream"
"Free Fallin"
"A Face in the Crowd"
Full Moon Fever track listing

"Free Fallin'" is the opening track from Tom Petty's 1989 solo debut album, Full Moon Fever. The song was written by Petty and his writing partner for the album, Jeff Lynne (and also features Lynne on backing vocals and bass guitar). The duo wrote and recorded the single in two days, making it the first song completed for Full Moon Fever.

"Free Fallin'" is one of Petty's most famous tracks, as well as his longest-charting. It peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in January 1990. Petty and The Heartbreakers performed the song at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1989 with Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin and at the February 2008 Super Bowl XLII Halftime Show.[1] The song is ranked #177 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was featured in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire and The Sopranos episode 2.13, "Funhouse" (2000). Lou Reed selected the song as one of his 'picks of 1989'.[2]

Los Angeles-area references[edit]

Multiple references to Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley appear in the lyrics of the song, including:


In his Full Moon Fever review published in BBC Music in 2009, Chris Jones explained that "Free Fallin‍ '​" was one of the album's tracks that "addressed nostalgia while explaining how he'd reached this level of success. Hit single Free Fallin' mistily looked back at a childhood sweetheart ("She's a good girl, crazy 'bout Elvis... I'm a bad boy for breakin' her heart") left in his wake as he left Florida for the West Coast in search of stardom".[3]


  • Tom Petty – lead vocals, guitar
  • Mike Campbell – guitar
  • Jeff Lynne – backing vocals, bass guitar
  • Phil Jones – drums

Track listings[edit]

US 7" / Cassette
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Free Fallin'"   Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne 4:14
2. "Down the Line"   Buddy Holly, Bob Montgomery, Norman Petty 2:54
Total length:
UK 7"
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Free Fallin'"   Petty, Lynne 4:14
2. "Love Is a Long Road"   Petty, Mike Campbell 4:06
Total length:
UK 12" / CD
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Free Fallin'"   Petty, Lynne 4:14
2. "Love Is a Long Road"   Petty, Mike Campbell 4:06
3. "Free Fallin'" (live) Petty, Lynne  


Chart (1989) Peak
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[4] 5
Germany (Official German Charts)[5] 66
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[6] 61
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[7] 4
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[8] 59
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 7
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[10] 29

Cover versions[edit]

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External links[edit]