Free Fallin'

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"Free Fallin'"
Tpffs.jpg
Single by Tom Petty
from the album Full Moon Fever
B-side
  • "Down the Line"
  • "Love Is a Long Road"
  • "Free Fallin'" (live)
Released October 27, 1989 (1989-10-27)
Format
Genre Heartland rock
Length 4:14
Label MCA
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Tom Petty singles chronology
"Runnin' Down a Dream"
(1989)
"Free Fallin'"
(1989)
"A Face in the Crowd"
(1990)

"Runnin' Down a Dream"
(1989)
"Free Fallin"
(1989)
"A Face in the Crowd"
(1990)
Music video
"Free Fallin'" on YouTube

"Free Fallin'" is the opening track from Tom Petty's solo debut album, Full Moon Fever (1989). The song was written by Petty and his writing partner for the album, Jeff Lynne, and 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.[citation needed] 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 Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was featured in the film Jerry Maguire (1996) and The Sopranos episode 2.13, "Funhouse" (2000). Lou Reed selected the song as one of his "picks of 1989".[2] The song was #2 on the Spotify Global Viral 50 following the death of Petty.[3]

Los Angeles-area references[edit]

The song's lyrics make references to Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, including:

Development and meaning[edit]

Petty explained in an interview with Billboard magazine that he and Jeff Lynne were sitting around trying to come up with a song, and Lynne got him to say "free falling". The next day they went and recorded the song. He didn't write it about any person, but instead what he saw on his frequent drives along Ventura Boulevard.[4]

Personnel[edit]

  • Tom Petty – lead vocals, 12-string acoustic guitar
  • Mike Campbell – electric guitar, 6-string acoustic guitar
  • Jeff Lynne – backing vocals, bass guitar
  • Phil Jones – drums

Track listings[edit]

US 7" / Cassette
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Free Fallin'"4:14
2."Down the Line"
2:54
Total length:7:08
UK 7"
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Free Fallin'"
  • Petty
  • Lynne
4:14
2."Love Is a Long Road"
  • Petty
  • Campbell
4:06
Total length:8:20
UK 12" / CD
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Free Fallin'"
  • Petty
  • Lynne
4:14
2."Love Is a Long Road"
  • Petty
  • Campbell
4:06
3."Free Fallin'" (live)
  • Petty
  • Lynne
 

Charts and certifications[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

This song was featured as a playable track in Lego Rock Band.[when?]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Topic Galleries". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. 
  2. ^ Rolling Stone, March 8, 1990
  3. ^ "Global Viral 50". Spotify Charts. Archived from the original on 2017-10-07. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  4. ^ Cathy Applefeld Olson (June 7, 2017). "Tom Petty Originally Wrote 'Free Fallin'' Just to Make Jeff Lynne Laugh". Billboard. Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  5. ^ "ARIA Chart Watch #441". auspOp. October 7, 2017. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Tom Petty Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  7. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Tom Petty – Free Fallin'" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  8. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Tom Petty – Free Fallin'". Top 40 Singles.
  9. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Tom Petty – Free Fallin'". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  11. ^ "Tom Petty Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 188. 
  13. ^ "Tom Petty Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard.
  14. ^ "Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1990". RPM. Retrieved November 26, 2017. 
  15. '^ "British single certifications – Tom Petty – Free Fallin'". British Phonographic Industry.  Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter Free Fallin in the search field and then press Enter.
  16. ^ "Tom Petty "Free Fallin" by Megan and Liz". Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  17. ^ Needham, Lucy; Newman, Vicki; Shenton, Zoe (October 3, 2017). "Emotional moment Coldplay audience stand in absolute silence to remember victims of Las Vegas shooting - before launching into Tom Petty tribute song". Mirror. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  18. ^ Kreps, Daniel (October 7, 2017). "See Coldplay, James Corden Sing Tom Petty's 'Free Fallin' at Rose Bowl". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 8, 2017. 

External links[edit]