Learning to Fly (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song)

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"Learning to Fly"
Tom petty the heartbreakers-learning to fly s.jpg
Single by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
from the album Into the Great Wide Open
Released17 June 1991
  • Tom Petty
  • Jeff Lynne
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers singles chronology
"Yer So Bad"
"Learning to Fly"
"Into the Great Wide Open"
Music video
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - "Learning To Fly" (Version 1) on YouTube

"Learning to Fly" is a song 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. The entire song is based on only four simple chords, (F, C, A minor, and G). It became a top hit for Petty and the Heartbreakers, topping the U.S. Album Rock Tracks chart and peaking at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Track listing[edit]

7" vinyl

  • Side A: "Learning to Fly"
  • Side B: "Too Good To Be True"


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers



"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.[4] The song's 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.

The song was played and was a headline for an NBA home video documentary of the 1990–91 Chicago Bulls season.


Cover version[edit]

Petty's Traveling Wilburys bandmate Bob Dylan covered the song live in concert in Broomfield, Colorado on October 21, 2017, one day after what would have been Petty's 67th birthday.[11] Critic Jack Whatley later cited the performance as one of the seven best covers of a Petty song.[12]


  1. ^ Buskin, Richard (February 2014). "Classic Tracks: Tom Petty 'Learning To Fly'". Sound on Sound. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  2. ^ Burks, Tosten (October 10, 2018). "Watch Kurt Vile Cover Tom Petty's "Learning to Fly"". Spin. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  3. ^ Chavez, Danette; Adams, Erik; Ihnat, Gwen; Pang, Kevin; Modell, Josh; Ryan, Kyle; Garcia, Leonardo Adrian; Zaleski, Annie; Murray, Noel (October 3, 2017). "9 of our favorite Tom Petty songs". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 490.
  5. ^ "Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Learning To Fly". australian-charts.com. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  6. ^ Hung, Steffen. "charts.nz - New Zealand charts portal". charts.nz. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  7. ^ "Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Learning To Fly". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  8. ^ "Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  9. ^ "Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers Chart History". Billboard.
  10. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1991". RPM. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  11. ^ Kreps, Daniel (2017-10-22). "Watch Bob Dylan Cover Tom Petty's 'Learning to Fly' at Colorado Concert". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  12. ^ Whatley, Jack (2021-09-18). "The 7 best Tom Petty covers of all time". Far Out Magazine. Retrieved 2021-09-21.